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Laya DeLeon Hayes Says TV Mom Queen Latifah Is A Mentor

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Actress Laya DeLeon Hayes absolutely looks up to her TV mom, Queen Latifah, as her mentor on the CBS series The Equalizer.

The 16-year-old who plays Delilah opposite Latifah’s character Robyn McCall spoke with People about the bond the pair have and the impact that it has had on her. 

“I think because we have so many intimate scenes together and also some hard ones as well that we have been able to kind of create a bond as we’ve been able to film,” Hayes shares. “There are things that I’ve just picked up and seen. Every time that I do a scene with her, I’m learning and soaking everything up. I think one of those things has definitely been having your own opinions on set.” 

The Equalizer premiered in February, following Super Bowl LV. It is a reimagined classic action series as Latifah’s McCall has a secret life as “The Equalizer” who turns into an anonymous guardian angel and defender of the defenseless in pursuit of her own personal redemption. It was renewed for season two in early March.  

RELATED: INTERVIEW: Queen Latifah Says Black Women Have Been Equalizers For As Long As She Can Remember

While on set, Hayes says her character Delilah is a lot more “fiery” than her “laid back” personality. 

“I think any person who’s gone through teenage years and all the crazy things that happen during your teenage years can relate to that — that feeling of wanting independence, but also knowing that this is a time when you’re gonna need your mom most.”

Hayes also won a 2021 NAACP Image Award for her voice-over work on Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins.  

The Equalizer airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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