If I could start a movement, it would be the Be You Be Great Movement. I say that because so many people see social media, or TV, or movies and think that’s how they are supposed to be. Especially the younger generation. If you be yourself, you will be great at anything you want to be. Once you truly find yourself and know who you are, you will be able to excel, flourish, be the great person you are destined to be. So many adults that I talk to to this day don’t know their purpose in life, and it’s ok it takes years to understand your purpose, but how can we as a people help others to understand their purpose in life? Be You Be Great will help people to see and understand their purpose.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kimia’ M. Workman. Kimia’ was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland to her parents Coakley and Stephanie Workman as an only child. Beginning her career in theater and dance, she later transitioned to film and television, and also radio and television broadcasting. She is a graduate of Baltimore City Community College, Morgan State University, and Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts. At BCCC, she received her AA in general studies, at Morgan she studied Telecommunications with a concentration in broadcast journalism receiving her B.S. degree, while also studying Theater Arts, and at SIRA, she received a certificate in careers in TV and Radio. Kimia’ was a three season athlete in high school, earning letters in Volleyball, Basketball, and Softball, then went on to play Volleyball and Basketball at the collegiate level. Upon graduating, she sought to focus on a career in entertainment. While studying theater, she also attended many acting seminars, workshops, and classes, and attended Columbia Institute for Modeling and Actor, later being represented by Cima Talent. Kimia’ put on a stunning performance in her first lead role in a short film called Epiphany, which opened doors for many other feature films and short films. She has also made appearances in web series’, commercials, and plays. She has made TV appearances on HBO’s Veep, TV One’s For My Man, BET’s Criminals at Work, and Investigation Discovery’s Nightmare Next Door and Evil Twins. Kimia’ is the founder of TruTalent Creative Works LLC which has produced 2 seasons of her hit web series Shock Nation, which she wrote, produced, and directed. Currently you can catch Kimia’ on Season 2 of Shock Nation which is airing on YouTube, in a Comcast Xfinity commercial, and soon to be on a Nike app. She has currently written a webseries, 3 short films, and 2 feature films. In her spare time, she enjoys sports, mostly basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and boxing, loves working out, and also visits community centers to speak and interact with the youth, as well as provide consultations and hosts workshops.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kimia’! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up on the east side of Baltimore, Md. I’m an only child, but I have a lot of cousins. I had a great childhood. My parents always worked very hard (even to this day) to make sure they can provide the best living for their family as possible. They put me in dance classes at the early age of 6 and I loved it. That’s what got me started in the entertainment industry. In elementary school I also played the clarinet, and tried the flute, but hated it and went right back to the clarinet. By 5th grade, I started to dabble in cheerleading and I kept looking across the playground watching the boys playing basketball. One day in cheerleading practice, I walked over there and asked could I play. That was the moment I realized cheerleading wasn’t for me, lol. I started playing basketball and kept playing all the way through college.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
While in high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t like computers, I knew I didn’t like math, but my favorite subjects were English, French, Marketing, and Theater. I thought I may want to major in Theater, but I kept getting backlash about it not being a career. Plus the college I wound up attending did not have Theater as a major, but I took theater classes as my electives. So in high school my career opp teacher just handed me an application for an internship at BCPS News. I had absolutely no experience in communications, but the crazy thing is, our school had a communications magnet program, but I wasn’t in it. Anyway, I got the internship and was a reporter and on-camera anchor for the news station. After that, I knew for sure I wanted to go to college to study Communications. However, after my college internship at a news station, I realized “news” wasn’t for me. I loved doing entertainment news, but not regular news. So through high school and college, since I was always taking theater classes, I finally realized that that was what I really wanted to do. After graduating college, I attended an acting school called Columbia Institute for Modeling and Acting and started finding ways to submit myself for castings and the rest is history.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Interesting or funny, because I’ve had quite a few funny stories, lol. But the most interesting thing is I’ve been able to meet so many people from 50 cent, to T.I, to J Cole, to David E. Talbert and many more. I love being able to network with people and get tips from those that are on a bigger level than I am. I’ve won actress of the year award 2 years in a row for the DMV Movie and Music Awards and have been featured in a few magazines, blogs, and have done several radio shows. I just love it all. I’m sure I’ll have more interesting stories as I move up the ladder though, lol.
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?
