By Andrea Nicole
As a teen mom in the early 90’s, I was judged and presumed to be a lost cause all because I had a child. The adults around me believed my future was bleak; I must say my image of self-worth was quite distorted and tainted by their views.
Still, I had dreams and aspirations to do great things in life.
As a high school senior, I found myself answering model calls and being solicited from major companies to begin a career as a print model.
However, just as my mother did not support my thoughts of attending college she was also unwilling to support my pursuit of a modeling career. It was her belief that I did not “have what it takes” to become a model. With low self-esteem it seemed like I was headed for a dead-end job just as my high school counselor had sternly stated to me; she suggested that I seek a factory job to support my baby, rather than to attend college or pursue my dreams of being in entertainment.
These dreams would later materialize after I had moved out on my own and found great success as a professional hairstylist.
Although my life was stable I still felt unfulfilled and often struggled with depression when one day a good friend of mine asked me to assist him in building his photography portfolio as his model. I agreed:
Suddenly things seemed to be happening practically overnight from this point. My dear friend posted my picture on his website where I would be noticed by “SHOW MAGAZINE” representative. I was asked participate in an upcoming modeling competition and I won.
Although I decided not to participate in a photo shoot with this company at that time, I did meet the man that would later become my manager.
I trusted him and he urged me to pursue a modeling and acting career. I thought I had finally had the support I had so deeply desired my whole life.
I was experiencing success as both an actress and a model. I was happy with the direction my career appeared to be headed when I got the phone call from my manager informing me that I was requested to attend an upcoming casting call for the TV Series “FLAVOR OF LOVE.”
At first I was excited and blinded by the incentives that I had been promised based solely upon how many episodes that I would appear. I was ordered to go home and study the first season and learn how I could stay on the show. I did. I watched the season with my daughter who was only13-years-old at the time.
After watching the entire first season with me I turned to her and asked if she would be embarrassed if I participated in the taping; she answered, “YES.” I decided at that moment that I would not participate in the taping of the show. I was shocked to see how infuriated my manager had become with my decision. I then realized that my team did not have my best interest at hand. I realized that I was nothing more than another young face and a paycheck.
The COME UP
At that point I decided to create my own path of success. I decided to pursue my talents as a writer and director rather than to sit back and wait for Hollywood to come to me with the same type-cast, no substance characters. And I put skin in the game; I earned a B.A. from Columbia College to learn the trade while at the time I owned a hair salon and was a single mom raising two girls.
I went on to write, direct and produce as an independent artist.
My work as Writer/Director of Walt Whitman’s “Soul Stories” premiered the following year in Los Angeles.
I am currently proud and thankful that I did not allow my past hurt and struggle to keep me from pursuing my dreams and goals. I am happy to say I am currently writing and producing several more of my own independent projects including the upcoming short film “MANIC” which will premiere early 2016 along with another “POETIC JUSTICE” to premiere during the latter part of the year.
The point is, nearly everyone who was supposed to support me, told me that my dream would not become reality because I had a child at a young age.
I didn’t listen to them, and neither should you. Never allow naysayers to block your vision, no matter your circumstances. Dream big, and do the work to get it.
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