By: Jill Fox
Those awake during the first morning hours, when news anchors are greeting the earliest of risers and the skies are still dark, can hear the sound of the national anthem coming from the television.
That beautiful voice is 10-year-old Reina Ozbay.
“It brings me so much joy and happiness, I just really love to sing,” said Reina.
Reina lives in Parkland Golf and Country Club with her mother, Petrell, a writer, her father, Huseyin, an engineering consultant, her brother, Michael, 7, and her Cavapoo puppy, Arly.
Like other young girls, Reina, a fifth-grader at Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, enjoys acting, singing and playing the piano. The difference is she is also on television.
“There’s a healthy balance going on, said Petrell, “She does a lot of other things besides performing.”
Reina’s current focus is traditional classical voice training, although she often auditions for acting jobs. That’s how she landed the role of singing the national anthem, currently airing in 93 markets across the United States, at the beginning of the local news day.
“What we didn’t realize and what we are continued to be surprised by is the reach,” said Reina’s mother, Petrell, who still hears from friends across the country seeing it on their CBS morning shows.
In January, a friend sent Petrell an agency request for young girls who could sing the national anthem. A media group had the intention of bringing back the patriotic tradition of television stations signing on at the beginning of their broadcast day with the song. It was pretty late at night, and due that day, but Reina thought, “Why not, I’ll try.”
She practiced the words, recorded it on her mother’s phone, submitted it, and got the part. Someone on the production crew later told Petrell that Reina’s was the last video submitted.
In addition to her singing spot, Reina plays Abigail in the biblical historical drama, “The Chosen,” where her guest spot became a recurring role in the number one crowdfunded television project in history.
“The show has a very loyal following, and the fans have really embraced her,” said Petrell, who is repeatedly impressed that Reina holds her own against veteran actors in the historical drama.
Other than her work on “The Chosen,” Reina can be seen in a small part in an upcoming episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which taped in Miami earlier this year.
When she’s not acting onscreen, Reina takes classes at Broadway Bound, in Coral Springs, as well as classical voice lessons with Rachal Solomon.
Reina’s mother said they love living in Parkland, and being supported by the community and friends they’ve made.
“At Broadway Bound, parents and children are genuinely happy for Reina; we celebrate each other’s victories, and it’s a really nice feeling to have,” said Petrell.
Next up, Reina will sing the national anthem at the Miami Dolphins game on Sunday. When asked about her future goals, there is no limit to this 10-year-old powerhouse.
“I want to be a singer, actor, songwriter, and performer. I want it all.”
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 10 and Randi, 7.