Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz, an up and coming, 23-year-old boxer, is making his name in the world of boxing. After growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, the young boxer turned pro in 2016. His amateur record is 100-14 and he has already won many awards for his skill.
During the recent Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight that was shown on pay-per-view, Ortiz was victorious over Sulaiman Segawa of Silver Spring, Maryland. After scoring a technical knockout in the last 10 seconds of the seventh round, Ortiz gained the WBC USNBC Silver lightweight title. This was his first fight outside of New England and he certainly made himself known in the fighting community. After winning this fight, Ortiz jumped from 76th to 44th in the world for the lightweight division. If he keeps winning, Ortiz is predicted to fight for a major world title by late 2021.
360 Magazine sat down with Ortiz to ask him questions about his professional career, personal life and future.
What was your upbringing like? Was there always a focus on athletics?
I started boxing at seven years old, and I was always an athletic kid, playing sports and outside.
I use to get into fights as a kid, I like that its a one on one sport I don’t have to rely on anyone. Over time, I noticed I was winning a lot and kept it going.
Who are your role models, boxing or otherwise?
My role model was my coach Carlos Garcia.
You’re currently the Undefeated World Boxing Youth World lightweight champion. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
I’m actually the former Youth World lightweight champion due to my age since I turned 24 last April, currently, I hold the WBC USNBC Silver lightweight title. The accomplishment is just a stepping stone, I have far more to go and I understand its a process and this is part of the process.
Your nickname is ‘The Technician’ where does this come from?
A technician is a person skilled in an art or craft by dictionary standards and when it comes to boxing, and me being a carpenter, I’m now an active trader. It was a perfect fit since everything I do, including things in my personal life, I’m technical about it. So it’s a name that reflects more than just boxing.
You’ve been boxing competitively for more than a decade. How have you evolved during that time, technique-wise and also personally?
Time is the mother of greatness, practicing repeatedly overtime is only natural; I’m going to get better.
How has your career been impacted by COVID-19 and 2020?
Luckily I was able to get a fight right before the impact of covid came I didn’t get to fight as much as I normally would. I probably would have had about 4 fights in a year but I had two with the last one being a great exposure bout.
Tell us about your interests outside of boxing.
I enjoy nature and I spend most of my time with family. Always working on self-development, a lot of stocks, and trying to find real estate deals.
Do you still have Olympic aspirations? What are your future boxing goals?
Olympics of boxing is an amateur sport but recently I think in 2016, they allowed pros to compete but it is heavily dominated by amateurs. In the next year, I see myself becoming World Champion at the lightweight Division and reaching for that pound for pound list.
What is your go-to move in a fight?
Not sure, probably switching from orthodox to southpaw.
What makes you unique as a boxer?
My ability to switch stances easily and my technique.
360 Magazine has the opportunity to sit down with rising star, Hunter Sansone. Hunter is quickly making a name for himself in Hollywood with the characters he portrays on screen.
This winter, Hunter can be seen starring in Disney+’s highly anticipated sports film “Safety,” which was released to Disney+ on December 11. He also stars on CW’s hit series “Stargirl” as Cameron Mahkent also known as Icicle Jr. and is currently in the process of filming season two. We asked Sansone questions about his career, future and aspirations.
What has been your favorite role in your career so far?
Wow. That’s hard to say. Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. They have all been equally fulfilling. I learned different things from each project. I will say I am really into emotionally complex roles that involve a lot of raw emotional work.
What was your favorite part of working on the movie “Safety” for Disney+?
Being a part of an underdog sports film. I grew up watching these types of films, and they partially influenced my dream of becoming an actor one day. I played sports growing up, so to be able to utilize that childhood experience with my career was fun.
Do you have any exciting roles that are upcoming?
I am currently filming Stargirl Season 2, and that should be coming out sometime in 2021 on The CW. Few other things in the works that I can’t dive into at the moment.
I know you support the Stand Up for Pits Foundation, are there any other charities you would like to work with?
Rebecca Corry and the Stand Up For Pits foundation are incredible. They have done so much with ending discrimination towards pit bull type dogs. I have also recently partnered up with Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Their main focus being rescuing abandoned, abused, and neglected animals off the streets. Both incredible organizations that I plan to have my voice attached to for many years to come.
Since you grew up in Missouri, how did you get involved in acting? Did you have other future plans?
My mom has been a professional singer and vocal coach my whole life. She was my influence that led me down this path. She used to say to me that she thought I would be a good actor, but I didn’t think much of it for a few years. One day, I found myself curious and went to an acting class with her and I was hooked.
