Equipped with a cute face, a beautiful singing voice and brilliant comedy sketches, the daughter of director Robert Townsend is independently navigating her way through Hollywood. Although she describes herself as “goofy” and has the most infectious laugh in the biz, her talent is to be taken seriously. After uploading a YouTube video of herself nailing an impersonation of Beyoncé, the 18-year-old scored nearly a million views and started gaining major attention. In addition to her knee-slapping funny parodies, she stars in a web-series on BET.com called 8 Days a Week. She plays Jade-Taylor, a college co-ed struggling to achieve her dreams. Much like herself in real life, Townsend wants to make it known that she works her butt off to get where she is and insists that it is not her father’s celebrity that got her this far.
“It’s frustrating when people say I’m only where I am because of my dad. I never booked a meeting because of him, I never asked him to make a call. I believe as an artist its important to take this journey on and take all the hurdles that come with it because it builds character.”
Get to know Skye as she gives it to you un-cut and direct. Her playful personality, raw talent and consistent laughter are sure to win you over. -Lathleen Ade-Brown
Do you feel like you’re a celebrity?
I think it is such a joke how much attention I’ve gotten. I’m so blessed and so grateful, but I look at myself as such a joke. [Laughs] I don’t take anything too seriously. I’m just having a good time. When I get letters, and people refer to themselves as fans, I laugh hysterically because I feel like I have not done anything to deserve any of those titles yet. I’ve just begun. The web-series of course is something to talk about, but YouTube? I just make videos. I’m very uncomfortable when people come up to me and recognize me because I’m just so goofy. They’re always like, ‘Are you Skye?’ and it makes me so uncomfortable. It’s amazing, but it’s really strange.
When did you realize you could impersonate Beyoncé so well?
I was hanging out with one of my really goofy friends, and he was like, ‘Let’s act like we’re on The Oprah Show. You’ll be Beyoncé, and I’ll be Oprah.’ So he starts doing it, and I didn’t realize I could do the voice until that moment when he was like, ‘Today we are here with,’ and I [snapped into character] and said, ‘Beyoncé.’ It freaked me out because Beyoncé came out of me. I always knew I could do voices, but I never tackled celebrity voices.
How would you react if you found out Beyonce saw your video impersonating her?
I have no idea [Laughs], but I have a Beyoncé video I did two years ago that has almost a million views and everybody says, ‘There is no way she hasn’t seen it.’ I’m so nervous though, because I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. I mean, I look up to her so much/ I don’t want her to hate me. It’s all good clean fun. I say everything you want Beyoncé to say [Laughs].
Did you ever meet Beyoncé? Your dad directed Carmen: A Hip Hopera that she starred in.
Yes, but I was a huge Aaliyah fan at the time. This was about 1999. I was not crazy about Beyoncé, so I went on set and she tried to shake my hand, and I just didn’t care. My dad was like, ‘This is Beyoncé,’ and I was like ‘Hi,’ [Uninterestingly]. I really regret it now! [Laughs]
Tell us about your daddy/daughter moments.
My dad and I, we have really grown a lot, every talk that needs to be had is had. We are very open. The only time it gets difficult is when it comes to work because we think the same way, we argue the same way and we will prove points the same way. It’s literally the same person talking to themselves but proving something different. Otherwise, we get along well.
What don’t you like about the entertainment industry?
I don’t like how people disregard celebrity’s personal business. When there were issues between my parents or something, it is kind of upsetting that the media hops on it before the parents do. I always feel for kids who are going through divorces in the public eye because they are finding out news through the web instead of their mom and dad. People are writing articles before the family can have that talk.