We had the good fortune of connecting with Anngelica-Marie Eshesimua and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anngelica-Marie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic career because I knew deep down that I would not be fulfilled doing anything else. I have always loved storytelling and the arts, and thankfully my artistic inclinations were supported and nurtured at a young age by my mother, who is also an artist. My mother has always had a skill for the written word, but was encouraged to pursue a more “reasonable” career in the law. When she faced prejudices an injustice in her career as a Haitian attorney, she gave voice to her plight through creating a short film; at eight years old, I watched strangers become family within the confines of our home as they worked together to tell my mother’s story. I even had the joy of acting in it! Seeing how film gave a voice to her story, my love of the arts grew. Writing, acting, and filmmaking, to me, is a form of communication and communion that is everlasting and pertinent to living–and I that’s why I relentlessly pursue a career in the arts.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work as a dramedy writer focuses on women of color that dismantle everyday prejudiced systems as they reinvent their identities in the process. These underdog stories that fuel my art are deeply rooted in my 1st Generation Haitian/Nigerian identity, as my mother and I had to rebuild our lives after a grave injustice that remains largely untold–for now. My artistic journey started on a sunny Miami school day during my first grade year when my father arrived with life changing news; I’d be temporarily moving with my mother to New York City to finish out the school year, as she was to enroll in a program at the New York Film Academy. I did not know the reason at the time, but this major upheaval was the basis of my mother equipping herself with the filmmaking skills to make her first short film, In God’s Shadow, about the corruption and disenfranchisement she faced at the hands of the Florida Bar. A beacon of her vindication, I’ve incorporated this same fighting spirit into all my works. My most recent short film inspired by my own life, The Broken Key, is my fighting call; an ode to Black youth in underserved communities that have a love and talent in the arts, but racially systematic barriers have crippled their right to grow. After making her short film, my mother and I moved to the inner city of Rochester, New York. Thrusted into this environment and forced to adjust, I struggled to identify who I really was and who I wanted to be. My passions in the arts fell to the wayside as I buried myself in academics–the only clear way to receive a scholarship and create a stable life. However, my creativity and love of storytelling cut through the confusion, and I retrained my focus to developing my creative abilities and telling our story in the process. Through this journey, I learned that everyone has a purpose in life. Yes, there will be many obstacles along the path, but these barriers to fulfillment do not diminish us, but rather affirm our strengths in the face of adversity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sunday – Brunch & Melrose Trading Post: Bottomless Mimosas and eclectic window shopping. Need I say more? That night we can go to a Rooftop Cinema show. Monday – Picnic at the Getty Museum: I have been to the Getty over half a dozen times. I love and admire visual artists, and the vast amount of art within the Getty makes me really happy–and sharing that with a friend makes it even better. The views of Los Angeles on a clear day are breathtaking. Laying on the grass with an awesome food spread is the cherry on top of the day! Tuesday – The Grove and Groundlings Show: The Grove is a classic tourist attraction, I gotta do it. I love improv, and the Groundlings do it so well! Wednesday – DTLA Day: Stopping by The Last Bookstore, hopefully while there is an event happening so we can sit and enjoy, dinner at Grand Central Market, then heading over to Perch for drinks and a view Thursday – Wild in WeHo: After a nice stroll in the neighborhood, stopping by my beloved Salt and Straw for ice cream. I’ll encourage them to get Honey Lavender, of course! Afterwards we would recoup, then go to a friend’s place to hang out and hit Santa Monica Blvd for a good time. Friday – The Beach: Making Our way from the Venice Canals and the Venice Boardwalk, then ride scooters to Santa Monica and enjoy the sun. Saturday – Eaton Canyon and Griffith Observatory: Starting the day with a hike to the falls, a refreshing departure from the city. The Observatory, another one of my favorite spots, has a view at night that is amazing, and a perfect way to end the trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my success to the professional cinematic arts organization, Delta Kappa Alpha. Through this group of talented and inspirational people that I joined my freshman year at USC, I have found lifelong collaborators: Matt Allen, Brandon Le, Antoinette Ricchio, Justice Schiappa, Sydney Coleman and many more. From the foundation of DKA, Downbeat Entertainment, founded by myself, Matt Allen, and Carol Antoinette, has grown and continues to grow into a production company that fosters inclusivity in front of and behind the camera for this generation and the next.
Brandon Le, Duanduan Hsieh