- Full Name Sicily Sewell-Johnson
- Occupation Former Actress, Chef, Restaurateur
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Pontiac, Michigan, USA
- Birth Date Oct 01, 1985
- Age 36 Years, 7 Months
- Nickname Spirit
- Ethnicity African-American
- Zodiac Sign Libra
- Mother Bernadine Sewell
- Siblings Three Brothers
- Education Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles
- Relationship Status Married
- Husband Chris Johnson
- Wedding Date 2006-05-17
- Height 4 Feet 11 Inches (1.5 Meters)
- Net Worth Approximately $1 Million to $5 Million
- Children Madison Sierra Johnson and Marlee Johnson
Sicily Sewell | BiographyFormer Actress Best Known for Her Role as Spirit Jones in the UPN comedy series 'One on One'
While Sewell was working on the 'One on One' show, her love for cooking and baking grew. She soon started spending much of her spare time in the kitchen. In an interview with The Shade Room in March 2019, Sewell shared she decided to change her career after having her eldest daughter in 2007. She subsequently enrolled in the Hollywood Campus of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. In November 2010, she was an intern at the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen. She graduated from the college with honors.
Sicily Sewell is an American chef and restaurateur. She is also a former actress and television producer best known for her role as Spirit Jones in the UPN comedy series 'One on One.'
Sicily Sewell is a former actress who made her professional acting debut at seven in an 'Emmy Award’-winning episode of Sesame Street. She then appeared in television series like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1995-1996) and Mama Flora's Family (1998) before landing her breakout role as Spirit Jones on One on One in 2001. She appeared in the first four seasons of the series till 2005.
Later, she changed her career to follow her passion for cooking. She and her mother co-own a restaurant called Pinky and Red's that serves soul food-inspired sandwiches.
She Developed Passion For Baking At An Early Age
Sewell was born in Pontiac, Michigan, on 1 October 1985. She has three brothers. Her mother, Bernadine Sewell, was a single parent who scraped by to make ends meet.
Her mother had a cake-decorating business. Her mom also used to make cakes for her, her brothers, and everyone in the neighborhood. That's when she developed her passion for baking.
She said her mother involved her and her brothers in the kitchen at a very young age. "By the time we turned six, Mom was actually teaching us how to cook dishes–- a culinary "right of passage," of sorts," Sewell said. Shortly after that, Sewell and her brothers were cooking Sunday dinners. According to Sewell, her one brother would take responsibility for meat, and the other two brothers would fix the side, while she would fix the salads and do the baking.
In the meantime, she and her brothers got into the acting career, following the footsteps of her oldest brother's close friend.
She Began Acting Professionally At Seven
Sewell began her professional acting career at a very young age. At age seven, she did her first audition for the educational children's television series Sesame Street. She was hired to do some specials, one of which won an 'Emmy Award.' Shortly after that, she earned a recurring role as one of the Power Rangers, Young Aisha, in the Fox Kids superhero television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1995. She featured in six episodes of the show in 1995 and 1996. Describing the role she played in the series, Sewell said, "I played the Yellow Ranger when the rangers were transformed into little kids." She also played the same role as Young Aisha in the 1996 video titled 'Power Rangers Zeo: Zeo Quest.'
In 1998, she appeared as Chloe in the supernatural horror-thriller film Children of the Corn V: Field of Terror. Written and directed by Ethan Wiley, Children of the Corn V: Field of Terror was the fifth part of the Children of the Corn film series and based on Stephen King's 1997 horror short story of the same title.
The same year, Sewell portrayed the character Chantel in the 1998 romantic comedy-drama film How Stella Got Her Groove Back, based on Terry McMillan's 1996 novel of the same name. She appeared in the film alongside actors Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, and Taye Diggs. According to Sewell, working with such legendary actors taught her several lessons, including knowing and being confident about oneself, following a passion, knowing one’s worth, and maximizing that space to the fullest.
Sewell also appeared in a teenage version of Diana in the television miniseries Mama Flora's Family in 1998.
In 2001, Sewell landed a role as a series regular for the UPN comedy television series One on One, alongside Flex Alexander, Kyla Pratt, and Robert Ri'chard. She portrayed the role of Spirit Jones, the best friend to Pratt’s character Breanna Latrice Barnes, in 91 out of 113 episodes of the series from 2001 to 2005.
In an interview with The Shade Room, Sewell shared her experience working on One on One. “It was amazing, it’s had never really hit me how many people love or identified with the show, it never really has. I just knew I was going to work every day to make some folks laugh, I never got used to it and I was always nervous and taken aback by the job. However, the cool thing was we were the same age as our characters, I was a year older, so life was really parallel. So, a lot of things that we might have missed out on in life, we got to live out on the show,” she shared.
In 2004, she did the voice work for one episode of Disney's animated comedy family show The Proud Family. The following year, she was cast as Lise Jones in the biographical drama television movie Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story, directed by Andy Wolk. She then appeared as Chloe Spears in the 2007 comedy television movie Super Sweet 16: The Movie, directed by Neema Barnette.
