Five UNL Atlanta Leadership Academy students (and 1 parent!) are “SPARKED” to pursue careers in acting thanks to Usher’s New Look, actress Natalia Livingston and the Actor Boutique.
In October, Usher’s New Look teamed up with a new partner, the Actor Boutique, to provide a unique career exposure opportunity for Atlanta high school students. The Actor Boutique, a program founded by Emmy Award Winning actress Natalia Livingston, helps aspiring Atlanta actors succeed by assisting with services like acting classes, image development, headshots and work opportunities for resume building. Five lucky UNL Atlanta Leadership Academy students with SPARKS, or passions, for acting, and one UNL Atlanta parent, were able to participate in the program and work alongside industry experts themselves, including Writer Jen Kelley and Director David Joseph.
Since the Fall, they met regularly to work on producing an “Industry Night” performance consisting of several filmed and live skits. Each skit centered around themes of the real world issues including bullying, sexuality, race and domestic violence. The Industry Night took place at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Show Theatre in Atlanta, GA. Talent recruiters were invited to observe the students and consider them as actors for future projects.
At the performance night, Natalia told the packed house,
“These kids have given us so much more than we could’ve given them. I’m inspired by their courage to try something new. To try something for the very first time and in front of such an influential audience.”
Kemon White, UNL Atlanta 10th Grader said,
“The Actor Boutique gave me a chance to express myself creatively and also I was able to break out of being shy. I was nervous and it was always hard for me to speak in front of a large group of people, but doing industry night allowed me to face that fear.”
His mother, Jasmine Dupree, said,
“I have a general passion for acting and making people laugh, cry, be emotional or a combination of it all. I do background work but have never had a chance to do “real acting”. This experience has made that love a lot greater. I am motivated now more than ever to become a professional actress. Even though the circumstances surrounding my opportunity to act was unfortunate (I had to take my daughter’s role because she became ill), I am a person who believes “nothing happens by mistake”. I am glad I was given the opportunity to perform something I love in front of a room full of people. I am ready for anything now.”
Thank you to Natalia and the Actor Boutique for sharing our vision of empowering youth through experiences they never knew existed. This experience specifically helped UNL students unlock their TALENT for acting, experience the EDUCATION of becoming a trained actor, become aware of the endless CAREER possibilities associated with acting and film production, and then see how they can use their acting skills as SERVICE; Using skits and role play to bring attention and dialogue to real-world issues. Check out one of the powerful skits they created below!
‘Bullied’ Directed by David Joseph