We’re so excited to share that AGCI Ethiopia adoptee, Lidya Jewett, stars in the Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures!
Adopted in 2011 at the age of 4, Lidya was previously cared for in AGCI’s Hannah’s Hope partner home in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. After hearing about a need for families, the Jewetts felt called to adopt a child from Africa and began their adoption journey with AGCI.
“We thought our family was complete. Once we started to learn about the need for families, that changed,” Lidya’s adoptive mom, Kim Jewett, said. “God’s timing was perfect.”
Within a year of coming home with her adoptive family to South Florida, Lidya’s parents realized she had a genuine gift and drive to perform.
“She was very outgoing from day one,” said Kim. “We were constantly stopped and so towards the end of preschool we started to submit photos of her to print and commercial agencies in Miami.”
What started as print and commercial jobs quickly grew into a role as Gracie on Nickelodeon’s “WITS Academy” and then, her first major motion picture, Hidden Figures.
“We didn’t pursue it super hard, it just happened. You find yourself at each level,” Kim said. “She got on the radar of LA and New York and she was signed by a good agency in LA and it brought better auditions. I don’t want people to think this is easy—I could wall paper our house with everything she didn’t get. There is a lot of rejection along the way.”
Lidya’s latest film, Hidden Figures, which in part highlights the struggles and discrimination of African-American women in the 1960s, has furthered a dialogue for Lidya and her family.
“Adoption has opened up our eyes and hearts to a world so far outside our own. Before adopting Lidya, we were a Caucasian family, and the significance of this story [Hidden Figures] wouldn’t have been super high on our radar. Because even as Americans, the racial injustices of the past, particularly those portrayed in the movie, were something we knew about, but our focus on it is a little different now because we have a child of color,” said Kim. “It has been a great teaching moment in our house and has opened up so many conversations. Lidya will tell you that ultimately this is about inspiring others, and she loves playing a part in that.”
Don’t miss Lidya’s role as young Katherine Coleman in Hidden Figures’ historic portrayal of the brilliant African-American women behind NASA’s launch of the first American astronaut into orbit—now available on DVD!