Category Archives: Humans of Inspiration

Q/A with Erin Groves: Makeup Artist and Actress

UntitledErin Groves is a 28-year-old actress and makeup artist, born on May 5th. She lives in Greenville, North Carolina and enjoys the comfort of working from home. To get in contact with her, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram.  


Q.)Tell us more about what you do?
A.) I am an aspiring actress, I’d also call myself a makeup artist, however, it’s not something that I’m pursing. Make-Up is a hobby of mine, another creative outlet for me. Though, I am looking to share my creative expertise on my social media and YouTube channel!


Q.) Is there an exact moment in time you can look back on, where you realized this is what you want to do?
A.) If there was a moment I could look back and realize what I wanted to do, it would have to be after I turned eight years old, and saw the movie ‘The Labyrinth,’ with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. I thought, “Okay, I can send my sisters to a magical place”, and everything would be singing and dancing and all. I found out around 13 years old when the DVD came out, and they had a ‘behind the scenes’ feature on it that it all wasn’t what it seemed. However,  when I found out that I could put my creative mind to work through pretending to be someone or something else, I wanted to go for it. And I mean, I changed my mind a lot; from acting to architecture, finding the cure for cancer, and even being a tomb raider like Lara Croft. But I always came back to acting. Always. That’s when I knew.


Q.) Who or what inspired you?
A.) There’s a couple of people; Eartha Kitt, David Bowie, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and the list goes on and on.


Q.) If you had to choose one, who is your biggest supporter?
A.) Honestly, my biggest supporter is my family. My sisters, my mom, my guy. I couldn’t name just one! I have a lot of twitter supporters too!


Q.) Are you currently working on any projects?
A.) So, the one project that I am working on now is getting my YouTube channel up and running. I had to take a break from professional acting just to get my bearings in order, and I figured why not teach myself editing tricks and such. And so, that’s exactly what I’m doing! My last attempt at a video was some-time a month ago. If you’d like to take a look at my recent acting work, the link to both videos are at the end of this article.


Q.) Whatʼs the best thing about acting?
A.) The best thing about acting is being able to channel my imagination into becoming a character. I get to read about it, get a back story and create something based off of that. It’s one of the best things because, between you and me, I always get to put a piece of myself in there as well!


Q.) Is there anything you struggle with, as far as being an actress and makeup artist goes?
A.) Critique, and not from my teachers, or anyone else. I am very hard on myself. If my teacher told me: ‘Good job, Erin, just work on portraying a bit more emotion, but you followed well, and did an awesome job,‘ I’d automatically criticize myself horribly in my head. I’d tell myself it doesn’t matter what they say, you were horrible, and you need to give it up.
It’s horrible, I know, but that’s my issue. I don’t give myself enough credit. For make-up, it has to be coming up with a look. I see it in my head, but trying to get it right can go so wrong for me. I’m obsessive when it comes to getting my eyebrows right. For me? It’s not ‘They’re sisters, they don’t look alike.’ No, they have to be absolutely precise or I’m taking it off and doing it again.


Q.) What makeup brand is your all time fave?
A.) Ohhh. That’s a toughie. I’d have to say Make-Up Forever. I have combination/oily skin, and a lot of texture as well, and I feel like this brand does an awesome job at making me appear flawless!


Q.) How did you learn to apply your makeup so well?
A.) YouTube, if you could believe it or not. I used to spend 18 hours a day on the computer because the cyber world was so much better than the real one.


Q.) Did you receive professional training in makeup artistry and/or acting?
A.) I didn’t in either, though, I did attend acting classes in community college. My teacher told me he’d rather me get professional classes at an acting school.


Q.) How is the acting and theatre scene in your state?
A.) Well, ECU has a wonderful acting program, and there is a marvelous theater here (The Magnolia) and a classic theater in Washington, NC. The community college has a wonderful teacher (Lee Armstrong) who is also a professional actor as well! That’s right folks, I got to learn from an actual actor.


Q.) Looking back, is there something youʼd have done differently, given the chance?
A.) Tried harder to pursue my dreams instead of waiting for so long. That’s one of the things that I am hardest on myself about. I wish I could have tried harder to get a job, a car, and set out to pursue my dreams.


Q.) What are your plans for the next 5 years?
A.) I’d love to be working with Tyler Perry in a series as a co-star. And, I’d love to have been in a couple of movies by then as well.


Q.) Whatʼs your life motto? What keeps you going?
A.) My motto is this: You are the only person who can make your dreams come true, not anyone else. Do whatever you have to do to get where you gotta be. I’d like to take the time to thank everyone who’s read this! I appreciate it so much. ♥ Stay awesome!


Interested in seeing a demo reel of her acting? Watch it here! To see her everyday makeup routine, click here

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Profile: Kylie and Leafy Co.

