Grace Byers

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Grace Byers
Grace Gealey (25823471864).jpg
Byers in 2016
Born (1984-07-26) July 26, 1984 (age 34)
Years active2012–present
Trai Byers (m. 2016)

Grace Byers (née Gealey;[1] born July 26, 1984)[2] is an American actress, known for her role as Anika Calhoun in the Fox music-industry drama, Empire.

Early life[edit]

Grace Gealey was born in Butler, Pennsylvania July 26, 1984, and raised in the Cayman Islands from infancy.[3] She knows sign language due to having deaf parents.[4] After moving to the United States, she received her bachelor's degree in Theater Arts at the University of South Florida in Tampa.[3] Gealey later attended the University of California, Irvine, where she received her Master’s of Fine Arts in acting.[3]


Gealey then moved to New York City, where she performed Off-Broadway, including in Venus Flytrap: A Femme Noir Mystery, and Rent.[5][6] In 2013, she performed in the Chicago productions of The Misanthrope and Tartuffe.[7][8] In 2014, Gealey was cast as Anika Calhoun in the Fox musical prime time drama, Empire opposite Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.[9][10] The series debuted on January 7, 2015.[11]

In 2017 Gealey was cast as Kate, a jazz singer and lounge owner, in the indie thriller Bent.[12]

In 2018 Gealey published a children's book based on her experiences being bullied as a child for having deaf parents. She wrote it to empower children to love and accept themselves.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Gealey became engaged to her Empire costar Trai Byers in 2015.[14] She and Byers married on Grand Cayman Island on April 14, 2016.[15][16]



Year Title Role Notes
2015–2018 Empire Anika Calhoun Series regular
2018–present The Gifted Reeva Payge Series regular


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Bent Kate [12]


  1. ^ Grace Byers verified Twitter page. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Grace Gealey". Retrieved March 25, 2015. Note: While some sources give her birthplace as the Cayman Island, Gealey says she was born in Butler, Pennsylvania. See interview in, below.
  3. ^ a b c Gealey in Moise, Herlande (November 11, 2014). "Let's Talk About Beauty: Chatting up with Empire's Grace Gealey". Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015. I was born in Butler, PA to an American father and Afro-Caribbean mother. Our family moved to the Cayman Islands (my mother's native home) when I was about 2 years old.
  4. ^ Staff, The Doctors (16 April 2015). "Grace Gealey on Growing Up with Non-Hearing Parents". The Doctors. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Cayman talent off-Broadway". Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Cayman actor Grace Gealey Broadway experiences". Cayman 27. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Review: The Misanthrope (Court Theatre)".
  8. ^ "Review: Tartuffe (Court Theatre)".
  9. ^ Lesley Goldberg. "Gabourey Sidibe Reunites With Lee Daniels on Fox's 'Empire'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  10. ^ The Deadline Team. "Gabourey Sidibe Joins Fox Drama Pilot 'Empire' - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Gealey graces TV in new FOX series". The Cayman Reporter. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (24 March 2017). "'Empire' Star Grace Byers Joins Karl Urban and Sofia Vergara in 'Bent'". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  13. ^ Hair, Hype (23 October 2017). "Grace Byers' To Publish First Children's Book 'I Am Enough'". Hype Hair. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  14. ^ Corinthios, Aurelie. "It's Official! Grace Gealey Shows Off Engagement 2015". People. Time Inc. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  15. ^ "Empire Stars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey Have Secret Island Wedding". April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "Empire Stars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey Get Married in Caribbean Beach Wedding". Us Weekly. April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.

External links[edit]