How I Risked It All And Moved To Atlanta 3 Times To Jump Start My Career As An Actress

Stepping out on faith changed my life. I’ve done so many things I am proud of, even things I am scared of with the little that I was given...

Inspiration

Whenever I share my story I always tell people that taking a leap of faith is not easy, but it's worth it.

I started my journey when I was about 20-years-old. Growing up I always knew in my heart that I wanted to be a star and to be in the entertainment industry. I've always been passionate about modeling and acting, and I was willing to take whatever risks necessary to make my dream happen.


Right before I turned 21, I left my hometown of Milwaukee, WI for the first time and went to Atlanta to attend a two-day acting workshop taught by celebrity actress Tasha Smith. I had the opportunity to speak with her after writing her on Twitter back in August 2012, and she told me that Atlanta was one of the best places for me to be at that time due to it being one of the top filmmaking cities in the country. So instead of returning home, I decided to stay with my cousin and her boyfriend. I didn't know anything about the city, nor did I know anyone who lived there. I didn't have a car and I was unfamiliar with the public transportation system, but I continued to be brave and walked into the unfamiliar. However, I couldn't get a job and was running out of money, and after a month or two of living with my cousin and her intimidating boyfriend, I left and went back to Milwaukee to come up with a different plan to get back to Atlanta in hopes of furthering my career.

After about a year, I saved up some money and made my second attempt at relocating. I worked two, sometimes three, retail jobs in the mall, and I saved my tax return, so before the year was up I left again! Again my money ran low and I couldn't find a decent paying job, and I was tired of living with people and not having my own, so once again I headed back to my hometown, only this time I had no idea how I was going to attempt this again.

Feeling hurt, defeated, and embarrassed I found myself back in the city I hated and desperately wanted to get out of. Milwaukee isn't the kind of place you're proud to say you're from. I've always wanted to get out. I almost had a baby when I was 19, but miscarried three months in. I knew that if I didn't get out I'd either be dead or become a baby mama, which just wasn't in the cards for me.

I remember the day before I miscarried I was working at Red Lobster at the time, and when I went home America's Next Top Model was on. I look up to Tyra Banks so much--she has always been a role model for me. I wanted to be on that show so bad I could taste it. I even tried out a few times. On this day I was watching the show and sitting in bed and tears just started falling down my face, and I prayed and said, “God this is not the life I imagined. I can not handle a baby right now. I really want to live my dreams." The very next day I went in to work and after a few hours into my shift I started feeling sick and was having stomach pains so they let me leave work early. I got home and told my mom I had been spotting, so she drove me to the hospital. They did an ultra sound and I had tests done, but they could not find my baby's heartbeat. About six hours or so later, two doctors walked in to tell my mom and I that the baby didn't make it. That was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with and I went through it without the father of my child, but that was a defining moment for me. I knew that the prayer I said the day before reached Him. It took me about a year to fully come to terms with the loss, but as I grew older I realized God gave me a second chance. He heard my prayer and at that moment I became a woman with a much higher purpose; I wouldn't make that same mistake again.

After returning home for the second time I was mentally drained, but I had a friend who I met on my first attempt to Atlanta at an audition for MTV's My super sweet 21 with LA' Reid's son, Aaron Reid, who was casting models to work his party. She, too, was an aspiring model and actress looking to find her way, and she reminded me so much of myself. From that moment on we became friends. She was the first friend I had made in Atlanta and was a source of encouragement even after I moved back home. She would call me and pray with me over the phone, and one day she told me four words that I will never forget.

“STEP OUT ON FAITH."

With Emmy award-winning casting director Robi Reed

With that in mind I made a third attempt at relocating, and I told myself if it doesn't work this time then it's just not meant to be. I jumped on the Greyhound and took the ride was 22 hour ride back to Atlanta, and the whole way I kept telling myself, “God I trust you." I had a few hundred bucks, no place to stay and no job. How the heck was I going to pull this off?

Once I got to Atlanta, my friend and her mom picked me up from the bus station and we headed to Lenox Mall. I had about 100 resumes printed and ready to go, and by the grace of God I was offered a job that day. After getting settled, months later I signed up with a casting agency who would send me small roles and auditions and some background work since I had never acted before. Over the last four years I have been taking classes, auditing workshops, and trying to stay involved in the industry. My first role I booked was with Vampire Diaries, where I played a waitress in a diner scene. I didn't have any lines, but I was excited about it!

On the set of "Sleepless Night" with Jamie Foxx

Shortly after I was booked for a few episodes of Tyler Perry's The Have and The Have Nots, as well as the film SELMA. I had the pleasure of working with director and producer Ava Duvernay every day for a month. She was so friendly. and although I didn't have a huge role, she made everyone feel equally important to the film and our history.

This past summer I was also blessed to work Jamie Foxx, who was so humble and funny.

I never thought that just from having a mustard seed of faith it would bring me to work with all these amazing directors and actors that I grew up watching my entire life.

Despite all the adversity I faced losing my baby at three months, being evicted from my home due to hard times between auditioning, and having to work jobs that just weren't paying enough to make it on my own, I AM STILL STANDING.

Stepping out on faith changed my life. I've done so many things I am proud of, even things I am scared of with the little that I was given due to those four strong powerful words.

[Tweet "Don't be afraid to trust God with your little, because he can turn your little into a lot!"]

I hope that this will encourage and inspire others to go chase their dreams. You will never save the money you'd like, and it will never be the perfect time, you just have to go for it. It's by far the best thing I have ever done in my life, so start where you are!

Have you ever took a step of faith that paid off? Share below!

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