What is your favorite scene from “Safety” that you think viewers should be on the lookout for?
A combination of a few different scenes where Ray and I are sneaking Fay around the dorms. Definitely had some good laughs with those.
Do you have an idol you respect in Hollywood? What about them inspires you?
I’ve always respected Leonardo DiCaprio and how he attacks a role. He always gives 150%. He commits physically, mentally, and emotionally to every role. I try to approach every single one of my roles with that same tenacity and work ethic.
Tell us more about your character Daniel Morelli in the new movie.
Daniel is Ray’s roommate, teammate and best friend. He is the first person that Ray confides in about his situation with his little brother. You will see Daniel showing up for Ray in more ways than one throughout the film. He is all about family. Also, Daniel is an Italian kid from Long Island with a thick accent. I’m Italian myself so that was fun to be able to honor my Italian heritage on screen.
Tell us about the filming for Season 2 of Stargirl, can you give our readers an inside scoop?
We are working away on Season 2 as we speak. Having a blast while doing it. I can’t give you much, but what I can say is if you loved Season 1, you will definitely not want to miss Season 2. It should be coming out sometime in 2021 on The CW.
Where do you see your career going in the future, are there any goals you have for movies or TV?
I have big goals. I dream big. I recommend that to anyone with a dream. Don’t commit 50%. Set the biggest dreams for yourself as possible and go after them with every fiber in you. I think I’m going to keep them to myself for now and we can regroup down the road once a few of them have been accomplished.
360 MAGAZINE was lucky enough to sit down with Jarry Lee, a model, actress, musician and influencer from the UK. Lee has over 700,000 followers on Instagram, 30,000 TikTok followers and more than 700,000 Spotify streams.
Authority Magazine named her one of 2020’s “Inspirational Women in Hollywood” while StarCentral Magazine called Lee a “rising star to watch in 2020.” You can click right here to see everywhere she has been featured.
360: How did you find a creative outlet in journalism?
Jarry Lee: I’ve always loved writing (everything from poetry to screenplays), and it was my childhood dream to write professionally. I feel lucky that I was able to do so as a paid, full-time job and that I was able to pitch and take on stories I was personally interested in. Writing is a cathartic process for me.
360: What was the biggest hurdle transitioning from writing for BuzzFeed to being in front of the camera?
Jarry Lee: I didn’t have much prior experience beyond taking some acting classes in the past in school and performing in a playwriting festival in prep school that I wrote for, so I did dozens of test shoots with photographers to practice and learn my best angles and posing. Speaking on camera felt natural, but I had to learn how to pose more naturally.
360: How has your experience in telling stories as a journalist and analyzing stories as the Deputy Books Editor helped you to tell the stories of others as an actress and model?
Jarry Lee: It has definitely helped me with more easily imagining the inner lives and motivations of my characters. Every time I interviewed sources for an in-depth piece, I felt that I gained insight into how other people’s minds worked. When I was writing a feature about Instagram in 2017, for example, I interviewed over 30 individuals and a few businesses, and their stories were really fascinating and completely changed my understanding of how people interact with social media.
360: How has being an influencer and online personality changed through the pandemic?
Jarry Lee: There are almost no in-person events, so in that aspect it’s become less interactive, but there are also more people online since everyone’s bored indoors. I’ve adapted to become a lot more self-sufficient — I rarely work with outside photographers anymore and instead have learned to shoot myself. Earlier this year I bought professional lighting and photography equipment, and recently even purchased a green screen! I’ve really enjoyed honing my video production and editing skills this year. Maybe that’s one small silver lining to the pandemic.
360: What is your favorite platform for creating content and why?
Jarry Lee: I love Instagram for being so curated and aesthetic-focused, but Twitter is my favorite platform for sharing thoughts and seeing others’ (as well as for really silly memes). I originally joined Twitter in 2009, way before I joined Instagram (in 2013).
360: How does your time as a model help you as an actress?
Jarry Lee: I think acting helps more with modeling than vice versa, but becoming more comfortable on-camera as a model has definitely helped me act more naturally, as well. Both require drawing your inner emotions out, onto your facial expressions and how you hold yourself generally.
360: How do you use your platform and large reach to influence ideas and actions of your audience?
