How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
My family moved to Florida in 1996 when I was 3 years old. I was born in New York, but being so young, I rarely remember any of it. But when I wish, I can pull out my dad's collection of DVDs and watch my childhood play out before me.
Who are the members of your family?
I live with my dad, John; my mom, Rita, and sister, MariaAnna, who is 17 years old and getting ready to go off to college and start her own life. I'll miss her since she's always been a big inspiration in my life. I can't forget my dog, Lucky. He's my best buddy.
Tell us about yourself.
First, I'm a student at Nature Coast Technical High School. I hope to make music my career when I'm older.
I have always loved to sing and perform. As a baby, I was obsessed with all the Disney movies and sang all the songs. I sang My Heart Will Go On for the first time in public during a talent show at my elementary school. I was very nervous. I repeated the performance at the 2003 and 2004 Hernando County Fair karaoke competitions, winning first place both times. Celine Dion is my idol and that song will always remain with me.
After winning the competitions, I realized I wanted to pursue my dream. I met Vince Vanni, one of the competition judges, and he suggested I take acting lessons, which helped me break out of my shell. It changed my life. Now when I perform, I can move around and be myself. I've been singing around Hernando County (and the Tampa Bay area) for about five years now. I've had the opportunity to share my love of singing and learned about myself. To learn more about my past performances and what I wish for the future, check out my Web site at www.danielasings.com.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
Currently, in addition to performances at school, I perform weekly (each Saturday) at Cici's Pizza in Spring Hill and have been since 2006. I get to sing all the songs that are special to me, and people interact with me, especially the little ones.
I'm majoring in drama at school, and have met so many friends who have the same passion for theater as I do. I also had the pleasure of getting to know Lori and Tim Erickson, who head our drama cluster. They are the most interesting teachers I have ever met, and I think of them as friends first, and teachers second. For the past two years, they have been inspirational and made me find myself a little more each year as I gain confidence.
Do you have any special hobbies?
Besides singing and acting, I love art, especially painting and pencil drawings. I also love to read young adult novels like Sarah Dessen and the Twilight series, which I've just discovered and am extremely obsessed with at the moment.
I like to make my own videos with clips from my favorite Disney movies and set it to the beat of a song. It's another creative way for me to relate a song to a specific movie that I've loved since I was a kid. I also scrapbook each of the Shark Theater productions I perform in at Nature Coast.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I love the beach. I could be there every day and not complain. I love the smell of the ocean, hunting for seashells and watching the sunsets. I like to go to the movies or the mall with my sister or friends, and I like to go to the park and play tennis, my favorite sport.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
I think teens would be happier if there were some places for them to just hang with their friends. Despite that, Hernando is a great place to raise children. In my opinion, the top hangouts here are the movie theaters and the bowling alley. It might be nice to have an amusement park or a teen organization here.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
Offstage, I'm an entirely different person. I tend to lean toward the shy side when a microphone isn't placed in my hands, or if the lights of the theater aren't shining down on me. I am in love with Disney, Johnny Depp and Celine Dion, a very matchless mix. I'm also one of the few teens who actually enjoys school and eating their fruits and vegetables. I love when people play with my hair, I love pomegranates and I love to be surrounded by nature and loved ones.
I think life is valuable and, even at 15, should be cherished.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1438.