Some people just have "it."
Stakiah Washington never thought she might be one of them, until she took her first drama class at Lamar High School two years ago.
"I was like okay, I'll give it a try," said Washington, now a senior at the Arlington school. "I'm a drama queen, so why not?"
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It turns out, acting came naturally to her.
"I remember her audition," said Ira Steck, her drama teacher at Lamar High School. "And I was just thinking she had a great energy and acted with her guts in a way that was immediate and engaging."
Steck was so impressed, he asked her to join the team of students he was taking to a regional acting competition at SMU, where participants would perform a monologue from an August Wilson play.
Washington did well as a junior, advancing to the finals. But she felt she could do better. So she worked on her craft and returned to the competition this year.
"And I turned around and everybody was smiling, [saying] you did it!" said Washington. "I'm trying not to cry now. It was a blessing."
She finished in the top two and earned an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where she'll sit in on workshops with some of the top minds in the theater world and perform her monologue in a national competition on a real Broadway stage.
“I’m a kid in high school, doing plays, doing what I love and having a good time while doing it," said Washington. "I never really thought I’d actually be able to be on Broadway.
The competition takes place Monday night inside the August Wilson theater.
“As soon as we found out all the different things she was going to be doing, I told her I was jealous," said Steck. "Whether you’re a high school kid or not, it’s just a really wonderful opportunity.”
It's an opportunity most aspiring actors never get — and that's not lost on her.
“I want to show them what I have," said Washington. "And also see what other people have -- and take things that I’m learning from them as well.”
Only time will tell if Washington truly has "it." But she's off to a promising start.