Jarry Lee: Three topics I try to bring more awareness to via my platform are: Asian representation in entertainment, bisexual/LGBTQ+ representation and anxiety/mental health. All three are still not spoken about enough, so I think it’s important to share my experiences with my audience. I still frequently receive messages about how I came out as bisexual on the Netflix show “Dating Around,” for example, and it has really resonated with some of my followers when I’ve shared my past experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. I try to show the behind-the-scenes of my entertainment career, in part because there were very few Asian public figures in the entertainment industry when I was growing up. I hope that my non-traditional career path inspires others to take a risk and pursue their passions.
Isabella Laws, the General Manager of Tammy Hembrow’s Saski Collection, shares her insights, experiences, and aspirations related to working in the fashion industry, and particularly with the up-and-coming Saski brand.
How did you first get involved with the fashion industry?
I’ve actually been working in the fashion industry since my first job when I was 14 years old! I worked in retail for 10 years before Tammy hired me to work at Saski Collection. Ever since I was a kid I have been obsessed with fashion and knew it was where I was going to end up career-wise.
What makes the Saski brand unique as compared to other athleisure clothing brands?
Something that’s different about Saski Collection is that all of our collections are limited edition capsules. Whenever we launch a collection it’s only available for a limited period of time and then we move on to the next – Tammy’s constantly designing new pieces for Saski and we launch new collections almost every month.
It’s incredible that the exclusive Saski Collection sold out within 12 hours and it was only launched around 3 years ago. Which factors led to this success?
When Saski launched back in 2017 we did sell out almost immediately! I think the reason for our initial success was Tammy saw a gap in the market and designed pieces she loved that she couldn’t find anywhere else. She was wearing everything for months before the launch and the demand really built up.
What are some of the most pressing issues within the fashion industry, and how do you work to improve them through Saski?
Sustainability is a huge issue facing the fashion industry and is something that we’ve put a huge focus on at Saski Collection. One of the biggest issues is “fast fashion” – clothes that are made cheaply and in bulk to meet consumer demands. Saski prides itself on offering limited-edition capsule collections that are made ethically with our hand-picked ethical manufacturing partners. All our collections are made in limited quantities to ensure there is no wasted product. As well as this, all of Saski Collections’ packaging and post bags are biodegradable. Of course, there is always room for more and we hope to continue to work on improving our environmental footprint as we grow.
What have been some of the key challenges that come with management?
At Saski Collection we have a really close team. We’re all very collaborative and open with one another which makes for a very comfortable environment for everyone. However, a lot of the team are very close friends (including Tammy and I specifically) – and a challenge I’ve had to work through since becoming General Manager is making sure I can differentiate between work and friendship. In saying this, this is something that my team has been very good at, and we are all very transparent with each other which has resulted in us only growing stronger.
Who has/have been the most supportive person/people in your life that has/have allowed you to reach your achievements?
My dad (Brett), my partner (Morgan), and Tammy. My dad was a single parent, he brought me up all alone, drove me to and from school every day, put me through university, and has just overall been the driving force behind my entire life. I’m so lucky to have him.
I’ve been with my partner Morgan for almost 10 years and he has definitely been one of my biggest supporters since the day we met.
And, of course, Tammy, who hired me back in 2017 when I was fresh out of university with no experience. Her guidance and support have been hugely important to me and I never would be in this role now without her believing in me.
What is your favorite or most rewarding part about helping to run an athleisure brand?
Seeing something go from an idea in Tammy’s mind and watching it come to life. My favorite part of my job role is design meetings with Tammy. We have such a similar taste and it’s so exciting to see what she comes up with and then working through the process of fabrics, colors, and sampling to get the final product.
How have the donations from your proceeds sparked real social change in women and children around the world?
We’re so excited to now be working with i=change, which means that $1.00 from every sale on saskicollection.com will go to a life-changing product. Customers can choose from three sustainable charities to donate to when checking out. This gives us a chance to give back to those who need it most.
The three charities we have partnered with are:
UN WOMEN, to end violence against women
National Breast Cancer Foundation, to prevent women from dying
My Room’s Children Centre, support children, and their families
We’re so passionate about these projects and are excited to be able to give our customers the chance to choose where our donation goes when shopping with us.
How do you and your team plan on expanding the Saski brand, and if so, to which kinds of customers?
Tammy has huge plans for Saski Collection and how she wants to expand upon our existing collections and customer base. I don’t want to give too much away at the moment, but we’ve already moved from athleisure to our first swim range in late 2019, as well as our most recent ‘mini’ and ‘unisex’ collection which sold out in less than 2 minutes. There is definitely lots of room for us to continue on expanding Saski and we’re looking forward to showing more of that in the coming months.
