Author: Jean Wharton
When greeted by a smiling face, no matter where you are in the world, most people smile back. Something about the feeling of being smiled at naturally makes the recipient want to smile too. Perhaps it’s instinct. Upon meeting 10-year-old Khendle Williams, the smile beaming from her youthful face is in fact infectious and I smile in return. However, it doesn’t take long for her smile to become audible in the form of uproarious laughter while she describes a scene from her favorite movie, “Meada’s Family Reunion.”
Khendle is much like any other girl her age. Awkward by her place in the world, yet endearing as she searches to find it. Joyful for most things, but determined and steadfast toward her youthful goals. In Khendle’s case, her goals are to become a screenwriter, and not when she grows up, but now. As her mother Denise puts it, “she wants to take on Hollywood.”
Parenting is a delicate art form that takes as much patience and fortitude as any responsibility in life. I recall my mom carting me around from cheerleading practice to art lessons, flute practice to soccer camp, church youth group to play rehearsal and countless other activities. When I showed interest in dance, she signed me up for the classes and let me watch “Footloose” countless times. Although I could never make up my mind about which activity I was most enthusiastic, Khendle has decided, and her mother has much the same dedication as mine.
Khendle has been performing, acting, dancing, writing and creating for most of her young life. Starting at age 2 or 3, capturing audiences in her living room. Denise saw the potential in her daughter early, but got her involved in acting and dance so that she would have a break from the non-stop show that is Khendle Williams. Dramatic over most things in her life, constantly mocking her mom, mimicking and giggling, dancing and singing, Khendle is “on” 24/7.
Khendle can recite, word for word, countless movie and television monologues. While sitting at a booth in Frankie Bones, talking about her latest script, she slides easily in and out of characters from her favorite show, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” Khendle’s focus recently has been on perfecting the scripts she’s written for this show and others like it on Disney Network. Denise has acquired a Hollywood agent who is overseeing her daughter’s scripts for submission to the network. In addition, Khendle is a student at Heritage Academy, where the school’s growing performing arts department allows her one-on-one time with her teachers while she’s writing her next story.
Khendle is clearly talented and the ideas for new TV shows and movie scripts seem to capture most of her attention. Her mother has been able to harness and focus Khendle’s fantastic imagination into valuable experiences for the 10-year-old. It is inspiring to see a young girl with such determination toward her goals and the brave naivete in the possibility of accomplishing them.
By the time Khendle’s dessert (a slice of chocolate cake the size of her head) is served, the giggling has reached a crescendo that has infiltrated me as well. Khendle’s spirit for all things dramatic and comedic is certainly going to drive her success in Hollywood, but the smile and giggle are the impressions that last much longer than any 15 minutes of fame.