Remember that you’re never too young to achieve your dreams. When I was younger and was getting started with my business (Big Ideas Kid Coaching), a business partner of my parents loved my energy and loved what I was planning on doing. She requested for me to make a video of myself and what I did, so she could share it to a board of directors and perhaps, if they liked my ideas, I could even speak there. My daddy went to the meeting while I was doing homeschool, and I remember how he described it to me when he came back — full of elderly people, glaring at my video with either glazed or scornful eyes, and saying to themselves, “She’s too young and too inexperienced to be a CEO or business owner.” I remember my daddy explaining this, and we all found it rather humorous — and because I knew that my parents believed in me and I believe in myself, that board of directors didn’t stop me from achieving my dreams.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Arianna Fox.
Known across the region as a little ball of joy and energy, Arianna Fox is not only an actress, but also a girl entrepreneur/“girlpreneur,” bestselling double author, and motivational speaker. She may come in a small package, but her ideas are as revolutionary as they are wide-reaching. For several years now, Arianna has devoted her life and much of her time to reaching out to others to spread messages of hope, inspiration, and self-confidence. Making a positive impact upon others and helping them rock their lives to maximum potential is part of this girlpreneur’s goal for her interactions with kids, tweens, teens, adults, and all.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Arianna! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for having me on your amazing magazine! To answer your question, I grew up living a sort of strange life for a person my age, but I absolutely loved it. I was and have always been homeschooled by my amazing parents, and education is something I’ve always been very interested in. My parents also raised me with many strong values like the importance of hard work, never giving up on your dreams, and being an inspiration to others. The latter, in particular, was my own passion that escalated drastically as I grew older and more mature.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Certainly! I have many stories about what brought me to my different career paths, as I do many things. For my authorship, here’s a story: Ever since I was young, I had two passions. One of them was writing. Ever since I put pen to paper — or, perhaps, finger to iPad — I always knew I loved writing. Writing was something that just spoke to me, and I absolutely loved how I felt when I wrote. I felt like everything in the world was just right — no pun intended there.
So I told my parents one day, “I want to be an author when I grow up.” But instead of shrugging or nodding passively, they replied to me with a challenge.
“Why wait? Why not start now?”
And that inspired me majorly; so much so that oftentimes, when I look at where I am now, I think to myself, “There was no way I’d be here without that passion, or without my parents.”
In addition to my passion of writing, I also had another main passion when I was young. I wanted so badly to inspire people. The problem was, I had no idea how to do so. I didn’t know many people, and the people I did know didn’t seem to need any inspiration or motivation. So for a long time, I held on to that passion but just put it on the back burner — until one day, when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My parents woke me up one morning and instantly suggested an idea that had been jostling around in their brains for a while.
“What if you became a motivational speaker?”
And my immediate answer, with wide eyes, beating heart, and grin adorning my face, was “Yes!”
Their suggestion perfectly culminated with the passion that I had inside me to motivate and energize others, and that was what started my journey to both writing and motivational speaking.
For being an actress, it’s funny because I was always acting ever since I was extremely young. I would always play what I called “production,” and I would — and still do — pretend to be many different characters, and switch between them within seconds. This, as well as the help of my parents, sort of launched me into the acting realm from an early age.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your entertainment career?
I have two stories — one for speaking, one for acting. For speaking, this actually took place at my first speaking event ever. It was at a daycare where I spoke to several young kids and many professional adults who wanted to support me and my endeavors. One of the many fun activities I had the kids participate in was an activity called “Balloon Stomp,” where I would give every child a balloon; the goal of the game was that every child had to try to stomp on others’ balloons while also trying to protect their own balloon. The lesson of the activity was that your balloons are like your dreams, and that while you should never try to step on or “pop” other people’s dreams, you should protect yours from other people who will try to stomp on or pop your dreams.
After the whole event was over, a rather quiet and shy kid came up to me — his balloon was still in his hand, too; good for him — and told me, “This is my dream, and I’m not going to let anyone stomp on it. I’m never going to give up on it.” And that inspired me so much to know that I impacted people’s lives.
For my acting story, I have to say one of my greatest, most interesting, and most hilarious acting gigs of all time was a commercial for Cinch Mechanical, where my parents and I were not only a family in real life but also in the commercial, and another actor dressed up in a gorilla suit and was supposed to essentially horrify the family, from throwing my daddy’s newspaper across the room — and stopping to take a selfie with my daddy in a “headlock” — to splashing a bowl of cereal, with milk in it, in my face. It was great.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As far as writing goes, I’ve always been a good writer, but I haven’t always been a good plotter. When I was around ten years old, I started working on my second book (after having published my first, The Princess Chronicles: Not Your Average Princesses). This book was — and is — a sci-fi novel called False Awakening: Is it a Dream or Reality? It’s now an Amazon bestselling book that’s in contract to be made into a movie, but when I first wrote it, I did not plot a single thing. Sure, I had the vague idea of “beginning, middle, and end,” but I hadn’t plotted out any of the scenes or major events beforehand — literally only the characters and a few vague concepts.
