Ciara Riley Wilson is one of the four stars of Netflix’s Freeridge. Riley’s acting dreams sparked at a young age, but in her native Portland, Oregon, acting opportunities were limited. After spending most of her young life as a competitive dancer, Ciara, aged 11, and her parents moved to LA to kickstart her acting career.
Ciara told Portland Tribune: “It definitely was a career move. Growing up I always wanted to be a performer. It’s always been in my blood. I’ve done radio voice overs and commercials, theater, and acting camps, and I’ve decided this is something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My parents helped me take steps working toward it.”
Ciara is an Asian-American actress passionate about spreading diversity on screen.
Ciara Riley Wilson was born on 26th March 2001 to Nanette and Jay Wilson. She told Everly Mag that she is Filipino, English, German, and Russian.
Nanette’s parents and Ciara’s maternal grandparents – Hernan Leones Guiang and Josefina Espino – were born in the Philippines. They relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to foster Hernan’s medical career before settling in Portland, Oregon, where they raised Nanette and her sister, Jennine.
Nanette and Jay met in America and started a family. They raised Ciara alongside her brother.
Filipino said it’s important for her to represent Asian Americans on screen, considering she didn’t grow up seeing actors of her ethnicity. She said:
“For me growing up, there wasn’t anybody that I could see on screen that I saw myself in and especially sharing a teen story. I think it’s really important. And I’m really glad that I got this opportunity to share my experience.”
Ciara insisted that her character’s name in Quantum Leap, Leah Valencia, reflect Ciara’s ethnicity. She continued:
“There’s not a lot of roles that come your way, especially ones that are looking for Filipinos or Asians. It’s a lot of just ethnically ambiguous or any ethnicity and so it was really, really cool that I got to read and when I saw the breakdown and said Asian American, I was like, ‘Yes. this is my role.’”