B When you talk about defying the odds there are certain characteristics that you need to do so. Some of these qualities would include leadership, resiliency, determination and a good work ethic. Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer, but ballet is a lot of rougher than it looks. The sport
looks soft but countless energy really can put a toll on one’s body and mind. With all that said Misty Copeland continued to work hard and was promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theater. Misty became one of the first African American to receive this prestigious award and quickly became the biggest ballet dancer in the United States, by staring in 60 Minutes and even making the cover of Time Magazine where she was name top 100 most influential people in the world. But she actually separated herself from her peers in her early childhood without even
realizing it. Her early childhood was probably a lot different than most ballet dancers. Misty was born in Kansas City, Missouri but raised in Los Angeles, California. She didn’t get the chance to see her father from the ages 2 to 22. She was also raised in a motel with her 5 siblings and single mom. Misty would actually split time with her mother and the Bradley’s who saw potential in the teenager. Her mom didn’t want her to be around the Bradley’s but Misty did. This turned into a custody battle and it got really ugly and at one point Misty was even reported missing. The press
actually had a field day with the drama of the young black girl that wants to do ballet. The Bradly’s and Misty’s mom fought over custody. The charges Misty’s mom made were dropped and the Bradley’s continue to have a huge impact on her life. After the struggle of sleeping on the floor in a motel to now being a superstar of the ballet world,
Misty stays true to herself. To this day she never makes an excuse about anything. Misty once said, “The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think.” The mindset of a real champion.
By: Domonique Walker
When talent is bestowed, it is bestowed in spades. This is most certainly true for David Southworth, also known as “Lumpy Da Comedian”. The thirteen year old first got his start at the early age of eleven in the comedy industry, through the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp where he was tutored and nurtured by Jamie Masada and a list of other Celebrity Comedians.
Jamie Masada seemed to have noticed that David Southworth not only has immense talent, but stands out in the crowd. David was invited by James Masada three months after his graduation from the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp, to open several shows with recognised comics such as Dane Cook, Paul Rodriguez, Dom Irrera, Ahmed Ahmed, Ruben Paul, PK, Mindy Rickles and many others at the same venue.
After performing numerous shows at the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp, Lumpy performed an “Open Mic” at the HaHa Comedy Club located in North Hollywood. The owners of the HaHa Comedy Club namely Jack, Terri and Jack Jr, started pushing Lumpy into contests which he won every time. This convinced the owners to allow Lumpy to eventually open for some big shows at the HaHa Comedy Club.
Lumpy gained a good reputation and eventually started opening for some of the biggest shows at the biggest venues such as the Hollywood Improv, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Ice House, HaHa, Flappers and many others around Los Angeles and in other cities in Southern California. Lumpy's new found fame has led him to star in National Commercials and a newly completed pilot for Fox's incubation project on "Party Over Here" Productions (Andy Samberg's Production Company).
David “Lumpy” Southworth was also invited for a live interview on Channel 5 News stationed in San Diego. With Lumpy's incredible success and his achievement as the youngest comedian ever in the United States to headline a Major comedy club. At just thirteen years of age, David “Lumpy” Southworth is well on his way to further his footprint in history, but yet hopes to achieve far more than he has accomplished. To get the latest on Lumpy's life and his upcoming shows, simply follow him on his Instagram account @lumpythecomedian.
Michael Keith doesn’t just possess the same first name as Michael Jackson, but he possesses the same passion, ambition and talent as the incredible superstar. Michael has performed with the Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra, the W3 the future (a group signed to Young Money Ent), his participation in the Filiipino community through events such as Philippine Consulate Independence Day celebration.
Michael's work on the stage has earned him the 2014 “Best Male Child Performer” by the Gawad America Awards and the “Best Performer and Best Pop Artist for ages 12 and under” at the RK Records Showcase, as he consistently opens the doors of opportunities for many other Filipino American Idol stars. Michael's tremendous success is owed to his unrelenting hard work and dedication to his creativity.
