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Sarah's Bio

Princess Sarah Culberson’s Official Bio

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Short Bio

Sarah Culberson was adopted one year after her first birthday by a loving, white West Virginia couple and raised in the United States with little knowledge of her ancestry.

In 2004 Sarah took the journey to Sierra Leone to meet her birth father and family and discovered she was considered a mahaloi, the child of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a princess. After going to Sierra Leone and seeing the aftermath of an 11 year civil war she co-founded Sierra Leone Rising, a non-profit to support the community. Sarah shared her story in a book she co-authored titled, “A Princess Found”. Her story has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, BBC radio, LA Times, Singapore News and many other media outlets. Her passion for education does not stop with Sierra Leone; as Director of Outreach at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles, Sarah works daily with middle and high school students.

“Your voice connects the world and makes a difference.”

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Long Bio

Sarah Culberson was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, to an African father and a white mother. As an infant, she was given up to foster care and adopted by a loving white family in West Virginia. She grew up contemplating and dealing with questions about her identity and her biracial roots.

She fell in love with theatre in early childhood and later won an acting scholarship to attend West Virginia University. She earned her MFA at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and joined the Los Angeles acting community.

Culberson has been acting on stage as well as in films and TV. She appeared in shows such as Strong Medicine, All of Us, Boston Legal, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and the film American Dreamz. She also guest dances with professional Urban Latin Dance Theater company Contra-Tiempo. However, her biggest role so far came when she decided to locate her biological parents. After learning that her biological mother had died when she was just 11, she found out that her father lived in a village in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She learned that she was from a royal family, a Mahaloi, the granddaughter of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a princess. She also learned of the difficulties and privations of the people in Sierra Leone resulting from a brutal 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The discovery of her unique heritage and her response to this new information changed her life forever. Now, as co-founder and president of Sierra Leone Rising (formerly known as “The Kposowa Foundation”) in Los Angeles, she and many others work to improve education for young people, bring clean drinking water to the community, and provide sustainable opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone. Culberson’s story has been featured nationally and internationally in The Singapore News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, “Oprah and Friends” radio show, and in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, People, and Glamour. She has also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more. Culberson’s book, A Princess Found, co-written with Tracy Trivas and published by St. Martin’s Press, was released in Barnes and Noble and other bookstores in 2009 and is being used at Pepperdine University in an ethnic identity class.

In addition to raising awareness about Sierra Leone, Sarah Culberson is the director of service-learning at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles. She takes groups to Sierra Leone to stay with her family and work together on different service-learning projects. The groups work on projects with the Bumpe community and learn about the people and the culture of Sierra Leone. Culberson speaks nationally and internationally and shares the inspirational quest that led her to her birth father in a war-torn country that is now rebuilding and moving forward.

Featured News & Press

Sarah's story has been featured nationally and internationally around the world.

Princess Sarah Culberson’s story has been featured nationally and internationally in The Singapore News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, “Oprah and Friends” radio show, and in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, People, and Glamour. She also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more. Culberson’s book, A Princess Found, co-written with Tracy Trivas and published by St. Martin’s Press, was released in Barnes and Noble and other bookstores in 2009 and has been used at Pepperdine University in an ethnic identity class.

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