Teen Actress/Author Shanaya Fastje takes on Hollywood, Music and Bullies

At 15, teen actress/author Shanaya Fastje already has four books to her credit, is a sought after public speaker and is now ready to debut her new music album.

Not bad for the striking young brunette whose dream to be a multitalented actress/author/singer are now coming true in short succession.

It was just last year that her book “Bully in the Mirror” became a best-seller, inspiring children and parents alike and leading the young girl to become the voice and face for children victimized by bullies.

In her book, Shanaya shows how teachers, parents and kids can change the way they view bullying and how they can effectively deal with it. She shows how youngsters can form an anti-bullying team and how they can boost their confidence by standing up for themselves.

Just last month, the young ingénue was honored at the International Latino Book Awards at the Clark County-Las Vegas Library Theater with an award in the Best Book Written by a Youth category.

“Although bullying continues to affect many kids and families today, I’m thankful that children and parents are finding hope and inspiration through this book,” she said.

The International Latino Awards was presented by the Latino Literacy Now, co-founded by actor Edward James Olmos and veteran publishing executive Kirk Whisler, in partnership with Las Comadres Para Las Americas and REFORMA, as well as the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos, an affiliate of the American Library Association.

Herself a bullying victim, Shanaya sought to help children and inspire their families to take action against bullies. Armed with her step-by-step program to fight bullying, Shanaya visited scores of schools, meeting halls and community centers to speak out against those victimizing children.

Even as she toured the country, Shanaya was also busy modeling and acting as well as creating her popular Web series “M.D. Squared,” which dealt with the struggles teens face every day.

In “M.D. Squared,” Shanaya plays a young girl who is battling her own depression and inner demons that sometimes overcome her. It's the depiction of this inner battle that makes the show so unique and compelling to young people, she says.

“Each episode has a message where my character talks about her problems and her hope to persevere past her depression,” she said.

“I have these discussions with my conscience that bring out issues that kids would never talk about with their parents. It's this aspect of the show that I think inspires kids and encourages them to work past their depression. I want to show them that they’re not alone.”

With a passion for playing guitar, piano and other instruments, Shanaya is also busy writing songs and working on her debut album, having already released two hit singles this past year. Her love for rock, pop and classical music will make the album a unique musical experience, she said.

Her new single “Few Years” is available on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/shanaya-fastje/id544196409).

Her popular sound is already earning the budding musician the attention of the music industry. Shanaya was recently asked by the music organization Songweavers to represent the U.S. and sing “Ray of Hope” for its upcoming charity CD featuring artists from around the world. Proceeds from the album will benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“Ray of Hope” is a song from a poem written by Israeli President Shimon Peres, donated to Songweavers by Peres as a way to promote world peace through music.

Besides her writing and music, Shanaya also serves as the official spokesperson for Our Fields of Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization in Florida that works on behalf of children in the foster care system.

Known for her television appearances such as “The Jeff Probst Show,” “Hit Me Up!” and others, Shanaya is today writing her fifth book, a science-fiction novel due out next year.

“I love writing and coming up with interesting stories and compelling characters that people can easily relate to,” Shanaya said.

Shanaya’s career began at the tender age of 8, when she began writing the first volume of her Mystery School book series where she talks about her experiences of living at home and being home schooled. After winning multiple national awards, two more volumes of the Mystery School series followed and Shanaya solidified her place as a children’s book author with a popular and relevant message.

Shanaya has been honored for her work by a number of prominent figures, including President Obama, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the cities of Burbank, Calif. and El Paso, Texas; making her one of the most honored and sought-after teen public speakers today.

To learn more, Shanaya is online at www.ShanayaFastje.com.

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