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Why Carolyn Franklin From Respect Looks So Familiar

Aretha Franklin is one of the most influential singers in history. Known as the Queen of Soul, she was named the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone, earned over 18 Grammy awards throughout her career, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her "indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades."

In yet another well-deserved tribute to the iconic vocalist, Universal has released a biopic appropriately titled "Respect" after one of the star's most recognizable songs. Starring Jennifer Hudson as Franklin, "Respect" tells her story from singing gospel at her father's church to becoming an internationally-acclaimed star and civil rights activist — notwithstanding the personal trials along the way.

Aside from Hudson, "Respect" features Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Audra McDonald as Barbara Siggers Franklin, and Tituss Burgess as James Cleveland. Another important character to note is Carolyn Franklin, Aretha's sister who co-writes and sings backup on many of her songs. Carolyn is played by a newcomer to the world of film, though she's starred in Broadway musicals and made appearances on television.

Here's why she may look so familiar.

Hailey Kilgore is a Broadway star

Originally from Oregon, Hailey Kilgore competed in pageants from the age of 9 until her late teens. According to the Clackamas Review, she also won local singing competitions at the county fair and participated in her school's drama program while in high school. She landed her first professional role in 2015 when she was cast in Portland Center Stage's production of "Our Town" as Rebecca Gibbs (via PCS). That same year, she landed a part in another Portland Center Stage production titled "Ain't Misbehavin.'"

Only one year into studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Kilgore landed a starring role on one of the biggest stages possible. At the impressive age of 18, she landed the role of Ti Moune in the Broadway revival of "Once on This Island," beating out tons of hopeful performers from around the U.S. (via Playbill).

Kilgore spoke to Broadway World about her excitement upon landing the role. "This opportunity is truly once in a lifetime," she said. "I grew up watching movies and musicals about the young girl from a small town who gets to star in a Broadway show and am thrilled to have been given this opportunity."

She's also ventured into TV

Not only is Hailey Kilgore a veteran stage actress, but she's also dabbled in television. In 2019, she played the role of Olivia in the NBC drama "The Village," returning for three episodes. She also appeared in Episode 2 of Apple TV's anthology series "Amazing Stories" as a track athlete named Tuka Myrtle Hall who dies in a hit-and-run car accident, only to come back as a ghost who enlists her friend's help in an attempt to find her killer.

Kilgore was recently cast in the drama series "Power Book III: Raising Kanan," a prequel spin-off of the popular crime drama "Power." She plays the younger version of Jukebox, who's originally played by Anika Noni-Rose. According to Deadline, Jukebox is "a quick-witted, fiercely independent and strong teenage girl," as well as the cousin and close confidant of the title character.

With a Tony and Grammy Award nomination under her belt at the tender age of 22, Kilgore is sure to keep making strides in the entertainment industry. You can catch her in "Respect," which is now playing in theaters.