“The Chadwick Journals” is a 3-season series featured on Amazon Prime that deals with psychological and sexual journeys of men of color while they lead double lives and explore their identities. Deondray Gossett, a Los Angeles native, has been writing and producing this series since 2011. Married to Deondray, Quincy Le Near is also a producer and director of this series. Below, both masterminds share their experiences and insights related to creating the series:
1. How did your past directing experiences prepare you for directing “The Chadwick Journals?”
Our whole franchise The DL Chronicles and The Chadwick Journals has always been produced the same: no money, guerilla-style, last-minute shooting. Chadwick Journals was just business as usual for us: no money and last-minute. We greenlit it 1 week before shooting and was still casting the project all the way up until 17 hours before call time on the first day.
If I think about it, from the scope of my earliest experiences, this is literally how I began as a child. I created short films as a child, casting my younger cousins and friends in roles, and shooting in and about our homes. It’s pretty comical to recognize that directing the Chadwick Journals is basically the same process, albeit with real SAG actors and much more expensive equipment but with the same Indie spirit and approach.
2. What have been some of the biggest challenges with directing this series?
Money… (laughs). With our limited budget, we often don’t have a lot of money to finesse our scenes. We get a max of three takes from each very limited angle on our very short shot list. It’s very intense and fast-paced. We shoot 10 pages a day on average, so casting is crucial; we have to get actors who are well-trained, come to set extremely prepared, and can nail the material in the limited amount of takes we give them. The cast and crew are completely exhausted after our typical 12-hour workdays and 5 consecutive days of shooting, so as I directed, I have to find creative ways to help them keep up with the pace. We keep a very Zen and fun atmosphere so that the exhaustion never compromises their performances, but instead enhances them.
In the beginning, season I, it was basically a two-man operation; cinematography, lighting, wardrobe, sound, direction, editing, etc. Not having money means you have to juggle all of the plates and it’s much more difficult to give 100% focus on perfecting one aspect of production. Luckily, we both have very versatile skill sets and experiences so we can perform those roles, but a director should only have one important job to focus on. A cinematographer has one job to focus on. A sound engineer, gaff, grip, etc. all only have to do their jobs when there is a full paid crew and you create a better-quality project because of it.
Trying to do it all yourself, out of necessity, leaves a lot to be desired in the end. We managed to spend a little more and afford more crew each season, but it’s been an uphill battle. Luckily the fans are captivated by the great story and the strong performances but the perfectionist in me wishes we could remake the first season the way it deserves to be seen. Who knows? Maybe if we strike a deal to bring this show to cable or streaming networks like Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, we can remake and expand upon them. That would be amazing.
3. What have been some of the most rewarding experiences of working with the actors?
Watching them have breakthroughs as artists. Particularly from the latest season of The Chadwick Journals, Damian Toofeek Raven, Jemar Michael, and Skyh Black all had breakthroughs right before my eyes on set. There was no time for a pre-table read, so a lot of my direction was on-the-fly. I was amazed at how quickly they adjusted to the slightest nudge from me. They would go from zero to a hundred with emotion with just a simple, “Dig deeper.” It was at these moments, even in the midst of all the exhaustion and all of the fires that were burning that I thought to myself, “I made some damn good casting choices.” They made my job so much easier, and Damian’s breakthrough garnered him a 2020 Daytime Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Principal Performance in a Daytime Program” for his leading role in this season of The Chadwick Journals.
Damian Toofeek Raven who plays Chadwick has been with us for 15 years since the DL Chronicles series was created in 2005. He is our brother and working with him is like playtime for us. He’s always very concerned about connecting to the backstory and inner world of Chadwick. He cares about how Chadwick is portrayed as much as we do. Just to be able to create with someone we’ve grown to love is a plus and with someone who cares for your creation the same or even more than you do is priceless.
4. How have the LGBTQ+ and African-American communities responded tothe series?
Honestly, though we’re critically acclaimed in the larger LGBTQ+ community, we’re really only known by the film connoisseurs and the gay Hollywood Elite. To the average white viewing audience, we still remain largely unknown even after 15 years of making this show. Conversely, gay and lesbian African-American, LatinX, Asian, and other people of color hang our posters on the wall. Two very different worlds that still remain separated by cultural and racial lines. We also surprisingly have a large straight African-American female audience who watches the show. They are some of our most vocal viewers who astonishingly aren’t always harping on the DL phenomenon, but actually are engaged in the characters and the plots. To have them as part of our fanbase is SUPER flattering for us.
I second that.
