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Jaida Benjamin 

Actress

As an accomplished actress and dancer, 12-year-old Charlottean Jaida Benjamin is living a life that many adults only dream about.

Jaida began touring nationally in the play Annie last August. "I do feel awkward because there are a lot of people wanting the same thing," she says, "but, in the end, Annie on tour is a team working together to put on one big show."

Last September, Jaida had a spot on The Martha Stewart Show for a special card-themed show.

This summer she's participating in a Shakespeare camp offered by the Children's Theatre at ImaginOn, to strengthen her acting skills.

As a junior dancer for the New York Knicks, Jaida has performed in front of as many as 50,000 people, but stage fright is low on her list of concerns. "Before I go on stage, I am a little nervous, but I pretty much am just confident and turn into a totally different person," she says. "I'm just not afraid and afterwards, want to do it again."

Jaida's most memorable experience has been her ad campaign with Target and the Charlotte-area Food Lion. She hopes to one day pursue a modeling career in California. "New York has gotten me far," she admits, "but California will bring me to the level I need to be on".

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