These days a Lauryn Hill sighting is a rare occurrence indeed. Outside of the seventeen-date tour she embarked on earlier this year, the legendary Fugees front woman has all but vanished from the spotlight since taking a break from the music industry a decade ago. So on a snowy winter’s afternoon at a neighborhood coffee shop in Brooklyn, it’s understandable that the entire room has been brought to a grinding halt at the sight of not one but two Lauryn Hills—the second being the singer’s look-alike twelve-year-old daughter, Selah Marley. “I can’t see it, but apparently the whole world sees it,” says Selah (pronounced “Sell-uh”).
Whatever the case, Selah, whose father is ex-college-football player and Bob Marley offspring Rohan Marley, has clearly inherited good genes: After a meeting last year with a modeling agent who is a friend of the family, Selah has been easing herself into the industry with occasional jobs like a runway show for Macy’s. “I was in a hotel with my dad, and I was just joking around and said, ‘Oh yeah, Daddy, I want to model,'” she says. “I don’t know—the camera is just fun.”
It’s also a new experience. While she says her mother is proud of her current endeavor, Selah and her four siblings grew up very much away from the spotlight in suburban New Jersey. “I wanted to raise her away from the Hollywood nanny scene,” Ms. Hill explains. “I didn’t want my children to be a part of that.”
Indeed, Selah’s life sounds like that of your average seventh grader—right down to her closet. Though she occasionally raids her mom’s for designer finds like high-heeled Y-3 sneakers and Gucci corsets (a favorite for modeling go-sees), she shops mostly at nearby stores like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. “My style is always different. Sometimes it’s preppy, sometimes it’s chic,” she says. Fashion aside, Selah loves Justin Bieber and spends most of her free time on Facebook (“it’s so addictive”)—that is, when she’s not tussling with her “rambunctious” brothers. “If I were ever to go to war and come back as a veteran and make a speech, I’d say I got more scars fighting with my brothers than in the war,” she says, laughing.
In fact, the only thing out of the ordinary about Selah’s lifestyle seems to be her staggering lineup of after-school activities. She says, “I do piano, violin, guitar, basketball, gymnastics, ballet—” “And, can I say something?” Ms. Hill pipes in, causing Selah to roll her eyes. “Did she tell you about her report cards? That she didn’t fall below an A? You don’t have to say she mentioned that. Say I mentioned that.” (It appears Selah has a typical relationship with her mom too.)
Not that Selah minds bragging about her mom. She readily offers that she watched her mother in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit on TV just two days prior to her Teen Vogue interview and says, “I like her music. It’s very truthful.” Not surprisingly, she has similar feelings toward her iconic grandfather. “His songs are very soothing,” she remarks.
Would she consider a similar career path? “That’s on my list,” Selah says. “People tell me I have to follow in the footsteps of my mom and grandfather, but it’s a lot of pressure—I can’t really slip up and mess up the name.”
And she’s going to have to prove herself, at least if Ms. Hill can help it. “One day I was like, ‘Mom, you wanna sign me at Sony?'” Selah recalls. Her mother’s response? “Let me hear your stuff and I’ll think about it.”
(via Teen Vogue)