Can you believe it, we finally made it to the end of 2019. This year has been the most fulfilling thus far. I think we all know it has been a complete dumpster fire with student loan debt at an all-time high, a reality star running the country one Tweet at a time and mental health issues increasing. I for one have taken this year to focus on being as healthy as possible mentally and physically. Sometimes that meant ignoring social media for weeks at a time since I was too busy working, working out, and going to acting class. I maximized my time by reviewing lines for my self-tapes on my lunch break and shooting them as soon as I got off. I’ve seen my self-tapes grow leaps and bounds in the shortest period of time. I’ve auditioned for various roles, Networks and directors I have admired for years and only dreamed of having the opportunity to work with. I’ve managed to juggle a full-time job, auditions, submissions, partner work, weight loss, networking, catching up with old friends and travel. I started a Youtube channel since I’ve wanted to for ages and thought it would be a fun way to dive into film. If you want to see the world through my lens please subscribe to my Youtube channel.
This year, I finally understood what my favorite acting coach was trying to teach us about life. So often we try to understand the lessons God is teaching us quickly so we can move onto obtaining whatever thing we are chasing – whether that thing is love, financial freedom, a promotion or a materialistic item. While I completely agree that these things are important the question, I always ask myself is what makes your heart sing? What do you truly feel drawn to? Sims always said, “Life is a journey, not a destination. You all are so quick to get the destination you skip over the whole journey.” While we all knew he meant we should stop and smell the roses, I truly believe it is so difficult to sit still and observe the world when there are so many distractions. Even as I went out to dinner with friends, we observed every other table in the restaurant on their phones while out with their spouses, children even the grandparents playing candy crush instead of engaging with their grandchildren. Honestly, it’s no wonder there is a mental health crisis. How can you tell if someone is struggling if you haven’t even noticed their change in body language, behavior and lack of communication? I for one am thankful for the group I have that enjoys taking the time to talk eyeball to eyeball and people watch while discussing our future plans.
As I flew to Chicago to join a friend on a last-minute girl’s trip, I realized I felt completely peaceful. I felt centered for the first time in a long time. Proud of the work I’ve done this year in my acting career and the shift in my day job. I stopped allowing other people’s comments to affect how I act and feel. I allowed everything to roll off my back like beads of water on a duck’s feathers. I feel hopeful that even though my love life can often be a dark comedy at times – that my person will come when he’s fully ready. I met a stranger who confirmed to me that he is coming, God just needed to work on him a little bit longer. Which immediately lifted a weight off my shoulders that I did not know I was carrying.
I am so grateful to God for safely allowing me to travel to Mexico and Chicago, to continue to love the woman I have become, pay off my car, and one of my student loans. I am so excited to end this decade and began the next one with 2020 vision as I carry all the lessons I have learned into the future. Cheers to you all! What are some of the lessons you learned this year?
This past Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of going to my acting coach’s house for a formal dinner with part of our studio family. We were welcomed into Sara and Derek’s warm beautiful home. Everyone was excited to catch up about life and hilariously trying to understand what is Tik Tok? Is it the new Vine? If you know please leave a comment below.
We sipped on cucumber water in between glasses of wine and hugged each person that walked in the door. We all reflected on what we were thankful for and took turns going around the table. The one thing we all had in common was being thankful for feeling confident in our talents. The peace of mind that even though we don’t get what we want, we are all so thankful for the even better opportunities God has brought to us. We all laughed and teared up about the fact that when we make plans God laughs. Every time things are slow and you finally book a vacation, you get the call for an avail check to fly to Los Angeles and commercial auditions. Which while phenomenal! Sucks when you are meeting up in a new city with one friend and can’t really cancel on them. We each discussed how beautiful it is to be a part of this supportive community. How rare it is to be around other actors that want the best for you and aren’t competing with you. Actors that see one another as people, not an opportunity to social climb. I finally got to meet the husband of a classmate whose project we shot a couple months ago. She started her own production company and he designed the gorgeous logo. We talked about his new job in a Persian rug store. I told him it’s amazing how the arts are everywhere. Each Persian rug is hand-woven, with specific colors and patterns to tell a story. Therefore, they are one of a kind and usually passed down from generation to generation. Similar to how we share stories through art, dance, song and film. We discussed how thankful we are to start writing and producing some of our own work. After all the market is changing HBO, Netflix, AMT, Showtime and Hulu are constantly looking for new material so what do we have to lose? Becoming the next Righteous Gemstones, Schitt’s Creek, Atlanta or Insecure would be an honor. I left this Thanksgiving completely thankful for the beautiful fulfilling people in my life and so empowered to see what we accomplish in the next year. What are you thankful for this lovely holiday season?