The following article is about Kylie, a six-year-old girl who owns her own business. She’s an energetic, and unforgettable child whose interests are multifaceted. She has a red belt in Martial Arts and is a gardener and animal lover. She’s an outward-facing child, always on the look-out for new adventures. She’s also on the Autism spectrum, which presents both external and internal challenges.


Kylie’s mom explained some of these challenges to us:

 Kylie perceives the world very differently than others and is very in tune with her surroundings. Everyday noises, lights, sounds, tastes and textures can throw her body into uncontrollable meltdowns. She is currently in many different therapies to help her physically and mentally move through everyday life.

The name of Kylie’s business is Leafy Co and is completely her design. Kylie’s mom described the story behind Leafy Co.

The name came from her love of leaves. Most individuals who are on the spectrum have certain things that they collect. Hers in particular consist of sticks, rocks, and leaves. We find them everywhere. She finds them beautiful.

Soon after Kylie was identified as being on the spectrum, her family explored different creative outlets that would show off her strengths. When she was asked what she wanted to do, Kylie decided that she’d like to put her favorite pictures on t-shirts. If that isn’t amazing enough, Kylie and her best friend are planning a sister company, called Bestie Beads. As the name suggests, they will be selling beads they’ve made together. An influential marketing company has picked up Kylie’s inspiring story as well.

Leafy Co. sells graphic t-shirts in all sizes. T-shirts are made upon order. Kylie does the designing, and pressing. Therefore, each shirt is unique. However, the differences between shirts won’t be too noticeable. The designs Kylie makes are inspired by her environment, which makes the t-shirts even more interesting. The designs are abstract and creative. Currently, their business page is on Instagram.

We asked Kylie’s mom what Kylie’s favorite part of being a business person is. She apparently said, “Being the boss!”

Kylie’s mom further explained: She takes great pride in being able to say she runs her own business. Overtime her shirts have flooded the area around us. The smile that comes from seeing her t-shirts on others is irreplaceable. Being a little different from her peers took away a lot of her self-confidence in the last few years. This business has shown her that she is important and her self confidence has gone through the roof. 

The most important aspect of Kylie’s business is the message she wants to send to everyone: Autism children feel and see differently, but they just want acceptance, and love.

Leafy Co. is a great opportunity for everyone to see that children like Kylie are not broken, they’re unique. Just like everyone else, they have their strengths and weaknesses. So, Leafy Co. aspires to enlighten people.

Kylie’s main goal is to gain more followers on Instagram, create at least 10 new designs, and start Bestie Beads. Her Instagram has a faithful following already, and has given insight into her struggles and her successes. To follow her, click here.

We asked if Kylie or her mom had any advice for children seeking to open their own businesses. Kylie’s mom had a lot to say about it:

Any child has the potential to be an entrepreneur. As a parent I see this journey as one that Kylie can look back on and know that her parents always believed in her. She will know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. As an entrepreneur at six, she has an incredible business mind. Knowing how to cater to a customer, and working to make her business as personal as possible. What will she be doing at 18?

 

We asked if Leafy Co. has a motto. Before answering, Kylie’s mom reminisced on the time Kylie was identified. She described how all of the members of her family gathered together; some cried, some dwelled on it. In that moment, she realized that the news was not something to be sad about. On the contrary, she realized it should be celebrated. She explained how Kylie had always been a highly intelligent, silly kid. The news just gave them answers, and helped them map out a road for the future, including the realization that the spectrum needed more advocates.

In light of their story, Leafy Co.’s motto is: “See the beauty, instead of the label.”

Visit their Instagram, @leafy_business_co.

Q/A with Randy Mallory–A Professional Drummer


The following Q/A is with Randy Mallory, a highly talented professional drummer. His story is by far, one of the most inspiring. His story will motivate you to take the leap, despite the distance.

He’s currently based in Los Angeles, but frequently travels. He’s currently on tour with a Grammy nominated blues artist, but if you wish to book him, here’s his contact information: randytmallory@gmail.com. You can also find him on Instagram, @randymallory.


 

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Q.) Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
A.) My name is Randy Mallory, I’m a Los Angeles based professional drummer. I’m originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut. At 20 years old, I moved to LA to attend a music school called Musicians Institute.

Q.) Awesome. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
A.) My father was also a professional musician, so it was kind of an easy choice. I was always surrounded by music, but I didn’t make a serious choice until I was about 17 years old.

Q.) So, when was your first gig? How did it feel to be finally on stage?
A.) My first professional gig, while living in LA, was in the summer of 2014. Immediately after graduating from the Musicians Institute, I played at the Common Ground Festival in Lancing, Michigan with a band called Radical Something. It felt great and refreshing to play up there. It’s still surreal at times.

Q.) What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
A.) The most memorable moment was when I got to do a Christmas production in 2016 where I was the “star” of the show. To this day, I still can’t believe that I got an opportunity to do it. I was in front of over 10,000 people over 6 shows! I was able to do a bit of acting and soloing on drums. It was one of the best and nerve-racking experiences of my life.