Yes, lol. When I first started trying to find gigs, my go to was Craigslist. Now craigslist at the time did have legit castings. That’s actually how I got my first professional theater gig after college. After a while, it started to seem like some of their castings were suspect. So I got an email from one about an audition. When I arrived, it looked weird. It was like in the back of an abandoned building, the hallway was dark, and I saw a room with a light, but I didn’t hear or see anyone. I decided to turn right around and not even bother going in that room. Lesson learned was always do your research on auditions. Research the location and try to find pictures, research the people and see what other projects that have done or been a part of, and go with your gut feeling. If it feels suspect, just don’t waste your time or energy. But like I said that was my very first source I used and I didn’t know what I was doing, lol.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Shock Nation is exciting, not only because I wrote it, lol, but because everyone loves the storyline. It keeps people engaged, it’s relatable, and inspirational. I enjoy working on that, plus it’s my baby. I look to start working on Season 3 in the next month. I’m also excited about another series I’m in called Toll Booth. I play a character named Kim, and I really get to experiment and be a completely different person with her. We start that back up for Season 3 in July. I just wrapped a short film for the 48 hour Film Project which will be screening at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring in June. I’m in a play about autism, but it’s interesting because it gives serious information, but it’s also comedic at the same time. It’s called Same Script Different Cast which will show for one night in June as well. I’m in a hip hop stage play called The Show which is coming back for 2nd time in August, and I’m co-directing a short film called Broke Exchange Uncoded that starts filming in late September-October.
I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
We live in a society where the world it self is a melting pot of individuals from various backgrounds and all walks of life. It is important for all industries to represent the world we live in given today’s climate. Diversity and inclusion matter because future generations will tend to see themselves in the content that is being produced and they too can start to believe that they can do anything. That’s what I strive for, even in my series I wrote, to inspire the next generation that no matter your skin tone, background, situations, ethnicity, hair type, etc. that if you truly believe you can do it, then you can, but it starts with them ingraining it in their mind and it being represented in a positive light in the media.
From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
- Allow more diversity connects (including, writers, producers, etc.) to come from big 6 networks
- Having all races, genders and ethnicities to have a seat at the table with decision makers or become the decision makers themselves to influence more openings of more diverse roles
- Support diverse content, whether it’s indie or mainstream because even the smallest bit of support matters.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- To get a mentor — It took me years to get a mentor. Many people always ask me questions and want to know how I get booked, etc. but I didn’t have anyone to really go to to ask questions when I first started.
- Do your research before you go to auditions — There are many scams out here and crazy people looking to take advantage of new actors, models, or singers.
- Don’t spend tons of money on talent scouting events — Although in some cases it’s really good networking and people do walk out of those events with meetings with agents or managers, but now I would rather get in the smaller rooms of workshops, or intensives, instead of going to events where there are 1,000s of other actors at the same event.
- Don’t say yes to every project — You’re new and you want to be apart of everything that someone has asked you to build your resume, but not all work is good work. Quality over quantity is what I learned later down the road.
- It’s going to take a lot of patience — Everything is in your due time. Just don’t quit because you never would know where you end up if you would’ve kept going
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would say be very selective in the roles they take. There’s nothing worse than wasting your time. So many people start projects and don’t finish, or they finish and the actor still never sees it or gets any scenes for their reel. Just don’t try to do everything, you can’t please everybody.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well thank you for that. I definitely appreciate that, but I know I still have a long way to go. If I could start a movement, it would be the Be You Be Great Movement. I say that because so many people see social media, or tv, or movies and think that’s how they are supposed to be. Especially the younger generation. If you be yourself, you will be great at anything you want to be. Once you truly find yourself and know who you are, you will be able to excel, flourish, be the great person you are destined to be. So many adults that I talk to to this day don’t know their purpose in life, and it’s ok it takes years to understand your purpose, but how can we as a people help others to understand their purpose in life? Be You Be Great will help people to see and understand their purpose.
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?
I have so many people that I’m grateful for. First I have to start off with my mother and father. They’ve been supporting me from the very beginning. They kicked out money when I was younger for events and workshops, and attended any and everything I’ve ever had going on. Then there’s my friends and family who show love and support. More recently it has been my boyfriend and my team who have been motivating me like no other. We talk about bigger levels of success every day. My mentor Mark Harris, who is a writer/director has invited me on set of his production and is open to sharing information about what he did to be successful. I appreciate any and everyone who has ever shared anything on social media, or came to anything I’ve been a part of. All that keeps me going and letting me know I’m going in the right direction. I appreciate all those people who want to see me succeed and will always be grateful and humble.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Honestly, as cliché as it may be, Justin Beiber said “Never Say Never if you know you can do what you love don’t give up.” I live by that because there has been times, where it has been a struggle. From spending all my money to go to a workshop and never getting a call back, to using my last bit of money on gas to drive a hour to an audition and not getting a call back, to put my time and effort into a project that I never see and never goes anywhere. At some point, most people give up and just say maybe it wasn’t for me. But I strive to keep going. I know it’s not going to come easy, or fast, but I know it’s going to come.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
There’s plenty of people I would want to sit down and have breakfast or lunch with, but I would have to say Martin Lawrence. He’s a legend in this industry! An icon! It’s so many other people I could name, but just knowing that I grew up watching Martin and all his movies, he just seems so cool and laid back all the time. He was a creator of his own show he starred in, and played multiple characters. I’m not a comedian, but I would just love to learn from him and see what industry knowledge and advice he would spit to me. I just think being around him and meeting him would be so dope.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Sure, they can follow me on:
Facebook: Kimia’ Workman
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you. I really appreciate it!