LOS ANGELES — If you want to get to know the essence of real life, “Black Girl Magic,” then look no further than Princess Sarah Culberson. She was adopted to a loving family at the age of one, but her curiosity kept her wondering about her biological family.

“I really wanted to know about my roots, where I came from, what I looked like. I didn’t want to be 60, 70, or 80 someday and it was too late to find my birth family,” she said.

So at the age of 28, she hired a private investigator to reconnect with her biological father, and that step changed her entire life.  

“They said, 'We are so happy to hear from you. Do you know you’re a princess!? You can be chief someday, you’re a princess in this country.' And I was just like, 'What is happening?'”

What happened then was the most transformative homecoming trip, one that saw her village in Sierra Leone receive her with a royal welcoming.

But Princess Sarah doesn’t just carry her newfound title, she also carries her responsibility to empower her people. Here in Los Angeles, she works diligently to get the local community to help with missions like water wells and cultural education trips.

“If it doesn’t impact you personally, it doesn’t mean that it won’t impact others. And I think that’s something we’re working on here in the United States and maybe in the world, to be more aware of each other,” she explained.

Her story did not go unnoticed, in fact, it caught the eyes of Disney. Now a film is being created about her life. She hopes it will to empower girls of color to recognize their royal value, and encourage viewers to celebrate the beauty of cultural diversity.

“We can make assumptions and push people away and say ‘oh they’re weird’ when we just don’t know, and I think it’s so important to learn more about each other,” she emphasized.

And with or without a Disney film, Princess Sarah will continue her important, real life work in building bridges, from one community, to the next.