Q.) That’s amazing! Do you play in just one genre, or are you open to others too?
A.) I’m open to all genres that I think I’m capable to play. I’m currently on tour with a Grammy nominated blues artist. I’ve never professionally played blues before, but I think playing in church as a kid really helped me learn how to play different genres.

Q.) Nice! What is your favorite drum kit?
A.) My favorite drum kit is the Tama Starclassic.

Q.) What is the best thing about being in the music industry?
A.) For me, being in the music industry is very challenging. I love it because it can change for the better, literally overnight. That’s one of the things that keeps me going.

Q.) I’ve heard that being in this industry can be really competitive and stressful. Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter?
A.) My advice would be to follow your gut and be you, whatever that is. The music industry is very cut-throat, but it cannot deny originality and authenticity. That goes a long way.

Q.) How would you describe people youʼve met in this industry?
A.) I really couldn’t put anyone in the same boat. Everyone is different, positively and negatively. But I can say that I have met some lifetime friends in the almost 5 and a half years that I’ve been doing this.

Q.) Where has your career taken you so far?
A.) I’ve been to pretty much every state in the U.S. I’ve also been to Canada, and China.

Q.) How do people book you?
A.) Usually I get work through word of mouth or an audition.
Someone looking to book me, can contact me at: randytmallory@gmail.com, or through my instagram: @randymallory

Q.) When you first decided to leave home to follow your dreams, how did you feel?
A.) I was very nervous and scared. It was my first time ever leaving home, the first time ever getting on a plane, and the first time ever going to LA. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I just stayed positive.

Q.) Were there people trying to sway you from your decision?
A.) People doubted me. Some told me that it would be too hard and that I should get a normal job, or go to a normal college. It never changed my outlook on what I knew I should do.

Q.) Do you have regrets about anything? Is there anything youʼd have done different?
A.) I wish I would have known sooner that worrying is only going to make the journey that much harder.

Q.) Finally, what is your life‘s motto? What keeps you going?
A.) My motto is: positivity is key throughout everything. Its easy to overthink things and to worry about things that aren’t in your control. Having a positive outlook on life in general will get you that much farther.

A Q/A with Personal Chef, Shernika Johnson

The following Q/A is with Shernika Rae Johnson, an aspiring personal chef. She has all she needs to be one, including the superior skills and the culinary background. She aspires to be on Hell’s Kitchen in the near future, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile, read her earnest answers about her favorite dishes, sauces, her plans for the future.


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Q: Introduce yourself to everyone!
A: My name is Shernika Johnson. I was born in Macon, Georgia on April 12, 1991. I graduated from Westside High School in 2010.

Q: So, you’re an amazing cook, right?
A: Yes, I would like to think of myself as an amazing cook. My style of cooking is very versatile.

Q: So I’ve heard! When was the first time you picked up a spatula?
A:The first time I can ever remember cooking was when I was around eight or nine years old.

Q: Wow! Do you remember the first dish you ever made?
A: I think the first dish I ever made was eggs. Let’s just say, I can cook eggs way better than I did back then!

Q: When you were younger, did you want to be a chef?
A: I didn’t want to be a chef when I was younger. I actually wanted to be a nurse.

Q: Oh okay, so who inspired you to become a professional chef?
A: A couple of my family members and friends inspired me to become a chef. Every time I would cook for them, they always complimented my cooking. A friend I go to church with actually talked me into going to culinary school.

Q: Awesome! Out of all of the dishes you make, what’s your favorite?
A: I would have to say my favorite meal is baked salmon with a lemon and cream sauce that I make, grilled asparagus, and mushroom risotto.

Q: What is your family/friends favorite?
A: My folks really like my Chicken Picatta. It is pretty good.

Q: How often do you cook?
A: For right now, I cook every now and then. When I do cook though, it’s worth the wait.

Q: Where did you go to school for cooking?
A: I attended Helms College for culinary school. I was already pretty good at cooking before I went to culinary school. My cooking skills have increased tremendously, since going through their program.

Q: Do you use recipes? How much do you stick to the directions?
A: I only follow recipes once. After that I tweak them and create my own version.

Q: What are your favorite things about cooking?
A: One of my favorite things about cooking is seeing how happy and satisfied people are when they’re eating my food. It’s also a serene moment for me when I’m cooking, especially when I have some good music playing.

Q: What are your favorite sauces, spices, and/or garnishes?
A: One of my favorite sauces is my white wine sauce. My favorite garnish would have to be parsley. You can never go wrong with parsley as a garnish. Unless you’re talking about desserts, lol.

