'Empire' Star Serayah Breaks Down Joining Taylor Swift's Fierce Female 'Bad Blood' Clique

Serayah Bad Blood
Courtesy of YouTube

Serayah McNeil as Dilemma in Taylor Swift's music video for "Bad Blood."

When Empire star Serayah got the call that Taylor Swift had enlisted her to join the star-studded "Bad Blood" video, the singer/actress was knocked over by the offer.

"Well, initially, her management contacted my management, they proposed the idea to me," she tells Billboard. "And I completely loved it and so we went from there. It seemed like [from] the ideas for it and the treatment for the video, I was just like 'Oh, my gosh! This is so dope. I can't wait'."

Serayah reveals that Swift was familiar with her thanks to her role of Tiana on the hit Fox drama. "Yeah, actually-- her and the director of the video [Joseph Kahn had] seen me on Empire and they were like, 'Oh my gosh, let's have her on the video!'"

Next up was hitting the set, where Serayah was not only greeted by Swift but also a who's who of celebrities, ranging from supermodels (Gigi Hadad, Karlie Kloss, Cindy Crawford) to multi-hyphenates (Selena Gomez, Zendaya) to chart-toppers (Hayley Williams) and actresses (Hailee Stenfeld, Ellen Pompeo, Mariska Hargitay).

Despite all that star power on set, Serayah says there was nothing approaching diva behavior. In fact, the shoot even included burger hangout sessions. "Everyone was really chill and just having fun, mainly," she said.

The video also meant that the performers got the chance to take on some rather fierce alter egos, including Serayah as Dilemma. "It's just a character. I think we're all just playing characters, our alter-girl that we would love to be... just [an] amazing strong type of woman that can do kicks and stunts and things like that," she says. "I think it was just a character we were all fascinated with."



Meet Dilemma. @serayah #BadBloodMusicVideo

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on May 12, 2015 at 8:04am PDT


While Williams previously explained why she was The Crimson Curse in the visual, Serayah revealed what drew her to being Dilemma. "Mainly just the world, it's very problematic," she explains. "So I thought the word was very interesting when I saw it and that's why I chose it. I was like 'Hey, I love this word!'"

And the ladies went full-throttle into character once the cameras started rolling. "I really liked my character and once the director called 'action,' that's when we got into character," she explains. "But other than that, we were just having a lot of fun and playing with the outfits and artillery and weapons that we got to use."

Speaking of Kahn, Serayah admits she was familiar with his work considering he's previously helmed other epic videos for the likes of Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys, Chris Brown and, of course, Swift's "Blank Space."

"He had done some of Britney Spears' videos and some other videos a little while back that were very cinematic that I grew up loving. I love the idea of what he does and what could become of the video," she adds. "It was amazing to be a part of something so huge and so creative. I don't think I've seen anything of that level. I was blown away by the final product. I think everyone was."