When my first editor went through the book, she asked me, “Did you plot this out? It doesn’t seem like you did.”
My answer was, “Yes, I did plot this out! I have a beginning, middle, and end.”
Thinking about it now, I can’t help but shake my head in amusement. A writer would need much more than that in order to pull off an epic, layered book.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Who do you think that might help people?
Certainly — I have many things in the works! Firstly, I’m currently working on my third book, Sabre Black, which is a teen/YA (young adult) fantasy about a group of winged people called Andorians (the good Andorians are called serahs and the bad are called cendars). The main character, Sabre Black, is born a cendar but fights for the serahs, so the gist of it is: Is she good? Is she bad? Is she both?
I am decently close to the ending, and I’m so excited for this book because I think it will impact people in many ways. People will be able to follow along with Sabre — and mind you, Sabre has a lot of the same problems as most teenagers and people her age nowadays — and will be able to be changed in some way when they hit the end of the book. Sabre struggles with things like self-doubt, a distrust of others, the hauntings of her past, and so many other things that most teens say they can relate to. I want to inspire people through my words, and this is one of many outlets to do so.
In addition, as I mentioned before, my second book (False Awakening) is now in contract to be adapted into a movie. I am so excited about this; it’s going to be amazing!
For the speaking side of things, I also hope to be able to speak to thousands, hundreds of thousands, and maybe even millions of people, to encourage them, energize them, and motivate them to achieve their dreams.
For acting, we are currently seeking any and all new acting opportunities!
Most young people your age don’t have to balance work and school. Can you tell us how you manage to balance your schoolwork, auditions, and time on set?
Since I’m homeschooled by my amazing parents, that single aspect makes everything so much easier when it comes to doing the work I need to do. For example, if I’m preparing for a motivational speech, my parents may have me take days off to study, memorize, or practice; the same goes for acting. In addition, my parents carve out an allotted time to work on my book so I never lose my fire or passion. The schedule is: An hour a day from Monday to Thursday, in addition to my normal school and education schedule, and on Friday, I will take extra time to write, edit, and research.
Schedules and to-do lists are so important with me in particular, as lists easily help me to achieve goals. When someone throws a vague, do-this-whenever “schedule” of what I should do for the day, it won’t help me much; however, if someone gives me a detailed, listed itinerary of what I need to do, I get “in my zone” so much easier. The homeschool curriculum I use, in addition to the amazing teaching and scheduling of my parents, helps me to achieve everything I need whilst still having time to play, have fun, and still “be a kid.”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Absolutely! My parents are my #1 supporters and always help me no matter what it is that I’m doing. When I’m speaking, I come up with the content and a rough idea of the delivery, and then my parents help perfect my delivery so it impacts as many people as possible. When I’m writing, I write everything and oftentimes pass it by my parents to see what their thoughts are; they always have invaluable advice for me. When I’m acting, my parents are the best acting coaches I could ask for, and they help me with how I should portray my facial expressions, in addition to helping me get into character. No matter what, I could not be where I am now without my parents.
Even when I feel like giving up, my parents are always there to remind me of why I love doing what I love. I still remember one night — only a few months ago — when I felt like giving up completely on acting. I had recently frozen during an audition, not because I was nervous but because I hadn’t fully memorized my lines. In addition, every time I would try to practice my lines, I would get emotionally invested in the character too early and would give myself headaches and sometimes even nausea. I remember standing in our kitchen that particular night, next to both of my parents, and I sincerely thought that acting was just “no longer a passion for me.”
They agreed to hold off on it for a while (e.g. not to worry about submitting for auditions or publicly blasting my acting side on social media), but on their end of things, they didn’t give up on that occupation because they knew how much I loved acting. Even at night, I would (and still do) perform pretend “phone calls”/“conversations” with characters I had created, acting out my own dialogue and the dialogue of my character.
But after a lot of deep conversation, my parents finally got to the root of why I wanted to give up on acting: I had so many negative experiences with it that I thought acting itself was negative. My parents got to the very center of that problem, addressed it, and were able to make me understand that it wasn’t acting that was bad or negative; it was the experiences I had, and not only that, but I was also memorizing in the wrong way! I put all of my emotion and heart into the words when I was learning and practicing them, so by the time my parents were ready to film me, I was almost devoid of energy. In addition to that, I stuck to a particular style of memorization that every professional actor ever says not to do.
So now that my parents and I reassessed that, I am happy to say I am — and have always been — an actress.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s jump to the main part of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Certainly! Here is the link to my “5 Things You Need to Know to Succeed” video, and below is what I’ve learned in addition.
