The WGBH Drama Club has been loving this season of Frankie Drake Mysteries. This season has only expanded on the first, featuring cases that involve key historic figures — from Marcus Garvey to Coco Chanel — and introducing some fun new characters along the way.

But even as we meet these new (and sometime familiar) faces, we find ourselves growing ever more curious about the women who portray the main characters. This week, we wanted to take a look at Chantel Riley, the multi-talented performer who plays Trudy Clarke, Frankie’s ride-or-die sidekick. Riley shows her many talents as Trudy, but the role only scratches the surface of Riley's fascinating life. Take a look:

  • Riley shares a lot in common with the character she portrays on the small screen, starting with her heritage. Just like Trudy, Riley was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Jamaican parents.
  • Riley’s stage debut was in 2011. After attending an open call in Toronto, she was cast as Nala in The Lion King – for performances in Hamburg, Germany. Not only did this role require her to travel overseas, but it also saw her learning all of her lines and songs in German.
  • A year later, Riley reprised the role stateside. Her work on the German stage led her to the Great White Way, where she spent four years portraying the lioness.
  • Riley’s singing is not just relegated to Broadway. She’s currently finalizing an EP which will soon be distributed across streaming platforms.
  • If you can’t wait for the album to drop, check out a single available online:

  • Riley’s big screen debut was in the film Race — a drama about Jesse Owens’ many triumphs at the 1936 Olympics — where she portrayed Quincella, Jesse’s Los Angeles paramour.
  • And her big screen dreams don’t stop there. She revealed on Twitter that she is a huge fan of Marvel, and hopes she can get a chance to hit the big screen again as part of the Black Panther franchise.
  • On the small (and smaller!) screen, Riley also voices the character of Layla Hassan for the popular Assassin’s Creed video games.
  • And, not satisfied with only the titles of Broadway star, singer, and actress, Riley has also added designer to that list. She is a co-founder of the clothing line Riley&Rose, which seeks to bring social, humanitarian and educational activism to street fashion.
Riley and Rose – Chantel Riley
Photo Courtesy of Riley & Rose

  • But her activism doesn’t stop there. Riley also helps fundraise for Khan Foundation, an association that focuses on educational development in Nigeria.

Want to get more of Chantel Riley? Watch Frankie Drake Mysteries now on WGBH Passport.