Zhane Simpkins just graduated from Tri Cities High School in Atlanta and finished up her last year in the UNL Atlanta Leadership Academy. This August 2015 she starts her freshman year at Columbia University in Chicago! Read below to learn about the effect New Look’s programs have had on her life.
- Hey Zhane! So how did you end up joining New Look? What’s your first New Look memory? “I discovered New Look by following my big brother, Jobe Simpkins, he kept telling me that I should be a part of this organization alongside him. My first New Look memory was when I was invited as a guest by my brother to the Usher’s New Look World Leadership Awards show, which was amazing. I was in shock to see Usher himself, the man that makes all of this possible for kids like me, Justin Beiber who came from a single parent home like me and Ciara, who is an entertainer from Georgia just like me.”
- Did New Look Help you discover your “spark”? What is it? “Yes, actually the Exploration of the 4 Pillars- Talent, Education, Career and Service- helped me in discovering my spark. Acting, Directing and Teaching is my spark and being a part of New Look has helped me to have more confidence in my talent. The skits and trainings that we did allowed me to come outside of myself and share my gifts. Getting to hear motivational speakers ranging from authors to celebs helped me to have faith in what I believe I am capable of. New Look made it possible for me to travel to the AMDA fine arts camp in L.A, which further helped me find my passion. Today, I am starting my freshman year as a Cinematography major at Columbia University.”
2) Before New Look
- What’s the greatest challenge you’ve ever had to overcome? “The greatest challenge that I’ve had to overcome was my low self-esteem. My father is still in prison and sometimes I struggle with feeling like I am good enough or that I deserve the blessings that I am given. Now I look at life differently and I know that I am a child of God and I deserve whatever he blesses me with. Being in the company of greatness makes me know I am good enough.”
- What were your career goals before UNL? “Before joining New Look, I just wanted to be an actress, and I used to always second guessed myself with maybe that it’s not realistic“.
3) My New Look
- What’s your “New Look?” “My New Look is, I now understand that when opportunity is knocking at your door, you open it. I am no longer waiting around for something to happen, I have what it takes to do something NOW! My career goals have definitely changed, I always thought I would become an actress, but New Look helped me to realize that I am not just an actress, but I am also a director, writer, producer, humanitarian and philanthropist. If I claim these things now, I will know what to do when the door has opened for my opportunity to wear each of those hats.”
- Your Words to Live By? “THE TIME IS NOW!”
4) My Future
- What are your plans for the future? “This year, I will be starting college at Columbia, majoring in cinematography. In five years, I see myself accepting an Oscar award for directing a film that made #1 in the box office.”
- How do you plan to give back once you are a New Look alumni? “I plan to be a motivational speaker for different organizations that I have been privileged to be a part of and one of the many voices for the underserved youth. I also want to reach back as a philanthropist and help others financially. Specifically, for New Look I would love to do a weekend workshop on leadership at a Five Star downtown hotel allowing the teens to experience fine dining and all of the perks that are at our finger tips when we make good choices and do what we are supposed to do for ourselves and others.”
5) Thank you New Look!
- I want to thank New Look for…“HELPING ME TEAR DOWN WALLS THAT WERE IN MY WAY OF BEING THE LEADER THAT I AM. UNL helped me understand that I deserve to be celebrated in different ways. I thank UNL for allowing me to play a leadership role at their sponsorship events and during the peer-to-peer Powered by Service trainings, because after that, I stopped doubting whether or not I was good enough for presidential status. New Look empowered me to become DECA President of my High School! In addition, at Tri Cities where I went to High School, we had experienced losing several students. UNL empowered me to start my own chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). At the Boys & Girls Club, I became President of Keystone, which is a leadership club for teens. All of these leadership positions that New Look empowered me to go after have helped me get to where I am today: In college with several scholarships! I APPRECIATE USHER FOR HIS VISION and the entire NEW LOOK family for their support and encouragement.”