Michael has achieved far more than most artists have done in their lifetime, at just the age of 10. But his inspiration came at the tender age of 3 when he would tag along with his older sister to her dancing classes and talent shows. Michael felt an instant attraction to the stage and eventually enrolled in as many dancing, singing and performing classes as he could, the rest is history. He is now enrolled at the Orange County School for the Arts focusing on theater training.
But Michael's success wasn't always so easy to achieve. In fact Michael didn't always have the best chance at life itself. Before he was born, Michael's mother had was under the pressure of being told that she would have to abort Michael. The doctors expected Michael to have complications that would make life for him difficult, but Michael's mother persisted believing he was destined for greener pastures.
The gamble paid off, and was she right, however Michael himself has also been the victim of a social phenomenon that is fresh in the minds of people, Bullying. Bullying can destroy the lives of children, causing mental as well as physical stress on a daily basis, but Michael showed far more perseverance than most children at his age, and managed to tough it out.
Michael's Mother was adamant she made the right choice, and her steadfast belief in her son's abilities were rewarded through Michael's hard work. He does not forget the problems he encountered before his success, and the same problems other children face. He makes it a point to use his talents to raise awareness and joining an anti-bullying campaign to as much as he can.
The mark of a great showman always lies in his ability to understand his audience. Understanding their mood and how it changes, what elicits their sorrow and what elicits their joy. Understanding the audience is a great tool, but it is hardly the only one that turns the showman into something much more.
Meet Maurice Hillsman. He is fourteen years old , Originally from Houston Texas and currently residing in Los Angeles. Maurice enjoys his moment in front of the cameras and on stage, modeling acting and dancing in front of an audience. If you were to ask him, he would clearly tell you that the adrenaline pump from performing in front of loud crowd definitely increases his energy.
Apart from his showmanship, there is one more trait that Maurice most certainly owns in spades and it’s Charisma. His personality, his ability to carry himself in a smooth and cool manner almost certainly lends itself to a superstar, who can deal with the pressure of performing in front of large crowd’s day in and day out, and being able to manage a close relationship with his fans while always maintaining his own personal space.
With a charismatic personality, people are naturally drawn to Maurice like metal is drawn to magnet. But it's not just his personality, his good looks pretty much seal the deal. Maurice's popularity with the girls also is something that can't be overlooked, all the popular stars have to possess a marketable and pleasant appearance, Maurice seems to be a clear winner in that department.
With all the gifts Maurice Hillsman possesses, it is hard to imagine him running into obstacles, but sometimes the smallest spark can start a fire. For Maurice it has always been the rejection an artist faces after an audition or project. With so much talent, it is hard to even imagine something not working in your favor. Being sensitive can be a drawback, but it is an asset, an integral part that lets Maurice understand his audience and that's why it is important.
Maurice believes that to be an icon, you need to be successful, never give up on your dreams and work harder to become a legend. Maurice knows the difference between a man and a boy, and right now he is at that juncture at which he enters into a man's world. The same world his Idols Usher and Chris Brown, and the hulking legend of Michael Jackson belong to.
A prodigal talent in the guise of a Nay Nay Kirby arrived at just the age of four. As shocking as it sounds, Nay Nay Kirby has established herself as a big star in such a short span of time. Her infant career started during her life in San Francisco, living with her parents. She dipped her feet into print and Commercials but soon discovered she was itching for something more.
At the age of five, Nay Nay Kirby recorded two rap songs, when most children would be struggling to pronounce words right, let alone structuring and rhyming songs at blazing speeds. The feat amazed and impressed her parents. This also convinced Nay Nay's mother, Monique to allow her to pursue her desire of performing on stages and becoming an actress like her idol Raven Symone.
A prodigal talent indeed, but before all those blazing accomplishments, was bad news that would make most of her dreams inconceivable. Nay Nay was the subject of a severe asthma attack early in her life. Upon the doctor's diagnoses, Nay Nay was prescribed a sedate life void of physical activities that would trigger the asthma attack again.
Nay Nay became fearful of losing the ability to perform what she loved the most, but Monique inspired her to continue and develop the courage to follow her dreams, no matter the cost. Monique guided Nay Nay and made sure she took preventive medicines from the Doctor's office. Monique also decided to relocate to Los Angeles to offer Nay Nay more options in her career.