5. What kind of audience(s) would you advise or want to watch the series, and why?
Though we obviously are a series that’s trying to give a voice to the gay black community, we feel like our stories are universal. I think most people can identify with identity and self-love issues, which is ultimately the theme of both of our shows. Love is the undercurrent of every single episode, and I feel like you possess any amount of empathy, you will resonate with the characters whether you’re straight, gay, black, or white.
Anyone who has ever felt like they had to pretend to be someone they weren’t to be accepted. Anyone who has felt forced to make decisions that were not in their best interest or desires out of fear. Anyone who has felt they would be unloved for being their authentic selves or voicing their dissent. That’s who these stories are about. Regardless of gender, race, or sexuality, we hope that anyone watching who might share those experiences can identify with these characters.
6. How has the series evolved over the 3 seasons and why are the seasons spread out in the way they are over the past decade?
The Chadwick Journals literally began as a fundraiser for the, then upcoming, re-launch of the The DL Chronicles back in 2011. It was meant to be a hybrid prequel/sequel that was going to energize the fanbase and raise funds. Fans always wanted to know who Chadwick Williams (the narrator of the The DL Chronicles) was and how he was tied to the characters, so this spinoff web series idea done much like HBO’s In Treatment seemed like a perfect vehicle. The first season, “Donovan” (co-starring Nic Few) took the festival circuit by storm and added more than 10,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel in just a month. We knew we had something, and we knew we needed to make more episodes, but just didn’t have the funding. We still self-finance the series to this day. Our second season, “Niquarterli” (co-starring Thomas Hobson) didn’t happen until 2016, and the current season, “Oren” (co-starring Jemar Michael) in 2019. The gaps are simply due to financing. We’re making moves now to up our content volume so that our &SEEN Network streaming platforms can provide more programming to our viewers, which will create a stable and consistent subscriber population.
7. What does it feel like to be nominated for an Emmy and how will you use this accomplishment to move forward with your careers?
This honestly feels like a dream. We’ve been creating this content for the past 15 years. We’ve gone from being independent, to being on the air, then back to independent again. We’ve sat on the front seats at award shows and won, and then years later not even able to get into the afterparty. Hollywood can be very mean and two-faced. We kept our chins up and continued to believe in the work we were doing thanks to our very loyal and loving fanbase. This current season of The Chadwick Journals almost died after having been passed around to several would-be investors who ultimately weren’t interested. Something told me not to let this die, so I took out a personal business loan and once again financed it ourselves. Looks like it was the best decision I could have ever made.
I’m honored and still pretty flabbergasted. We’ve had a good campfire once before and when that died down there was no more heat. We managed to keep the ember smoldering, waiting for that gust of wind that will ignite it again. This industry is all about the heat, whose bringing it, whose flame is brighter, whose sending up the visible smoke signals this week. Who can I make s’mores with? LOL. One minute you’re hot, the next minute you’re not, so you have to be ready to jump on the opportunity when the opportunity comes back around. This nomination feels like that gust of wind. If we win, it will open the doors again to “be in the room where happens.”
So, I feel just like Alexander Hamilton, “I’m not gonna miss my shot.”
8. What is the overall message that you both want to convey through the series?
It sounds cliché now, but the message simply is, it gets better. DL and closeted men are often seeking approval from the folks that ultimately don’t matter. Everybody you want to love you, won’t, but you can find your own tribe. Stop seeking out the things and people that can’t see your beauty. Pay attention to the ones that can.
To find a way to heal yourself and be authentic. I want people to feel free and unafraid. I want people to know that they may only have this one life to live and to not waste it on conformity. Live in your truth and not in a lie that someone else, society, culture, or religion, coercers you to accept. There is joy to be had if you let it lead you.
9. How has the past decade’s pop culture and history informed the series’s direction over the course of the 3 seasons?
Pop culture has had very little impact on the show really, as we are still dealing with an age-old and unfortunately timeless issue. This question has been posed to us before: “How does The DL Chronicles and The Chadwick Journals fit in with the current state and condition of LGBTQ+ people? Is it still relevant? Is it dated?” And my answer to those questions is always yes, it still has a place, yes, it’s still relevant, and no, it’s not dated. While the larger white LGBTQ+ community is becoming more and more emancipated, the subsets (LGBTQ+ African Americans and people of color) have largely been stagnant. I’m not talking about life for the Black Gay Elite (myself included), which is drastically different in terms of acceptance and access than it was 10 years ago; I’m talking about the average gay, lesbian, trans-Black and LatinX folks who still live in the hoods and barrios of America. It’s still unsafe for them to walk the streets in their truth and to be out and open in their churches. This series is speaking to and for them.