Hello beautiful people! Back in September I got to go to Tulum Quanta Roo, Mexico for my birthday. By far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The city was robust with traffic and it was great to have authentic Mexican meals. The seafood was so fresh and affordable (think 13 USD for octopus), the butter was the best I’ve ever tasted and the spicy margaritas priceless. This year has definitely felt like the best year yet. Everything seems to be falling into place. I’m so grateful for the blessings God has placed in my life. I know that every hard time, every negative person or situation was a way of God pivoting me into a better opportunity.
I picked up this gorgeous maxi dress in Tulum. The beach side of Tulum had tons of clothing boutiques. I loved that this dress was made of natural materials and hand painted. The owner mentioned the pieces are one of a kind since they are hand painted. I selected was on of the few in this style. The artisans vary from Venezuela, Colombia and the Caribbean. I am working on a Youtube Video that will show clips from this store.
I also picked up a piece from Pepe Soho Studio. After meeting Santiago the gallery manager and getting a full demonstration on these pieces, I had to have one. I have a tradition of buying street art from every place I visit, and I bought three in Mexico. Two from an original Mayan family in Coba and the third from Pepe Soho in Tulum. Each piece of photography is printed on a special metallic reflective paper that reflects light and glows when you turn the lights off. The art work is not only vivid in color with the lights on, but glows like a nocturnal piece with the lights off. Every fall I reflect on the year and feel incredibly grateful the lessons of the previous months. What are some things you want to accomplish before December 31?
I’ve been dreaming of an emerald green fitted coat since last winter. I checked many clothing sites trying to find one that would flatter my body instead of making me feel like the Michelin man in a puffer coat. Then, I saw the perfect one in Ted Baker. Only one problem, it was well over 500 dollars. Now I will admit I love luxury items. However, I will wait for the perfect sale to buy. By that I mean a 40 percent off sale on top of the end of season 30 percent. Which takes a good amount of tracking and patience. I do believe that a coat is a great investment piece. My last two coats I just got rid off (partially for being too small and starting to fall apart) were from 10 years ago. Back when Delia’s was thriving. Now I don’t even think they exist r.i.p.
Fast forward to Labor Day I noticed the Ted Baker coats from last year were on sale. The green coat I loved went from 560(ish) to 405 and an additional 30 percent off for Labor Day. Which brought the coat down to under 290. I rushed to the mall to see if I could try on my size and the last emerald green Ted Baker coat they had fit me.
As much as I hate winter (Florida girl problems), I feel mentally ready to brave the cold in this warm, soft wool coat. Having a coat in a rich color instead of black or grey makes me happier since winter blues are a real thing. If you are in need of a coat I highly recommend waiting until you are out of season. Then look for holidays like Mother’s Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day to get an additional discount on winter clothing!
This weekend I saw The Art of Racing in the Rain. As a car enthusiast who used to race cars on occasion with her friends, (sorry mom!) I knew this would be an interesting film. While I am a complete sucker for Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried this film had beautiful lessons about life. One of the main rules they teach you when riding a motorcycle is where you lean, you will go. If you lean to the right, your bike will head to the right. In The Art of Racing in the Rain they say, “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.” Meaning if we focus on the negative things in our life we will continue to spiral into depression, loss, and stress. If we choose to be aware of the negative things happening around us but stay positive that everything will work out in our favor, then it usually will. We can all use the reminder to focus on the good in our lives. Especially when pursuing a career in the arts, which is full of unnecessary opinions, rejections, self-doubt, and occasional financial hardship. However, it only takes one person to change your luck. One music producer to sign you, one person to buy your painting, one person to cast you on a tv show to put you back on top.
Another one of my favorite quotes from the film states, “This is a rule of racing: No race has ever been won in the first corner; many have been lost there.” Perseverance is the key to success. It doesn’t matter how far behind on your goals, it only matters if you quit. One of my friends always says a year from now you’ll look back and think wow if I had quit I would’ve missed out on so many opportunities. No one comes into this world with all the wisdom to be a CEO or knows the exact steps to get there. We all have to finish what we are truly passionate about, then the success will come.
“You should shine with all of your light all the time”.