By this time, Nay Nay has recorded fifteen songs in a studio, and has performed live three hundred times, with the highlight performance for the half-time show at The Staples Center for the Sparks vs. Lynx game, where Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were in attendance in the front row. Rita Wilson enjoyed the show so much that she smiled back and offered a big round of applause.
Nay Nay offers an advice, "A lesson I have learned is that even though fear is real, we all have the power to overcome it. You can bottle all the negative energy from fear and turn it into positive energy. Don't ever let the fear of failing stop you from following your dreams. Take a leap of faith and be courageous! Everyone can learn from making mistakes so don't feel bad when you make them. Always listen, be open to learn new things and one day you'll be fearless."
Nay Nay has now moved into her other passion, becoming a fashion designer with her new clothing line called “Kirby Couture”, but she still wants to become an actress and has the privilege of meeting her icon Raven Symone. She hopes to achieve the same success and continue to learn.
She is young and talented and on the cusp of adulthood. Alondra Martinez is in hot pursuit of her dreams and the big success as she looks to establish herself as an actress and singer. Her hopes of building a brand and a name for herself can only materialize through an unwavering dedication and persistent hard work as she has come to known that nothing is a given, even if you are talented.
Alondra is of 15 years of age and has undoubtedly nurtured a mature mind knowing the struggles, she no longer holds a naive picture of instant success. But she is driven through the excitement of meeting new people and sharing her talent with them and the belief that once she gets there, her ability to provide for her family will lead to an easier life and lesser problems.
Of course, Alondra is also well aware of the other more pressing concerns she must encounter. She has to balance the necessity of education and schooling, with the desire for her developing her acumen in the popular art and expression of acting and singing. She must complete her homework and schoolwork whilst attending her after school acting and singing classes along with trying out for auditions.
But her private life is no different, her hard work at school and her acting and singing classes almost always consumes the time she would want to devote to those close to her, friends time is precious and it can either go to her loving and supporting family or her wonderful supporting friends. Like an Olympic hurdle racer, she must leap through the hurdles while maintaining her focus and speed, not allowing the prevailing exhaustion to win over her.
One of her more important challenges was the criticism allayed to her work, as she had trouble coping with rejection or even the slightest hint of it. Undoubtedly Alondra is more sensitive than the average teenager, allowing her to sense more than surface shows, but it is also a gift. The more a person can feel, and structure emotions, the better artist they will come to be. Upon realization, she has to wrestle the bull by the horns.
Alondra Martinez offers her conclusive definition of an Icon, someone who you can relate to, someone who inspires you, and someone you can look up to. Undoubtedly, other girls are trudging through the same problems but Alondra offers her advice and the very glimpse of an icon she is chasing to be.
ASAP Rocky is a rap superstar. But the popular rapper didn’t always have it easy. ASAP Rocky aka Rakim Mayers, was born and raised in the rough streets of Harlem. He faced several obstacles growing up being from one of the toughest cities in America. Rakim Mayers was actually named after Rakim the other famous NY rapper and Rakim was the early voice for hip hop. At the age of 12 ASAP’s father was thrown in jail for selling drugs in the street. ASAP’s father found that as a way to help his family financially but didn’t help legally. A year later ASAP’s brother was murdered near his apartment. All of this happening at such a young age can take a toll on your mind. After that he began to sell drugs himself, because his mom was struggling to say the least. Then they both began to move around from homeless shelters in the Harlem area.
Since ASAP didn’t have his father or brother anymore, he needed to be inspired by something and that’s what rap music did for him. Music helped him relax and release tension from a life full of struggling. Reportedly, he started to make beats at the age of 9 but didn’t really start taking music serious until he got to the age of 17. UGK and Bone Thugs of Harmony were some of his favorites to listen to and you can hear their style in his music today.
His debut mixtape “LiveLoveASAP” was a huge success and didn’t take long for it to become big nationwide. He dropped the mixtape in 2011 and was nominated for mixtape of the year. It was downloaded at least 10 million times and is considered a classic piece of work. ASAP Rocky showed the world his talents with a NY swagger but Houston voice. His love for UGK is obvious when you listen to his music.
