Actress and baby model, Kaleah Roundtree is making waves as she and her business manager father Kevin, an African American single dad, a Mr. Mom, and Dad, begin a new push in the talented toddlers’ career.
All of two years old, Kaleah is a pretty face that has been seen in print advertisements around the New York, New Jersey area and as her sights, thanks to her dad’s management, set on bigger markets.
Talking with Kevin, we spoke on the challenges surrounding his role as provider, a real Mr. Mom, he laughed as he explained he understands women will laugh, as he knows he is only doing exactly what they have been doing for decades.
“It’s difficult. I have a deep respect for women, everywhere, who live this life, raise children, and teenagers, put food on the table, work, and women don’t even make the same wages. I’m thankful I had a good role model in my mom. “
We spoke candidly on the statistics of African American men who leave the home and leave women to parent. He agreed, and explained attending auditions with Kaleah and walking in to a room full of moms and babies and “he was the only dad or man in the room.” He also said, laughing, how sometimes he thinks “it works to Kaleah’s advantage.”
Child stars such as Beyonce, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Lindsay Lohan and McCauley Culkin all began with a parent as their business manager. Keleah Roundtree is no different. Kevin has carved out a business model which is similar to the Olsen Twins and “Good Luck Charlie” star Mia Talerico, who he believes “is closest to what he believes Kaleah is capable of and gravitates to doing.”
Kaleah, at two, is just moving into acting, and is getting good responses from local filmmakers in New York State, where she is currently under consideration for two upcoming roles, as well as graduate student films.
Interview with Kevin Roundtree
Having the opportunity to interview Kevin below includes a transcript of our conversation:
Janet Walker: You’re a single father. Describe that.
Kevin Roundtree: Being a young African American dad I try to encourage others to be a part of their child’s life. It is certainly awesome to see your child learn and grow. When people see me as we walk in to an audition room filled with women it always make me smile. It’s uncommon to see a father lead his daughter into a modeling, so they stare in amazement. As the manager it does get frustrating when we don’t get the response I seek. For a 2 year old she is very talented, so I don’t worry much because she will get her chance to show the world soon. As her career advances, at the moment she feels she wants to stop I’m behind that.
JW: What is a typical day like for you?
KR: A normal day for me begins with me dropping Kaleah off to daycare so I can go to college finishing up courses helping me reach my goals of being a Physician Assistant. After school I do audition and casting searches for Kaleah online. Then its book reading, finger painting, bubbles and camera practice time depending on Kaleah’s mood. Kaleah’s mom and I usually will take time to develop her singing or acting skills by helping her memorize short songs or movie lines.
A normal day of audition or casting would consist of me trying my very best to keep Leah happy. This includes accommodating any need or want, just like a daddy baby wrangler. I have a sort of “it’s your day” attitude, to help her remain happy in the shoot. My routine is a morning milkshake, in which she loves.
JW: Kaleah is a beautiful little girly girl and you’re a dad. Tell me a little about how you feel?
KR: She is my princess, I love her with every tick of the clock. I enjoy seeing her smile I’m addicted to making her smile. We eat at ihop, and go shopping for outfits and toys on our daddy daughter days.
There nothing I wouldn’t do to see her succeed in every level of life. I give her everything I never had as a child. I had a rough childhood; I know what it feels like to grow up without both parents. I never want Leah to ever feel that pain. I never want her to feel like she has no one to care for her.
I make sure to tell her teach her about honesty and values of self respect. I get a little over protective because some parts of the world aren’t safe for children, so I’m always on edge. She is my only child, so I admit I get nervous even with little bumps, bruises, and common colds.
JW: Are there times when you feel overwhelmed at raising a girl, life, moving her into the talent arena so young, student? Do you have an example of something specific?
I like the fact that she models because it teaches her at a young age the meaning of setting achievable goals. Teaching that with hard work anything is possible. I never get overwhelmed with raising her. She is the most import person in my life, every minute spent is a minute I wish I can get back because time is so short. Since she was a tiny baby everyone would stop Leah’s mother and I on the street and tell us how cute she was. We began this model life by witnessing Leah’s love and admiration of the camera. It’s the most compelling thing I ever seen, she commands the camera attention once its photo shoot time. She loves the camera. Her photographer and dear friend Randi Butler was the mastermind behind Leah’s success. She helped develop Leah into a brilliant personality in the photos taken.
JW: Do you think about when she grows up and boys become icky and dads are boys, then what? Tell me what you see for the future.
KR: That’s 100% okay with me. I don’t want her to grow up so fast. As far as me becoming icky? That will never happen. She will understand the difference between her father and any other male.
My job is to keep her safe, unconditional love, provide her wants and needs and keep education first before anything else.
Well, in the future I see myself sitting in the between her and any guy she dates at the movies sharing popcorn. My daughter is special, so anyone she ever meets in the future will respect her and treat her like the princess she is.
For more information: http://www.kaleahsworld.com/