So many times in life I have allowed other people to dull my sparkle all for the sake of preventing conflict.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that anyone who does not want the best for you is not meant to be in your life. Holding yourself back is never the correct answer and prevents you from reaching your full potential. The one critique I consistently got back on my theatre juries in high school is why are you holding back? I never thought I was. I was going as far with the character as I possibly could. Now that I am in a studio that is supportive and positive, I realized I was holding back. Why? Fear, fear that I would deal with more judgment, drama, and stress than I already was. I did not feel like my classmates had my best interest at heart, or that I could trust my teachers enough to give me a parachute that would open. Now I have that. I know to go into every in-person audition, every self-tape and give it my 110 percent. So that no matter what happens I am proud of my performance.
Now that you’ve found yourself on this post you are probably thinking what is a Hype-man? Well in the past it was a hip hop singer who tries to get the audience excited about the performance. However here in Atlanta (the rap capital of the world) a Hype-man is another word for people who are pretending to be bigger and more successful than they are. This could be in the music, film or fitness community. These are also they type of people who try to get you to join their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) scheme. Talking about how quickly you can make money through selling leggings, weight loss coffee, tea and vegan supplements.
They post frequently on Social media about the big project they have coming. I’m talking everyday, for weeks at a time 3 stories and a minimum of 2 feed post about a BIG PROJECT COMING SOON.
They use phrases like, “ya’ll better support me now, cause I’m about to blow up.” Or “Feel free to sign up now to be the first to get my newsletter so you can get on my level.”
However, when the day of the big project comes there is nothing to be revealed. If you ask about it you get blocked.
They post casting calls stating they cannot pay you now, but will pay you, after they sell the series to a major network. Even though they have no connections to a network studio and can’t even afford to provide food or water on set for their actors and crew. Which is a requirement of all sets.
They talk about certain music studios, movies and celebrities like they are best friends with them. Then when you Google the movie they claimed to be in or the music studio they claimed to record a song with a certain rapper at, you can’t find their name or evidence that the rapper ever visited there.
When they say they were in a specific movie role as a lead with an A list actor, but then you can’t even find them on the listing of the film on IMDB or Deadline.com. The two reputable film sites for announcing television and film information.
They mention always being on set and are posting photos from crafty. Instead of focusing on their work, line changes, stage combat or intimacy choreography like most working actors would.
You support them by liking their post asking if they need help with anything, but you never see any of the footage, or music. Just an endless stream of lifestyle selfies and request for you to follow their fan page on Facebook.
Have you ever encountered any Hype-men? If so do watch from a distance or just ignore them all together?
Mascara is by far the one makeup product I always use aside from my eyebrow pencil (necessities am I right?). For years I’ve used Dior Show mascara and loved it, but I decided to try Hourglass recently when one of the girls at Sephora recommended it. What I love about Hourglass is they are a luxury brand that do not test on animals and 1 percent of all profits goes to protecting animal rights. While I am not vegan, tons of my friends are. It has made me way more aware of what I am putting into my body, on my skin and consuming clothing/shoe wise. I have been trying to do my part by eating mainly fruit, vegetables and getting a lot of my protein from vegan protein powder. I still love a leather good I cannot lie, but do not shop half as often as I did 4 years ago. I like to think that every little bit helps, like using a recyclable water bottle at work everyday instead of a plastic cup.
Before we get into the side by side comparisons I figure I would give you all a side by side of my eyelashes before mascara is applied.
Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara
The Hourglass Caution Extreme mascara comes in a beautiful gold metal tube that has a nice weight to it. It adds, length, volume and does not flake off on your cheeks during the day like some mascaras do. The shape of the wand creates a great lift for your lashes and coats each one in its ink black formula. It is 29.00 and I used this one for about 6 months and absolutely love it!
Thrive Cosmetic Liquid Lash Extentions
My mom mentioned seeing an advertisement for Thrive Cosmetics which is a Vegan cruelty-free brand. The tubing has a nice weight to it and is a gorgeous teal green color. Their mascara not only gives your lashes fiber extensions, it also stimulates lash growth. The fibers in their formula have a rubbery feel when you wash the mascara off at night. I must admit I noticed my lashes seem softer and a little bit longer than they were a month ago. You can read the reviews for this product here and it retails for 24.00.
Overall, I will continue to use and repurchase both because they each give a great result and are vegan cruelty-free. Do you have any cruelty-free brands you would recommend?
