Recently, Susan Kelechi Watson sat down with OprahMag.com to give us a deeper look into her journey as an actress and as a faithful dream chaser on the pursuit of her purpose. Many of us adore her role as Beth on the hit show This Is Us, but she's also been a familiar face from playing roles in popular shows like Law & Order and NCIS. However, what some may not know is that Susan's origin story is no walk in the park.
Born in Brooklyn to Jamaican immigrants, Susan would later earn degrees from Howard University and NYU, studying fine arts. She also studied Shakespeare at Oxford University on a scholarship funded by Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington, an opportunity one would think would put her on the elevator of success. But with all her knowledge and accolades, she still faced the reality of being a struggling artist, working her desk job during the day in order to manifest her desired reality during her scarce free time like many of us:
"I worked at the front desk at a gym. And here's the thing about when you're a struggling artist: You're not eating, you're not buying fresh clothes, your hair's not on point, so I was probably the worst person to welcome people into a gym when I just wanted to crawl under my desk."
Her hard work paid off when she was cast in the comedy series Louie. However, this victory was not as fulfilling as she had expected it to be. Her next big opportunity would come in the form of an audition for This Is Us, which was totally on a whim; a surprise, if you will. It was one that she didn't attach an outcome to, as she was more focused on the role that she thought was bigger and better. To her surprise, the project she auditioned for that wasn't the highest on her priority list ended up being her big break:
"What a life lesson that was: Go where the love is. Because at the time I was so focused on the one door closing that I wasn't even looking for the one opening. Finally, the universe had to be like, 'Hello, this door is wide open!' Clearly, in the end, I'm where I'm supposed to be."
Susan never gave up or gave in, and now she is able to provide diversity and representation to the screens of many just as Phylicia Rashad has done in her role as Claire Huxtable. She does not take her role in This Is Us lightly and takes every chance she gets to display layers and multidimensions of Black women, starting with her style:
"I went natural myself in 2012, and I had my own hair journey. So I know that for Beth to be authentic, her hair is always going to be changing because as Black women, hair is such a big part of our lifestyle. That's also why I make sure each style looks like something she could have done herself as a working mom and wife."
"Beth is [an] every woman. She's extraordinary in her own right, yet everybody can see themselves in her, because she's just a mom in New Jersey. But she's also proud of being Black, and proud of rocking her natural hair."
When it comes to putting your power into your purpose, Susan suggests you hone in on your naturally given talents and recognize that though they may seem familiar to you, they are gifts to be shared with the world:
"Everyone has a gift—like yours is writing, someone else's might be care taking; mine, I've known from a young age, is acting. But gifts are meant to be given away. If you never have the opportunity to give it away, it saddens you; you don't feel whole. So the fact that I'm able to share my gift on such a large platform is the bee's knees. It's everything."
Susan Kelechi Watson's journey is a true testament to the power of persistence, alignment, and positive energy. When it comes to dream chasing, no one said it would be easy or quick and, it takes a lot of hard work.
But, if you trust yourself and the process while going through the motions it takes to get to your desired destination, know that your time is coming too, Queen! It won't be as long as it's been.
To read the rest of Susan's interview with OprahMag.com, click here.
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