Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
My name is Aleia Kristene Asbey, but I go by simply Aleia Kristene. I’m a 27 year old screenwriter-director, author & actress from Jacksonville, FL. I’m a proud Florida A&M graduate and Rep my HBCU to the death of me.
I would describe myself as a Voice for the Silenced. It’s my mission to tell stories of those who like me whether it be drama or comedy.
Prior to moving here to Los Angeles in 2019, I lived in Atlanta for 2 years. While in Atlanta I worked on countless films as both a PA & director’s assistant. That includes ‘Star’, ‘The Hate U Give’, ‘Black Lightning’, and many more.
In 2020 I signed to a literary manager at Bellevue for screenwriting. During that year I also released my first memoir “Loss & Found”. In the book I take you on my personal journey of how the worse things that happened to me ultimately led me to discovering my purpose.
Recently, I was 1 of 30 people named a Top Emerging Writer to Lookout For.
I’m excited for all the great things I have coming up!
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I’m one of the most resilient MF’s you will ever meet! And I say that humbly. I am simply built different. I saw a meme the other day that said “I may panic and cry first, but I figure it out.” LOL! That’s me. In private I’m emotional, I scream, I get frustrated. But I don’t give up! I think about all that God has brought me through and remember that I’m closer to my YES than I think. I truly believe that I’m favored. And not in arrogant way. I just know that he gave me a huge assignment that will change the lives of so many & I won’t stop till I see that to fruition.
My storytelling is authentic, mature, & raw. It’s my goal to speak from the heart. I want people to talk about each of my projects for many years to come. I’m a huge fan of the 90s era. I’ve noticed that it has influenced me so much in terms of my writing, my style, and the type of projects I just to create or write about. That’s an era that holds a place in a lot of our hearts and I’m gonna make sure that it’s depicted in a beautiful way once my stories are produced & brought to life.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
April of 2017 I walked across the stage as an official graduate of Florida A&M University. My plan after graduating that semester with a 3.5 GPA, a degree in something that I didn’t care about, and a dream that was bigger than me was to move to Atlanta and somehow get my foot in the door with the entertainment industry.
In May I took the leap and moved to Atlanta and crashed with a friend from college who was kind enough to let me lay my head there until I got on my feet. After about 3 weeks of putting in applications and jobs that I didn’t really want to do & not hearing back, I came across a photo on IG that sparked an idea in my head. It was a picture of a film producer I knew and the caption said that he was location scouting for a new film in the A. I immediately reached out via DM and a few days later he offered me a director’s assistant gig on a film called “The Trap” (Netflix).
The first day on set I could not believe that the first film I was working behind the scenes of had folks like T.I., Mike Epps, Teyana Taylor & DC YoungFly. I’m thinking “Wow! This is the life!” But wait… it’s gets better!
My 2nd day on set I find out that my idol, someone who I’ve admired since I was a young kid, someone who I aspired to work with will be on set tomorrow to shoot her scenes. I could not believe it. The next day (on my 3rd day of work) I was in the presence of Queen Latifah. The director whom I was working for at the time even allowed me 20-30 minutes to talk to her one on one. It was in that moment I realized I was where I was supposed to be. 100%. No one could have orchestrated that but God. Ever since then when I run into her she knows exactly who I am and stops what she’s doing to greet me.
Want to know a little fun fact? I’m big on writing my goals down. I usually do yearly, then monthly, then get as specific as weekly. Going into 2017 I actually wrote down “Meet Queen Latifah” for the month of June. Don’t ask me why I chose that month… or what me be that specific. I have no idea. All I’ve had since day 1 of doing anything that I do I just a dream. Faith and a dream can take you a long way.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
I think that the biggest challenge that I’ve had to go through in life is losing several family members to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Going thru that much grief at first a young age, then into my teenage years to my college years… it was a lot. It was constant tears and constant worry. It felt as if every time my family was finally able to breathe again after grieving, then someone else was diagnosed. During my sophomore year of college is when the pain took a huge toll on me, my mind, & my spirit. I was returning to campus for the Spring semester after losing my Aunt Sherri over winter break. At the time she was the 4th person that ALS took from us.
I checked myself into grief counseling services that were provided on campus at my school. I needed an outlet and I truly wanted the help to get through. It was there that I realized the only therapeutic way for me to “feel better” was taking it back to my roots… my passion… to write. I wrote my families story into a screenplay. I took our pain & put it on paper. And prayerfully you guys will be watching that one on the big screen one day.
At the time that all of this was going on, I was extremely lost, hurt, & heartbroken. My pain brought me back to purpose. In a weird way it brought me back to that thing that I loved to do as a kid. And now I know that I am doing it for THEM as well.
Aside from grief counseling… faith and a whole lot of prayer is what got me through that. And it will get me through everything else that I encounter.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
So I’ve met a lot of people in this industry this far, but I’m going to name people who I’ve never met before even though I have been in rooms with them. Keke Palmer, Will Packer, & LeBron James are my top 3. Keke has always been someone I’ve admired in this industry who is in the same age group as me. She’s inspiration on all levels and I would love to be able to create with her because I feel that we have so much in common & want to tell similar stories. Will Packer as a producer has inspired me in anyways because he’s cut from the same cloth. We both are from Florida & are both alumni of the best HBCU (Florida A&M University). A Rattler producer + a Rattler screenwriter on the same project would be epic. LeBron is a powerhouse and I absolutely love the projects that his production company Springhill puts out.
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