Laila has brown hair, hazel eyes and a pretty, baby face. Though she detests it, the childish face endears her to her father who delights in the idea that she looks younger than her age—it might ward off guys further down the line. Her skin tans easily but due to the often overcast skies of the Pacific Northwest, she is not as dark as she could be had she been raised somewhere with more sun. She wears a gold cross around her neck.
PERSONALITY: As a five year old, popularity comes with whose parent brings in the best snacks and who’s best at sharing, thus Laila Kennedy enjoyed popularity at the elementary school in Turner’s Point. The child of an intensely Catholic Italian immigrant and a pretty Catholic small town Irish boy, Laila grew up immersed in the Catholic faith. From a young age she was enrolled in the children’s choir at church where she found that she felt especially close to God while making music. Because of this, she asked to learn how to play the piano. Her lessons never progressed very far, however, since she started a few years before Ilvermorny and her attendance abruptly stopped the lessons.
She is incredibly serious for her age, yet also at the same time idealistic and positive. Her mother, Leonora, is her inspiration since she broke free of her own small town to go to college abroad and ended up marrying a small town boy from Washington, Joey Kennedy. Growing up in a small town where everyone was constantly in each other’s business and questioning every little imperfection, Laila grew up constantly working to fit in, hiding all her “imperfections” such as the little “fits” she occasionally got whilst experiencing extreme bouts of emotion. She later comes to realize these “fits” were evidence of her magical ability when an official from Ilvermorny came with her letter of acceptance.
The arrival of the official and the letter came as a surprise for Laila who was half glad for the unveiling since it meant she wasn’t going crazy. Coping with this proves to be difficult not only for Laila but also for her intensely religious family. As she gets older, she will have to learn how to reconcile her faith with her magical abilities—something that proves to be difficult as attending a magical boarding school limits the amount of involvement she can have with her church back home.
TALENTS/SKILLS/HOBBIES: Out of anyone, it is Laila Kennedy who has a greenthumb. She started gardening at a young age as her household chore and just kept up with it when she came to Ilvermorny, asking Professor Watson if she could hang around the greenhouses and the groundskeeper if there weren't odd jobs she could do for him.
She is also a good student and head of the Spirit Squad. Laila manages her time by studying while gardening and hanging out with friends during meal times and on trips into Greylock. Otherwise you can find her practicing cheer routines or mooning over her latest 'bad boy' crush.
LANGUAGES: English (native language); Italian (comprehension only); ASL (novice)
BRIEF HISTORY: The daughter of a native to the Pacific Northwest and a small town girl from Italy, Laila Kennedy grew up in Turner’s Point, Washington, a smallish town where sports is everything. If their football team didn’t suck so much it would have been football that was the town’s pride and joy. Instead, it is basketball that reigns supreme in this small, West Coast town. Laila knew she was going to be a cheerleader when she grew up—not only was her her father was captain of the basketball team three years in a row, but all his sisters were cheerleaders. It seemed as though this path was destined for her just like playing basketball was in the cards for her younger brother.
Due to the differences in how Leonora and Joey think their children should be raised, Laila and her brother receive a strange mix of parenting styles. It is Leonora who presents Laila (and her younger brother) with the most pressure to be perfect because as a relative new comer to Turner, Leonora feels as though she has more to prove including how her children behave, dress, and are. Laila’s father on the other hand is rather lenient with them. Laila often finds it hard to live up to her mother’s ideals yet she still tries because she desperately wants to the perfect daughter.
Because of the nature of town in covering up any presumed imperfections and her mother’s strong religious beliefs that magic is associated with the devil, Laila never told her family about the weird sensations she sometimes had and likewise never mentioned the random outbursts of magic, deciding for herself that she was having “fits.” Her superstitious mother oftentimes called the parish priest over to bless the house however the doors continued to slam and objects continued to fall and Leonora seriously considered moving houses. However, the less-superstitious Joey soon convinced her that the devil was not inhabited their little brownstone, that it was likely just the wind.
When the Ilvermorny official arrived, letting Laila and her family know that she was a witch and was being offered a spot at Ilvermorny, she came clean to her family about the “fits” she’d been experiencing—to her mother’s initial fright. The first thing Leonora asked the official when she came to was whether or not Laila would be able to attend mass every Sunday. The official calmly explained that since Ilvermorny was a secular school not affiliated with any particular religion and, after a long, drawn out conversation, it was finally decided that official would try his hardest to get Laila permission to attend masses.
As the day drew nearer, Laila’s family slowly became more and more supportive of her newfound abilities though her mother remained slightly suspicious that one could be both magic and not affiliated with the devil. The night before Laila was to leave for Ilvermorny, they all drove into Seattle for a big celebratory dinner at Ivar’s Salmon House since they didn’t want to celebrate in town and have others question the occasion.
Boggart: A church official breaking the news that something devastating happened to break up her friends and family, either a death event or a messy divorce and/or break up and that oh, by the way, the Church found out about her magical abilities and she is being excommunicated.
Mirror of Erised: To live a “normal” life. While she is glad to have discovered she is a witch, she sometimes wonders what it would have been like if magic didn’t exist. The thing she desires most is to have a glimpse into that life and see how it would go.
Patronus: Humming bird; this is because Laila enjoys life and is a rather positive, optimistic person.