I’m not sure that Pop Culture itself has had a direct influence, but I can say that some modern social issues have had an influence, specifically with episode Oren which deals with an HIV serodiscordantrelationship and the use of PrEP for prevention. Even season 2 Niiquartelai touched on sex-positive sex work and polyamorous relationships which were once pretty taboo subject matters. Those weren’t topics of conversation that were openly discussed 10 years ago or even existed. If I think about season II it did include a sex tape that was found on a smartphone. Does that count as Pop Culture since everyone seems to have them?
10. Are you both planning on directing more seasons, and in any case, how do you both want “The Chadwick Journals” legacy to live on?
TV and Film directing is our passion, so yes, we will definitely continue to direct on the shows; however, we don’t have to do all of them. It has always been our plan to nurture new talent to be able to pass the torch and allow them to add their creative spin on our shows and possibly help them to produce their own original ideas.
We hope that the Emmy® nomination will help get the much-needed eyes on the show to enable us to not only continue to make this two needle-moving and groundbreaking series to be there as moral support for the community, but to also be able to create new original content that graduates our community from a place of self-acceptance to a place of full unapologetic existence and expression.
QUINCY: We have created a franchise andthis character, and these stories can live in so many ways; TV, film, podcasts, novels, interactive books, chapter books, graphic novels, web shorts, etc. So, the sky’s the limit and I look forward to exploring it.
1. What was the biggest inspiration that got you to where you are now in the music industry?
Growing up, I always loved “putting on a show” or performing. I would watch videos of Britney Spears and *NSYNC and dream to be on stage one day. My mom has always been and will always be my inspiration and number one supporter because she’s always supported me while following my dreams and has never given up on me!
2. Which song of yours are you most proud of, and why?
I would say my new song “Hola” because it is the first song that I released through Pitbull’s label Mr. 305. Signing to him and his label was such an amazing moment in my life and I can’t wait for the world to hear the rest of the music I have in store!
3. How did you first get involved with acting, and how has it contributed to your overall skills and experience in the entertainment industry?
I have actually been acting since I was about 8 years old. As I said before, I have always loved putting on a show and being in front of the camera. I think being a good actor really helps portray my emotions/feelings through my dancing and music. I really feel they all go hand and hand.
4. What has been one of the most memorable experiences working with another artist, and why?
JLO JLO JLO! Anyone that knows me/follows me knows how obsessed I am with her and to be able to have had the opportunity to meet and film a video with her was truly a dream come true! Throughout the years, we have always had a lot of similarities and I would love to one day do a song with her or be in a movie with her. Fingers crossed!
5. What kinds of messages do you intend to communicate to your different audiences and fans?
I hope to always promote positivity and inspire anyone who ever watches my content or listens to my music. I am so grateful to have such amazing supporters from all around the world and I want them to always know that I am here for them for whatever they are going through and that they are not alone.
6. How have you been able to juggle dancing, acting, singing, songwriting, and much more?
It definitely isn’t easy, but when you truly love what you do, you make it work! I am almost obsessed with what I do and love it so much that I never want to stop! I also think life is about balance and I try to balance everything so that I don’t overwhelm myself.
7. In what ways do you feel empowered, and how can you spread this sense of empowerment to others?
I feel most empowered when I make someone else happy or feel good. Helping others has always been a huge passion of mine so when I see other people feeling empowered, it empowers me!
8. After getting into the modeling world very early in your life, how did this help you progress your later pursuits?
Starting to model at an early age really taught me a lot about what hard work and discipline meant. I think it also got me to be even more comfortable with myself and truly love who I was !
9. If you were to give your younger self some advice about “making it” in the realm of entertainment, what would it be?
I know this might sound “cliche,” but it would be to never give up and never let other people bring you down. I was extremely sensitive growing up (I still am) but I would always worry about what other people thought of me. Now with social media, I know it’s really hard to not let what other people say affect you, but if you believe in and don’t give up on yourself, I promise you that your dreams will come true!
10. What’s the next major goal you hope to achieve as an artist?
My all-time dream goal is to go on tour and meet/perform for all of my amazing fans around the world. I also hope to continue putting out music and keep inspiring!