Q: Thanks for the advice! So, what’s your favorite cooking show? Does it inspire you?
A: My favorite cooking show is hands down Hell’s Kitchen. The show inspires me to perfect my cooking skills even more, because I would like to at least try to compete in Hell’s Kitchen in the future.

Q: Wow, that’s awesome! I think you should! You definitely have the talent for it. I want to end the Q/A with something inspiring. Tell our readers what your life’s motto is.
A: “Make The Best of Life” would have to my one of my mottos. You gotta do what you can, while you can in order to get where you want or be in life.


Did you enjoy this Q/A? Click here to read another inspiring Q/A.

Chase Passion Not Cheese

Ok, just level with me here. I know I can’t be the only one who has wondered why the world has to revolve around money.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not complain if someone were to drop a couple grand in my hand. *ahem*

But why must we live chasing the cheddar?
I get that some people see money as a gateway for a better, more free way of living.

In a lot of ways this is true, but so many people arrive at a crossroads, where they have to put their dreams and passions on hold in order to chase the next big check.

Some are able to meld the two together and make money from their passion, but others aren’t so lucky.

Some are pressured into believing that they’re bound to a life of unfulfillment and discontentment if they choose to pursue their passion over the degree and well paying job.

I loath the idea of letting go of my passion for the sake of getting a leg up in the world. I would rather die than to grind for the rest of my life doing something that I get no real fulfillment from. I flat out refuse!

I know that this may not be a very popular opinion given the negativity surrounding Millennials and the idea that we just want things given to us.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m one of the hardest working individuals you’ll find and when I set my eyes on something I want, I’ll do what it takes to to obtain it.

Right now, at this moment, I have my eyes set on gaining success and momentum from my passion.

Those pictures are places that my passion has taken me but trust me–there will be plenty more in my future.
#ChasePassionNotCheese

Click Q & A with Carl Story–Up and Coming Pro-Baseball Athlete to read more about passion and never giving up on your dreams.

Author
Brandon Byrd

Q & A with Carl Story–Up and Coming Pro-Baseball Athlete

The following is a Q & A with Carl Story, a young athlete from Macon, Georgia. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, and an incredibly inspiring story. If you’re struggling with belief in yourself, read this. His singular message to you is: Don’t let anything stop you from living your best life. 

Q: So, introduce yourself to our readers.
A: Hey, I’m Carl Story, most of my friends call me CJ. I went to school at Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia. I’m currently attending Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia.

Q:What’s your favorite baseball team?
A: My favorite MLB team is the New York Yankees, and of course, Derek Jeter is my favorite player.

Q: When was the first time you decided to pursue a career in baseball?
A: The first time I decided that baseball was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life was when I was about 10 years old; I said, I’m pretty good at this sport already, and they make good money.

Q: When you made a decision, were people supportive?
A: When I first talked about wanting to become a pro baseball player, like any other kid, people thought I was going to grow out of my dream—become a cop, or something. But once people saw I was serious, I still ran into the non-believers.

Q: Who were your main supporters?
A: My mom and my friends were some of the ones who really supported me throughout little league, and all the way through college.

Q: Did you experience any negativity from anyone after the decision. How did you deal with it?
A: ’Til this day, I still receive negative feedback from people. I deal with it by simply ignoring those people who are too afraid to step into greatness. Most people go so far and then stop—they don’t want to leave their comfort zone. Well, I’m not one of those people. I would rather try and then fail, than to not have tried at all. 

Q: How important do you think support from friends and family is?
A: Support from your family and friends is a major key to making it in the world, because just like baseball, you cannot win by yourself. You need a team to win, and like the Yankees, my team will win.

Q: In the pursuit of your career, what is one thing you realized or learned?
A: In pursuing my major league career, I’ve learned that in order to get where you need to be, you must have will-power. In 2015, I suffered from sudden cardiac death and was told I couldn’t play sports again, but the will I had to live out my dream overcame what the doctor said. Since then, I’ve used that same will to start a baseball team and club at my college—a college that hasn’t even heard the word baseball since 1985.

Q: Wow, you have a serious come-up story! Is there anything else you’ve achieved so far? Are you happy with your progress?
A: To-date, creating the club and team have been my biggest accomplishments; but not only for me. I’ve opened the door for future college players who are not yet ready to give up on their dreams.

Q: What are your plans for the next five years?
A: My plans over the next five years include being part of some type of pro ball club, regardless of whether it’s independent, minors, or majors.

Q: You plan to go pro, right? Are you excited?
A: I’m as excited as a little kid going to Chuck E Cheese when I think about going pro. This has been my lifelong dream and to see something like this become reality would be amazing.

Q: What is the most important thing you want people to understand about you in general?
A: The most important thing people could understand about me is that I keep my faith in God, because all things are possible through him who strengthens me. I wouldn’t be alive today if it hadn’t been for his grace and mercy. So even if your back is against the wall, and even if you are at death’s door, don’t let anything stop you from living your best life.