Amandla Stenberg: Hungry star plays ‘Games’

Youth Impact Report 2011: Up Next

Amandla (which means “power” in Zulu) Stenberg was well named. The tyro, who turns 13 this month, was just 3 when she announced to her surprised parents that she wanted to act and needed an agent.

“The daughter of one of my mom’s friends was doing commercials, and when I heard about it, I said, ‘You’ll see me on TV.’?”

True to her word, Stenberg landed her first Disney catalog modeling shoot at 4 and went on to score numerous national spots for McDonald’s, KFC and Walmart. Last year she shot her first feature, “Colombiana,” playing Zoe Saldana as a child, and got to do some of her own stunts.

“I really got into the role with all the jumping and running and copying all Zoe’s mannerisms,” she recalls.

Stenberg then changed gears, playing the “fun, outgoing Taylor” in the Hallmark Channel movie “Taste of Romance,” before landing the coveted role of Rue in Lionsgate’s upcoming “The Hunger Games.”

“Rue’s the emotional heart of the film, very sweet, and I loved playing her,” reports Stenberg who admits there’s “a lot of her in me. She’s like a bird — quick and very independent.”

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