Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hi! My name is Assia, pronounced Asia. I am an actor, producer, photographer, and author/poet. I am a Howard University Alumna, and a 6-year Army Veteran. The military is where I grew up, from age 22 to 28 I served in Artillery Units, Infantry Units, and Special Forces Units. I was airborne, meaning I jumped out of planes. And I did a lot of things I never dreamed of doing nor thought I’d be capable of. I’ve transitioned from being a soldier to being an artist. I want people to know that they can do anything they want if they prepare themselves and just go after it.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I’m fearful but doubtless. Being afraid of something has never stopped me from trying it. As a child I learned how to suffer through fear and embarrassment and pain and hardship and all the tangible and intangible things that life throws at us. My parents were absolutely amazing for teaching me that, and not through abuse, but through being there when I failed, and not protecting me from myself. They really let me be me, and figure my shit out. And through all that I do not doubt myself one bit. Fear is allowed to live in me, but doubt has no room.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
I wouldn’t say there was a moment that I realized I was born to do what I’m doing now. I don’t think any of us are limited to that. I left the military to be happy and to find myself because I was lost. And I think the moment I realized I could do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted, was when realized myself and my happiness. The idea that we’re born to do something rather than born to BE something is where I think people find stress. I’ve been practicing BEing over DOing – and that for me has been gold. I am being myself. I see it in how I communicate with my friends, family, and coworkers. Most important, I see it in how I communicate with and love myself. So any readers searching for their purpose, I urge you not to overlook yourself. YOU are your purpose. When you focus on being, the doing becomes a flow of you.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had to go through at this point in my life was being the only woman and only black officer in an Infantry Battalion 6,000 miles away from everyone I loved. That was a really hard time for me. I was 1 out of almost 1,000 soldiers and I felt incredibly alone. I thought I was “growing through it” when I was trying to remold myself to fit in with my counterparts. But that’s not what happened. I’ll save the long story of how things happened, and just say I hit rock bottom. I didn’t start “growing through” that experience until 2 years after the fact when I started therapy. I’d never really focused on my mental health, only my physical. But for the first time in my life, my physical health had deteriorated quite quickly (from military service), and I wasn’t bouncing back like I used to. The Army sent me to a sleep study because I was showing signs of insomnia and sleep apnea on a deployment, and that sleep study is what got me into therapy. I’d never connected the dots between physical and mental health, but I’m glad that Somnologist talked to me about reasons I may not be sleeping and suggesting therapy. I got lucky with my therapist who got me on a mindfulness practice. Being present and expressing gratitude saved my life. I can’t say that if you’re feeling alone or depressed or anxious or overwhelmed that gratitude and mindfulness will save you, but they will help you identify the things in your life that bring you back to yourself, your root, your foundation.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Victoria Thomas – She’s a Casting Director, and she’s casted so many of my favorite films and she has an on-going working relationship with one of my favorite Directors – Quentin Tarantino.
Sarah Finn – She’s another Casting Director. She does all the Marvel movies and I want to be apart of that franchise. So many epic stories. Specifically the BLADE reboot. I grew up on those movies so that would be incredible.
Michael B. Jordan – He’s an actor, director, and producer. I want to pick his brain about all 3 of those careers because I am currently acting and producing, and I wanna know how he balances. But also I would love to meet him because I’m writing a feature that I think he’d be great for as the male lead. Also this feature maybe one that I’d want to direct!
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