It has been a year since we shared with you the story of how Langwarrin girls Jeriya and Keeva Benn both scored roles in Fantasy Island alongside Michael Peña, Maggie Q and Lucy Hale. So we thought it was time to see what the talented youngsters have been up to since then.
Born in Melbourne to South African mother Mandy and African-American father Kevin Jr, Jeriya and Keeva come from a richly diverse cultural background with a love of music and food. Jeriya’s been excelling at modelling and acting since she was just a year old, so it goes without saying that she is very experienced and professional for her young age. Her career has seen her model for major retail brands including Myer, Rebel Sport, Target and Bonds as well as clothing label Frankie + Roy. The latter brand also had the girls on set for a shoot in March.
With Jeriya’s bright eyes and adorable smile, and Keeva’s cheeky grin and soulful eyes, we told you at the time to watch this space – and we were right. Between US auditions for Jeriya and a modelling shoot for Keeva, we were ever so grateful to get a chance to hear their latest goss. Keeva was in a photo shoot in December – the launch of Target’s Made Of Better – on the Great Ocean Road with photographer Nicole Bentley. Both girls have been recording an animated TV series called Big Words, Small Stories for ABC Kids and international studio Big Jump Entertainment. Joining other Australian actors including Jacqueline Brennan, Jeriya plays Oleander, one of the four main characters, while her younger sister plays Judy. “I love working with my sister and I have lots of fun in the studio,” said Keeva.
The series is for ages four to seven and is set to air early this year. The girls spent countless days in the recording studio in mid-2020, and last month they began the final editing process. It’s definitely an experience the series’ youngest cast members have thoroughly enjoyed and they can’t wait to see the finished product.
“I loved getting to experience a different type of acting,” said Jeriya. “They pushed me to my limits. It’s fun to learn and see my voice match my character and then watch it all come together. The best bit is that my character looks just like me.”
Although they’ve had no formal acting lessons, Jeriya and Keeva are naturals in front of the camera. Both have strong personalities, plenty of confidence, and the ability to adapt to any situation – but they’re both still kids at heart.
“Jeriya and Keeva are so blessed to have this opportunity,” said Mandy. “They were recording right through the COVID-19 isolation period, which was a nice distraction. I can’t wait for all the kids to watch this amazing television series because it’s not only fun, it’s educational as well. I’m a very proud mum.”