Sorry I have been M.I.A. I must admit it’s been a mixture of auditions, self-tapes, writer’s block and going on a hardcore fitness journey. I made time to see Aladdin yesterday since its obviously my favorite Disney movie.
We all know adapting a film from animation to live action is incredibly challenging, but Aladdin did a wonderful job. Will Smith managed to keep Genies light-hearted essence while infusing his personality into his character. I felt like we got a little bit of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and an all-knowing, sassy Genie in one. Dalia (Jasmine’s friend and handmaiden) was also added to the film. Played by Nasim Padrad, who has been on Saturday Night Live, Gigi from Scream Queens and Aly on New Girl. Ms. Padrad adds depth to Jasmine’s character by bringing out her softer side with girl chats and quick-witted comments. Don’t worry Abu and Raja make their appearances throughout the film as well.
A Whole New World was sung in a lower register but was still enchanting and beautiful since we got to experience the various dips and dives of the magic carpet ride in reality instead of animation. I love that the costume designer Michael Wilkinson took the various colors from Jasmine’s animated outfits, but kept her costume modern and modest. Instead of having Jasmine run around in a crop top and Harlem pants she made her corsets with tulip pants and occasionally a sheer cape moment. The influence of peacock feathers was a nice nod to the original animation while still making it modern. The various beautiful earrings and matching necklaces added the classic princess touch. Fun fact: Naomi Scott who plays Jasmine, was in the movie Disney movie Lemonade Mouth and she played the Pink Power Ranger in the Power Rangers.
The addition of the song Speechless, sang by Naomi Scott brought this film into the 21st century. In a time when women are quite literally still fighting for the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, Speechless was right on time. Scott belts out, “I won’t be silenced you won’t keep me quiet, won’t tremble when you try it all I know is I won’t go speechless.” You can watch here, 5 million views and counting I might add. I for one am proud that Jasmine continues to be the intelligent, strong, badass Disney princess we have always loved. She is determined to take Jaffar down and run her country for the sake of doing what is right for her people.
While I know the casting is not one hundred percent historically accurate, the dancing in some people’s opinions could have been filmed better, I loved it. I think Guy Ritchie did a great job of making Aladdin modern while honoring the classic without making it cheesy.
The film is a circular narrative and ends in a beautiful way that leaves the audience feeling satisfied. Have you seen Aladdin? What did you think?
I don’t know about you, but 2018 has been one long crazy rollercoaster ride. This year has been a huge year of growth for me. I learned the difference between being friends with people and being friendly with people. After all, some people are genuinely meant to be in your life for a reason or a season. Other people are there to push you to reach your full potential. In some cases that meant teaching me not to get too comfortable in my current job, not to trust so easily or let anyone else’s opinion speak louder than your own. So often I have let comments other people make prevent me from doing what my heart tells me. It finally clicked in my head that it seriously does not matter if someone feels you should have done “x” this way or you should not have pursued “x” degree. You are the only one who knows what makes your heart feel fulfilled. Just because someone else does not see your vision, does not make it any less real or important. I realized I’ve had a bad habit of hanging onto relationships purely for the sake of not being alone. This year taught me that there is nothing wrong with being alone. When you are patient the right people will come to you. The true friends that I’ve made over the years have made plans with me and popped up in Atlanta when I least expected. A couple even called and confirmed to me I was on the right path when I had been auditioning a ton and praying for a sign that I am in the right place and heading in the right direction.
My mantra for 2018 was nothing is permanent. Meaning if you don’t like something change it; change your attitude, make a plan and change your circumstances. Anytime I felt down about not being further in my career I reminded myself that my day job helps me afford to pursue my career on the side, build relationships, learn new skills, travel, take headshots, buy clothes for last minute auditions and live without stressing about how to make ends meet. Between the presidential election depression, most of the country went through and the Time’s Up movement I learned to fall completely back in love with myself. I’ve met some amazing casting agents this year and I look forward to cultivating a relationship with them. Overall, I am incredibly proud of myself for conquering my fear of traveling outside the US alone. I will admit I may have had a panic attack in the underground of London when I could not figure out which of the many tunnels directs you to the surface. Plus, two suitcases and 34,167,825 stairs can be intimidating hahaha. However, I am very excited to travel more in 2019. I met tons of kind strangers that restored my faith in humanity. I know this will come in handy since you never know what city or country you’ll shoot in as an actor. Now I just need to take some time to meditate and set my intentions for this fantastic new year. What are some intentions you’ve set for this new year? I’d love to hear from you!