1. It takes hard work to be successful. Hard work is the recipe for success. Many people think that success is just handed to them on a silver platter, that there’s nothing they need to do in order to earn their success, but that is not even close to being true. A great example of what I mean by this is a quote from Will Smith: “99% of people that say [they want to achieve something] are not willing to do what it takes to make their dreams come true…At the center of bringing any dream into fruition is self-discipline.”
2. Never give up on your dreams. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you give up, there is no chance that the thing you love doing is going to come into fruition. I know this firsthand; as I mentioned before, I felt like giving up many times, in acting and even in speaking. Yep, I also felt like giving up with motivational speaking. I remember feeling so stressed out about all of the work I had to do with my motivational speaking career, and I felt like giving up on that dream to inspire others. It was “just too hard.” But my parents helped me to overcome, and I reminded myself that I needed to think about others, not just myself: If I continued speaking, I would inspire and motivate countless lives, whereas if I stopped speaking, I wouldn’t be helping anyone. With the help of my parents, I was able to reset my own mind to begin loving speaking again; and I still remember that on the next day, I was more excited about speaking than I ever had been in my life.
3. You only fail when you give up. This is something I taught and explained in my speaking events, yet it’s funny how much it also applies to my life — and the lives of most people. When I explain that sentence in my speaking events, I always explain what it means: So many people think that if they make a mistake, they just fail, or are failures. In truth, however, the only time you truly fail is when you give up on your dreams or doing what you love. Mistakes are just a part of the journey; just dust off and get right back up and going to whatever it is that is your passion. A great example of this kind of teaching is a famous quote by Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
4. Overcome negative influence. There will be a lot of people that will try to influence you, saying things like “You can’t do it; you can’t succeed” and being overall negative. But you can overcome all that. For example, ever since I was young, I thought I was “immune to influence;” I remember one particular day, however, when a friend about my age — and her family — came over to our house. We all were having dinner and had a few very delicious bread rolls. After dinner was over, we went upstairs and the friend — who I will call “Zoey” so she remains anonymous — asked me if I could ask our parents for more dinner rolls on her behalf. I was a little awkward about it, but nonetheless I went downstairs again and asked my parents for the rolls. They said no and tried to fish for the reason why I asked — I usually wouldn’t ask for extra things like that — and finally I admitted Zoey asked me to come down and request more. Later that night, after the family left, my parents explained to me that what Zoey did is called influence — and influence by itself isn’t good or bad; it’s neutral, but people will always try to influence others negatively, so I always have to keep my brain alert for other people who may try to do so.
5. Remember that you’re never too young to achieve your dreams. When I was younger and was getting started with my business (Big Ideas Kid Coaching), a business partner of my parents loved my energy and loved what I was planning on doing. She requested for me to make a video of myself and what I did, so she could share it to a board of directors and perhaps, if they liked my ideas, I could even speak there. My daddy went to the meeting while I was doing homeschool, and I remember how he described it to me when he came back — full of elderly people, glaring at my video with either glazed or scornful eyes, and saying to themselves, “She’s too young and too inexperienced to be a CEO or business owner.” I remember my daddy explaining this, and we all found it rather humorous — and because I knew that my parents believed in me and I believe in myself, that board of directors didn’t stop me from achieving my dreams.
You are a person of enormous influence. How do you think you can use social media as a platform to be a positive influence to your fans, and for society at large?
That is an excellent question! As I have been doing in the past for about a year or two, I very much like to post motivational quotes — some that I find online, others that I come up with on my own — on social media platforms, and even brighten people’s day by sharing some wisdom or insight about a particular topic. I also have a monthly Instagram Live/IGTV show, “Teen Topics,” which is dedicated to talking about topics teens are interested in, as well as interviewing successful teenagers — or adults who help teens and youth — who are doing what they can to make their dreams a reality.
If you had the ability to choose to work on any TV show or film, or work alongside any co-star, or with any director, what or who would that be, and why? You never know who might see this article, especially if we tag them. 🙂
As a voiceover actress, I would absolutely love to voice a character on DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon series or Disney’s Pixie Hollow series — two of my favorite animated series ever, even though there aren’t any confirmed new installments for the latter. To star in a live-action TV show, I would love to star in Fringe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or The Gifted (even though all three are discontinued), as they’re the family favorite TV shows. And as far as movies — there are too many! I might choose something in the Marvel universe, or perhaps star in some inspirational film. Either way, I’m very versatile, so I’d love to be in almost any genre!
As far as directors, there are so many to choose! I may choose Christopher Nolan because his ideas are so creative and unique (I loved both Inception and Tenet, particularly), or Michael Bay, since I’d love to see how he directs incredible action sequences and organizes particulars so as to add in special effects later.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me at @afoxauthor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and Arianna Fox on LinkedIn and YouTube.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
You’re welcome; thank you so much!