Her first recollection is a party hat with her name and her birth date written on it. All the birthday kids at Desert Son-Shine Preschool wore them. She remembers standing up and saying how old she was turning, 6. There were cupcakes and pizza, and her parents were there. She was especially excited, because she knew her extended family would all be at their house on Saturday to celebrate, too.
I’m glad she doesn’t remember the day she was actually born—specifically the first 19 hours of her life when her bio-mom took a hike, and the hospital did what they always did when little brown babies were abandoned: They called Silvia Signoret (the subject of last month’s column).
Most of the babies Silvia helps end up in other loving homes; she makes sure of that. But that night, the universe did some bibbidi bobbidi boo, and the Signorets fell in love. From that day on, she was Solange, No. 3 of the seven adopted kids who call Silvia and Tony Signoret Mom and Dad.
This is Solange’s senior year in high school, her final year at David Green’s Musical Theatre University (MTU). She is a Broadway hopeful, and if her past is any indication, she’s going to get there. Green’s very positive about her chances.
“I have trained and mentored hundreds of young people to successful careers on Broadway … including multiple Tony Award winners and nominees,” Green says. “Solange is as talented, committed and passionate as all of them.”
When she was 11, she sang Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” in Desert’s Got Talent, sponsored by Boo to Bullying. Among others, she competed against her older sister, Juliette.
“She has the most beautiful, angelic voice,” Solange says about Juliette.
When the time came to call the winner, neither were announced at fifth, fourth, third or second. When they finally announced first place, it was little Solange.
She’s got a lot going for her—looks, talent, brains—yet none of that is why I have inducted Solange into The Girl Club. I’m going to tell you why, but the knowledge comes with this caveat: If you have low self-esteem and don’t need to feel any worse about yourself, then stop reading. Right now. I mean it.
When she was 8 years old, Solange spoke at Palm Springs City Hall in support of same-sex marriage. She is and has been an ambassador for Boo to Bullying since she was 11. At 14, she lobbied in Washington, D.C., for the Equality Act; performed “Rise Up” to kick off the Palm Springs Women’s March; and sang the anthem openers at the California Winter League’s baseball playoffs. At 16, she won the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and this year, she won the First 5 Riverside’s Champion for Children Award, “created to honor and bring awareness to people and organizations whose leadership and advocacy embody the vision of First 5 Riverside.”
I’m not done.
This girl has a black belt in karate, and she has performed in more than 15 productions on the musical theater stage.
But she had help, right? I mean, come on; her mom is an adoption activist, and her dad works for the Palm Springs Unified School District, so she got it from them, right?
Yeah, no. “I think Solange came out that way,” Silvia says. Fully baked. Ready to rumble.
When asked what called her to action, Solange will tell you it happened when George Zander, a local LGBTQ activist, spoke about marriage equality. “I remember standing in the crowd at the rally, listening and watching him,” she says, “and thinking, ‘What if I wasn’t able to have the uncles and cousins I have, because a law tells them because they’re same sex, they can’t marry each other?’” That’s what she said when she found a mic in her hand.
She was 7 years old. Let me repeat that: 7 years old. That moment led to a profound friendship with Zander, who helped her better understand the issues. They began to speak at rallies together.
On Nov. 1, 2015, Zander and his husband, Chris, were jumped and beaten in downtown Palm Springs. It was a hate crime. They busted Chris’ head open and broke George’s hip. The men responsible were arrested, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when George and Chris were expected to make a full recovery. What they did not expect was for George to die six weeks later from “unrelated causes.”
Solange was devastated. She got involved with Boo to Bullying right away, and has been an ambassador for seven years.
“We (go) to schools of all ages, and we talk to (students) about how to eradicate bullying. We work with the bullied, those who bully, and the bystanders who watch it happen,” Solange says. They discuss suicides resulting from cyberbullying, physical bullying, and social media bullying.
“The amount of negativity that is on those platforms is insane,” Solange says.
If you’re passionate about an issue, Solange has suggestions. Educate yourself, and use social media to find likeminded groups to talk about it.
“Use technology to your advantage in the most positive way that you can. If you’re in school, start a club that talks about worldwide issues, how you can fix them, how you can make it better,” she says. “Your school can tell you what events your community has going on where you feel it (ties in). Attend those events, and then start talking about your mission and how you can help with what they do.”
I don’t know for sure if Solange was born to greatness, but if her life so far is any indication, this badass might just change the world. … if she wants. No pressure. We’ll see what happens with Broadway. Maybe she can do both?