I would start a movement that promotes self-love, because if you can love yourself, then you will know how to love others. Never get so full that you’re not hungry, and never judge your success based on someone else’s. Always keep seeking growth, and adventure for life is not over until you take your last breath.
I had the pleasure to interview rising star ZONTA. ZONTA, a Los Angeles native, is an actor, singer, dancer, and rapper. As the niece of Cheryl Lynn, the singer best known for her disco hit “Got to be Real,” ZONTA was born with music in her blood. She began her career at the age of 6 and has been working ever since. Her newest project is staring as Mo, the hip hop princess in the musical movie Drama Drama, whose new music video, “Saturday Night,” is now available on YouTube.
Thank you so much for joining us Zonta! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Growing up, I felt alone, and no one understood me. I was the odd one out, but when it came to entertainment, it seemed to be the only way I could communicate with people. I knew at a young age what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I feel like I was destined from the womb to be an Entertainer. I was dancing by age three, and I was acting and singing by age six, probably because I come from a very talented and musical family. My mother was trained as an actress by Beah Richards and recorded for people like Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and Ray Charles, Jennifer Holliday and many more. Mine is aunt Cheryl Lynn whose most famous song “Got to be real” is in Music’s Hall of Fame so I was around music and acting my whole life. I never wanted to do anything else.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Auditioning for American Idol and getting it, only to turn it down to entertain multiple offers that came in at the same time. It was very exciting to know that more than one person or entity wanted my talent. It was exciting and stressful all in one, not knowing which the best avenue for me would be.
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?
There was a time where I was really shy when I auditioned as a young girl. It was a small phase, and I got over it quick because I realized a closed mouth don’t get fed.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am excited to be promoting the movie Drama Drama, and I’m looking forward for it to come out!
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?
Being in the entertainment business, I have struggled with my skin color since day one. From my hair being too greasy, to my skin not being light enough, and to even not bring dark enough. We need more diversity in front of the camera but also behind cameras as well. Including directors, hairstylist, wardrobe stylist who knows how to fit a curvy body without having to cover them up with a trash bag.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Don’t be Naive, because I believed everything anyone told me.
2. Because of my skin color, you have to work harder than anyone else. It was hard for me to see people who weren’t as talented or committed as I was get a job just because their skin was lighter than mine or even darker than mine.
3. Not everyone is your friend! Most of the people I met wanted to be my friend because of what they could get from me or from being with me.
4. Don’t trust people with your secrets because one day they might tell the world.
5. Always focus on you, and when you come up, then you’re in a better position to help someone else or even hire someone else.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Never get so full that you’re not hungry, and never judge your success based on someone else’s. Always keep seeking growth, and adventure for life is not over until you take your last breath.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would start a movement that promotes self-love, because if you can love yourself, then you will know how to love others.
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?
If it weren’t for my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career. She gave up everything not only for me but for all of her kids. She saw something in me that I didn’t always see in my self. When my mother shut down her studio to move with me to LA, I knew at that moment; this is where I’m supposed to be, and I won’t let her down.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Think for yourself trust your intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey; you are.” I’ve missed so many opportunities listening to someone else’s opinion before mine.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
I would have lunch with Pharrell Williams because he has so much knowledge to offer.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
All my social media is IAMZONTA.