1. How did you first get into the entertainment/performance industry? My journey into entertainment started off in the world of Hip Hop. I and one of my closest friends, Lex One, formed a group after high school and got the opportunity to open up for a lot of amazing hip hop artists that we looked up to while growing up. I loved being on stage performing. It’s something that’s never left me, so when I stopped doing music in 2017, I found other ways to keep my creative juices flowing. I was given the opportunity to do a TEDx Talk, then months later something I shot went viral and the combination of the two got me back on stages speaking around the country. I think even if I made it to 90 years old, I would still find ways to entertain people in my nursing home.
2. What does it take to be a successful serial entrepreneur and how have you developed this/these skill(s)?
My story was a little bit different than others in the sense that my arrests in 2006 prevented me at that time from getting another 9-5 for a while, so I was in a sense thrown to the wolves and had no choice although I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit in me long before that time. It takes a ton of discipline. Remember when you decide to become an entrepreneur, you no longer have anyone telling you what to do, what time to be somewhere, or holding you accountable. You have to be that person for yourself. Not everybody has the ability to do that. There are some people in this world that cannot function unless there’s someone micromanaging them. You have to get out of that mindset extremely quickly and get into the independent mindset ASAP! I’ve known from the first time I ever took a business class with my teacher Mr. Evans my senior year that I wanted to become an entrepreneur so I spent a lot of time researching other entrepreneurs to check out the kinda moves they were making. Once you go out on your own and leave the 9-5 world behind you adapt very quickly and start learning the do’s and don’ts. You’re going to fail very often but it’s within those failures where you learn, grow, and adjust to it.
3. Have you always been passionate about comedy, and what makes sketches special in comparison to other visual content?
I’ve always had a funny bone. When I was younger my dad would whip out his video camera and we would shoot skits when I would visit him in New York. It was similar to what you would see on Saturday night live back in the days, but the bootleg version. When I got older, I started making more music. It was rare for a while that you would see me shoot skits. It wasn’t until I decided to step away from music that I felt that shooting comedic content was a natural step for me. I feel like anything that has a comedic element to it is going to draw people’s attention a lot more than If comedy wasn’t added to it. I’m no comedian but I love to make people laugh. There’s something about being able to make people laugh that gets them listening. Those are the kind of videos that people love to share because it spreads positivity around social media.
4. What is/are one/two catalyst(s) that tie all of your different projects, companies, and entertainment ventures together?
If you’re talking in a broad sense, I think I would say it’s the fact that I want to do it all. I’ve never wanted to be known for one thing, so I’m constantly adding new roles to my arsenal of skills. When It’s all said and done, I don’t just want to be known for music, I don’t just want to be known for skits, I don’t just want to be known for my Tedx talk and speaking. I want to be known for everything. I want to be considered a mogul, so it motivates me to keep doing more projects, start new ventures, and get more involved in entertainment. Everything I do now is under my brand’s umbrella of Sikey, which originally started off as a clothing line and evolved into the brand that encapsulates everything.
5. How and why did you decide to transition your career from focusing on performing to focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation?
Entrepreneurship was something that was consistent with me even while I was doing music. Me and my good friend/business partner at the time, Lex One, and I started an independent label called GTPS, as well as a hip hop blog. We also ended up starting GTPS printing and opened a studio in a huge warehouse. I was actually still making music at the time this was all happening so it was a balancing act between the two. My biggest transition was when I decided to quit music late 2016, early 2017 and start shooting skits, pranks, and social experiments. The main reason I moved away from music was because I just felt like I’ve done all I could do in that world. Sometimes they say giving up isn’t always a bad thing. Knowing when you’re defeated is also a victory in itself and allows you to pivot. I adjusted and adapted extremely quickly and thank God it paid off.
6. What was your experience like with serving as a TED speaker and what made you choose the specific topic of “surviving without a job through failure?”
It was actually one of the most incredible experiences of my life and has sparked so many opportunities ever since. After I was chosen out of 62 people, we spent 6 to 7 weeks rehearsing once a week. It was great to be around other speakers that helped me trim and finesses my talk a bit in order to get it right. I remember my first rehearsal, I think I spoke for well over 20 minutes when it was only supposed to be 12. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous each time even on game day, but I had a blast. On top of that, I had to pull a double duty because they asked me to do a spoken word piece to open up the entire event. I was grateful to be given double the opportunity. When I was thinking about what my topic was going to be, I thought back on all my life experiences I could possibly share with an audience and chose the one I think relates to most people these days. We’re living in this new world where social media is king and you don’t necessarily need a 9 to 5 as much anymore to survive, so I figure I would share my experience on my decade long journey without a job.
