Most importantly — don’t become Hollywood. In other words, stay humble, and always keep in mind if it weren’t for the opportunities given to you and the support of the fans, you would just be like any other average person who is unknown to most of the world.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Mishy Dawn. Michelle is a single mother who has raised two boys, one who is college currently studying to be a civil rights attorney and business major and the other a dedicated artist working to get his work placed in galleries and sold as merchandise. Michelle studied at the University of Maryland while serving in the Army and is a business major. She has since rejoined the entertainment industry after a 20 year hiatus and is now currently acting, modeling, singing, songwriting and writing her memoirs for future production in publishing and entertainment.
Thank you so much for joining us Michelle! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Since I was about 3, I have been animated and creative and that is when I decided I was going to become a big star. I did not grow up like most people, therefore I was not able to pursue my dreams until about that age of 19 years old, where I first entered the industry by modeling.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
The most interest things I have experienced, I’m actually experiencing now. I first went back into the industry by competing in the 2019 Maxim Covergirl Contest. Since competing, it has seemed like every door and every opportunity has opened up, as if to say, “it’s about time you got here”.
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?
I think the funniest thing that happened is when I was approached about the movie I will be filming in March 2020. I had to do a video test audition and I had to act as if someone just got shot and it was supposed to be a dramatic scene. The problem was no lived people were around for me to do the scene with, so I was using a pillow for the person shot. I felt embarrassed and I had to do the video 3 times. The lesson I learned is to not let yourself get caught up in the reality of what is surrounding you but to get lost in the experience itself. Remembering that the most important aspect of creating art is to convey to others what your vision and talents really are.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am signed with LuvBug Productions founded by Herb Smith as a promotional model and I am slated to do at least 3 festivals in 2020 to include Boston, Miami and Chicago. Next, I am going to be appearing as a supporting actress in the film entitled “IF” that will be shooting in Chicago March 2020 that was written and is being directed and produced by Kenneth Joseph of Pretty Boy Films, Inc. I am also working with an organization call MADD founded by Ronnell Pachello. MADD stands for Making A Difference Daily, and their message is to advocate against violence and suicide. I am on the music tour committee panel and I will also be performing on the national tour at universities, colleges and venues that will be announced soon. I am also working on some song projects and collaborations. However, the project that is the closest to my heart is where I am writing my life story which has included discussions with producers and publishing companies to distribute my book and turn it into either a movie or television series.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
To be honest with you, I feel like everyone I meet is interesting in their own right. Some are eccentric artists; others are really passionate about their craft and ideas. The thing I hear the most from people I meet is that they say there is so much more to me than meets the eye. It is such a compliment when I am told statements like, “you are really intelligent” and “I am excited to work with you because I you’re so “real”” or “I really like your vibe”.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Get as much rest as you can and drink a lot of coffee, lol. Seriously though, I think that one thing anyone just starting in the industry should keep in mind is that you can’t take on too much or you will lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish. Just keep the ideas and opportunities in mind but work on the projects that you feel the most passionate about and don’t lose sight of who you are or where you came from.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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 that is where I feel fortunate. I am already working with an organization that is exactly what I have been trying to promote for a movement for quiet some time. The best part about working with the MADD organization is that it not only encompasses topics such as domestic violence, gun violence and bullying, but it also embraces the need for awareness as it pertains to suicide. Being a disabled veteran, it hit too close to home when the newest statistics were released about the staggering number of suicides happening to our retired, veteran, reservist, national guard and active duty military members. We are grateful to have such a tremendous amount of support and backing from members of the music industry performing arts and other influential arenas.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
This is a hard question to answer because unlike most, everything I learned in life was exclusively learned through life experience. What that means is I never had anyone to tell me what to look out for or what to be aware of, so therefore everything I have learned throughout my life has been strictly through trial and error. I am still learning today. But if I were to give 5 things to let people know that come into this business or industry it would be the following:
- Stay true to yourself and what you believe in.
- Take each opportunity presented to you are a learning tool to grown from.
- Not every project will be a success, but regardless of the success level of it, it is never a failure because you put yourself into it and that will never be considered a failure.
- Regardless of the level of popularity, don’t just enter the field with the belief you’re going to be an instant star or become very rich, because the reality is, there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing, maybe with even more talent and a majority of them have regular jobs because in this industry the work a lot of the times is not constant enough to make a full time living on.
- Most importantly — don’t become Hollywood. In other words, stay humble, and always keep in mind if it weren’t for the opportunities given to you and the support of the fans, you would just be like any other average person who is unknown to most of the world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The only dream that can destroyed is the one where you allow others to destroy what is uniquely your vision. This is my own personal life lesson quote and this is relevant to me because it can be hard to convey a dream or a vision to a person who is not at the same level, doesn’t have the same insight or simply just does not understand what you are trying to create. But through personal conviction, dedication, and a solid belief in yourself and your vision, the only way a dream won’t become a reality, is if you let the ones who don’t share your vision or your dream, convince you that it will not be realized or accomplished.
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?
Yes. I had a music teacher in middle school, by the name of Mr. McKinley, who in his younger days was a part of a band and turned to teaching when he no longer performed himself. He was such an inspiration to me. I will never forget the day he made me realize that I had raw talent that could be shared with others. One day, I was in the back of the class and he had all of us singing. I was scared and shy but somehow, he still could hear my voice over everyone else. He stopped all of us singing and asked me to come to the front of the class. I was petrified. He had me imitate some notes with him. The end result was that he put me in a few musical plays such as Annie and the Wizard of Oz and he also had me do a solo of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. 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 see this. 🙂
Wow, well in the music industry it would have to be Sade. She was my ultimate inspiration for my musical career. In the performing arts, it would have to be Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry. They both knew the true meaning of struggle and coming from nothing, but, proved that the fire within can’t be extinguished by the struggle and pain of life’s experiences, but it can only be enhanced and fuel the fire for real greatness.
In business, I really feel like any woman who has climbed her way to the top to sit with the big boys and run huge companies with grace and finesse would be any woman I would feel honored to meet and share a meal with. I feel like these individuals all gave a piece of themselves that proved to be a motivating factor in what I have grown to currently be and what I further aspire to be. Shared experiences and similar values are what separates those who do and those who don’t.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Facebook name is Michelle Mishy Dawn Summers and my Instagram and Snapchat are under the name of Michelle Mishy Dawn. Also, anyone who would like to contact me personally can email me at my business email: [email protected]
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!