KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- She's only 17 and Nikela Reed is already making a name for herself at Ruskin High School.
"I think I would describe my passion as exhilarating, nonstop and true to myself," Reed said Tuesday during an interview at her school.
The Ruskin junior is multi-talented. She's a member of the National Honor Society, on the Principal's Honor Roll and she's a rising star on her school's competitive drama team.
On stage is where Nikela said she especially shines.
"I get be anybody I want on stage," she said. "My passion is the arts. My passion is acting and telling stories, giving voices to marginalized groups of people such as African Americans and women, and that's what I identify with most. I just love becoming a different person when I am acting."
The Kansas City teen first fell in love with acting in the eighth grade.
"My parents were part of a theater group called the M.C. Players a long time ago. I was really involved with them, going to see their shows and watching all of their moves. It was a lot of fun," Nikela said.
"I'm just so proud of her in anything she does. Anything. It's like the Midas touch. It turns to gold," said a beaming Ronny Reed, Niekela's dad.
Nikela's talents have opened doors for her.
Last year, she was a finalist in a speech-reciting competition in Washington D.C. The Ruskin High student, who also writes poetry and speeches, has received almost 30 other honors.
Last summer, Nikela worte an award-winning and powerful speech titled, "Dreams." It's a moving monologue where she asks, "Is the American dream attainable for people of color?"
"My favorite thing is she is so incredibly humble," said Kelly Michale, Nikela's theater director. "She doesn't know how amazing she is."
Next month, Nikela will compete in more local theater competitions. The aspiring actress already has her eyes on Broadway and a lot more.
"I see myself in the movies, hopefully one day holding a Tony, an Oscar, a Grammy."