She Quit Acting To Become A Chef
While Sewell was working on the One on One show, her love for cooking and baking grew. She soon started spending much of her spare time in the kitchen. In an interview with The Shade Room in March 2019, Sewell shared she decided to change her career after having her eldest daughter in 2007. She explained, "I had been married for a bit, just had my eldest daughter and I was legit ready to not go back to acting. All I knew is I wanted to do something that I love and passionate about. So, I made the decision to go to culinary school and started a few weeks later. It was the best decision that I have ever made career-wise, it was hard and worth it!"
She subsequently enrolled in the Hollywood Campus of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. In November 2010, she was an intern at the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen. At the time, she said she loved the Test Kitchen because of its different cooking approach. “In culinary school, we learned to prepare for restaurant-style cooking, where you work “the line.” In the Test Kitchen, we’re not making food for customers, per say, though each recipe we make is tested for thousands of readers. It’s stimulating, because we also get to play with a lot of different ingredients and experience a wide variety of dishes,” she described.
In addition to the kitchen of the Test Kitchen, Sewell said she loved the weekly reader request column called Culinary SOS. She would help respond to readers’ letters and emails. She said she loved reading the excitement in each reader’s request and learning each reader’s story. She would reach out to the restaurant or bakery for their recipe, then test it before turning a reader’s request into a reality while also trying to recreate that special dish.
According to Sewell, a restaurant or bakery would sometimes refuse to share their recipe, and sometimes a recipe won’t work. However, she said she would get excited if she succeeded in the kitchen and became able to help a reader.
During her internship at the Test Kitchen, Sewell participated in the LA Times’ first Food and Wine Festival. She demonstrated a recipe for a savory dish of grilled shrimp with chermoula sauce and L.A. Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter.
Sewell later graduated from the college with honors. After graduation, she worked at different food businesses, including a successful dessert food truck.
What Is Sicily Sewell Doing Now?
In 2018, Sewell co-founded a restaurant called Pinky & Red's with her mother, Bernadine “Pinky” Sewell. The mother and daughter duo had started the restaurant as part of the incubator program of La Cocina, a San Francisco-based nonprofit food incubator that focuses on solving problems of equity in business ownership for women, immigrants, and people of color.
Pinky & Reds was located on the UC Berkeley Campus in the MLK Student Union Building in Berkeley, California, and it served different soul food-inspired sandwiches. The restaurant celebrated its first birthday on 21 November 2019. However, in March 2020, the restaurant closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They later began a Go Fund Me campaign to reopen the restaurant. Pinky & Reds later launched its coffee e-commerce brand with the tagline “Coffee for the Soul.”
Additionally, in December 2019, Sewell was hired as a chef in Colors, a 70-seat restaurant that was reopened on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, after a rough three-year closure.
Colors restaurant was opened in 2006 on North of Houston Street (Noho) in Manhattan, New York City, by Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) United, a nonprofit organization established by surviving employees of the Windows on the World restaurant after the September 11 (9/11) terrorist attacks. However, the restaurant closed in 2017. Various news sites reported that the restaurant employees accused ROC of not paying their fair wages on time, while many filed lawsuits against ROC.
The restaurant reopened in the fall of 2019 with the mission of celebrating black food and culture in America, and Sewell was excited to work in a mission-driven restaurant. “I wanted to make really good, black-ass food. I wanted to do something to tell black people that I appreciate them, and build a space where people of color don’t have to change or compromise who they are to feel accepted,” she told New York Eater in December 2019. “I want to celebrate the beauty of blackness and the magic that happens when we come together for a good ole fellowship around food. That’s what this space is for me, giving you black excellence and history — through the food, hospitality, and music,” she added.
However, the restaurant abruptly closed just one month after reopening. Sewell was informed by the ROC United’s executive director Sekou Siby via text that the restaurant would have to close. Sewell described the sudden closure of the restaurant as a “tumultuous experience.” She said ROC was not living up to its own ideals. “Systems weren’t in place to make Colors succeed when this place is the epitome of what ROC stands for,” she told the New York Post in January 2020. “My hope for this space was to leave people a little better than how [we] met them. To close like this, we’re not really doing that.”
However, Siby told the New York Post that the restaurant's reopening was just a “test drive.”
She Is Married
Sewell married her boyfriend of five years, drummer Chris Johnson, on 17 May 2006, after four months of engagement. Her husband was quite active on his Myspace account during that time. However, Sewell has kept her married life under the wraps. Though she is active in social media, she has not posted any picture with her husband.
She Is A Mother
Sewell and her husband welcomed their first child, daughter Madison Sierra Johnson, on 17 November 2007. They welcomed their second child, daughter Marlee Johnson, on 12 December 2011. Sewell occasionally posts pictures with her daughters in her Instagram account.
Her Mother Has A Colon Cancer
Sewell’s mother, Bernadine, was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2020. She is currently on her stage 3c colon cancer and runs a Go Fund Me campaign for her treatment.