ASAP Rocky has dropped two albums and they have also been classics. One being “At Long Last Asap” and the other being “LiveLongASAP”. He is putting NY back on the map as far as rap goes. There have been so many superstar rappers that were born and raised in New York, like 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Nas and Biggie Smalls just to name a few. I think it’s clear now that ASAP Rocky has already cemented his legacy as one of the superstars in the rap game.
By: Dominique Walker
Katie Sienna is only eleven years old and is already nipping to take control of her world. The talented child is so sure of what she wants to do in the next twenty ten years of her future, that older people could take notes. Katie Sienna has an unbridled passion for musical theater, singing, modelling and even acting, that her ambitions can barely be stopped from reaching the stratosphere.
When ambition meets raw talent with unwavering passion, the results are nothing short of spectacular. To reach that level of success, the talents of a young child should be nurtured and groomed to the best of their parent's abilities. But in the case of Katie Sienna, talent was always available in spades, but it was the noticeable absence of nurturing and grooming that were almost never there to guide her through.
A citizen of the United States, and a resident of Wildomar, California, Katie was not always enjoying the sunny side of life. She was originally born in England and was raised in Scotland until the tender age of nine. But that upbringing was largely shattered when Katie's mother left her at the age of three and her father lacked the means to take care of her. The only one there to reach her was Katie’s grandmother.
Unfortunately she ended up going through the Foster Care system. Ask Kate Sienna and she still remembers the saddening childhood days, her unfulfilled love for her mother and father that soon vanished like they did, and she only hoped to cling onto the only person she really knew she loved and existed, her grandmother.
Katie Sienna remembers the days when her hope would dwindle but she would keep her faith and remind herself of a new day. She would sing the Disney melody, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” and hope for a better tomorrow, day after day, night after night. Her prayers were answered and her hopes realized when her grandmother won full parental custody. Her grandmother enrolled Katie into a performing arts school.
She is now an A-grader at school and plans on pursuing her singing career as that is where her passion and talent lies or becoming a lawyer so that no child would have to deal with the foster care system like she did, and that Dreams do come true and hope does find its way. Katie Sienna learnt something along the way, Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain
Talent in our youth should always be nurtured and harnessed, so that they may be able to design their futures and their lives to the best of their abilities and satisfaction. However, success does not actualise without at least a modicum of sacrifice, and though great success is most visible and envied, the struggle and determination to achieve that success is rarely seen and acknowledged.
Cherish Kim is a talented 12 year old, and has always had a presence in front of the camera. She is one of the few teenagers, who early on has realised what field she wants to pursue and why. She fondly remembers her reactions to a family camera back in her childhood, never shy of posing and discouraged of having fun. She hopes to earn enough to support and payback her family of her two sisters, her brother, her mom, and her dog and kitten.
Having fun and meeting new people with various talents was what Kim certainly loved about acting, and she was decided on going full steam ahead. But she soon felt the burdens and pressures that come with following what you love. Kim had opted for an advanced class, with tests and quizzes an obligation. She admittedly couldn't focus in class and was further assigned extra credit projects. Her burden would weigh heavier as her acting classes would start after school at 5:30 pm, and end late between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm late at night.
The struggle to wake up for a tired, unprepared and stressed 12 year old Kim caught up as she broke down during her acting classes. Bewildered, she still managed to keep it together and showed great resolve. She realised that crying would solve nothing, and that focusing on the problem was of no use, instead focusing past if and on a solution was the sensible course.
The next day, she honestly confessed to her teacher that she was blank during her classes, who in turn helped by breaking down the lessons for Kim to easily focus on. Kim organised her time and finished her studies and homework from 3:00 pm to 5:00pm, and started her acting class from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. She was able to open a little more time to study and rest herself.
She now wakes up ready stress free, and determined to face the challenges of the day. Her breakdown serves as a learning experience on her journey to success. Nothing comes without sacrifice and hard work, some who break never find the will and courage to pursue what they love. Cherish Kim broke, but she mustered the sensibility and resolve to recuperate and chase what she wills to again.