7. Which topics have you chosen to discuss at conferences around the country, and why?
What was funny about this is that outside of my Tedx Talk, the first time I was asked to speak was in the Hampton’s in New York, to which I’ve never been. My boy, who asked me If I wanted to speak, also asked me what I would talk about. Most of the people that were going to be in the audience were young adults mostly in their 20’s, and I remembered that a few of my past videos had gone viral, so it popped into my head. Why not speak about “how to go viral’ and teach them some strategies to increase your video views and get more engagement. So I ended up putting together a 30-45 minute talk on how to go viral. The funny part about it is after I actually went viral I never in my life thought I would ever be speaking about how to go viral.
8. How have you positively influenced your fans on social media outlets like Instagram?
First of all, I hate the term influencer because most influencers aren’t influencing anyone the right way or at all. I made a conscious decision to do my best to incorporate positivity in most of the things I do to help and motivate people. When my time is up on this earth I want to be remembered for trying my best to change people’s lives for the better. I spent a lot of time on Instagram answering questions people have in my DM’s and giving young people guidance in their own lives, so I make myself extremely accessible so they can reach out.
9. What have been some of the best parts of working with multiple different radio platforms?
This last year especially has been crazy. I’ve been given the opportunity to be on a plethora of radio stations and tons of podcasts. The best part is being able to use your voice to spread positivity and make people laugh just like I do on my social media platforms. Every single time I have the chance to be on the radio, I make sure I gear it towards inspiring and motivating others.
10. How and where do you plan to direct your career or influence in the near future? My main goal at the moment is to work on shooting the show I created, “America’s Gone Viral.” We were in the beginning stages of getting everything in order and then BOOM, the pandemic hit. So the concept is basically a viral competition show for up and coming comedic content creators with not so many followers. The show would also cater to content creators that want to make a career out of it and love shooting content. We’re going to select 3 or so content creator teams such as a brother and sister team, boyfriend girlfriend team, etc. We’re going to issue them viral challenges such as skits, pranks, or social experiments and allow them to shoot and edit the content themselves while showing the behind the scenes on how viral content is made. After they shoot their viral challenge, they’re going to present it to our 3 influencer judges. With everyone shooting content right now, this is the perfect time for a show like “America’s Gone Viral.” I can’t wait! Although I plan on shooting this show I’m thinking even beyond it. I want to use this show as more of a launching pad and move onto other things in entertainment. Like I said before, I’m in mogul mode and I want to do it all!
1. How does the influence of your parents’ careers shape your own visions and aspirations?
The making of my own new path and my parents have always been great examples of how to go about things in the industry. They are also both great examples when it’s come to molding myself and presenting myself a certain way. I definitely take after them a lot but I also enjoy it each and every day.
2. What has been the biggest challenge in your artistic career so far?
I would say my biggest challenge so far has been coming out of a group and going through the process of transitioning myself into a solo artist.
3. How did growing up in Atlanta with its huge T.V. and music scene impact where you are today?
I always feel like everything comes from Atlanta. We always set the trend for the culture and just growing up seeing so many legends come out of Atlanta was an inspiration to be a part of.
4. What were some of the major takeaways or skills you learned from working with Producer, J Reid?
I love working with J Reid! He’s always so welcoming and makes me comfortable working with him and expressing myself. As a result, he’s taught me a lot about how to collaborate with someone else and overall helped groom me into the artist I am today.
5. What is your favorite song you’ve worked on and what message does it send to the public?
My favorite song I’ve worked on would have to be the FTCU song I put out because it was just so fun to make! The message is honestly to just enjoy life and when your man is stressing you out, go out and live your best life.
6. Describe some of the struggles as well as the positive experiences that come with starring on “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle?”
The biggest struggle I would say is being under your parents’ shadow and everybody associating me as T.I. and Tiny’s daughter. However, it’s great to have memories with my family, and bringing light to my craft is always a plus.
7. As a new artist, who would you want to work with (male or female) and why?
I would like to work with so many artists, Rihanna Jhene Aiko, SZA, 6lack, and Eric Bellinger because I admire their work. They’re all so extremely creative.
8. What kind of content and which kind of audience do you see yourself approaching in the next 5 years?
I’m mostly an R&N artist, so in about 5 years I would like to start approaching the pop world.
9. Now that you have released your double single, what are the next steps to promoting your songs?
When corona is all over, I’m going to shoot my videos for both songs. Hopefully, I can do both and I don’t think I’ll be able to do shows so I may just have to wait till next year to do that. On the bright side, I’ll definitely find creative ways to still go out and promote my music.