We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandee Steger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandee, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking is everything! I don’t know if it’s my astrological sign (Aries!), my free-spirited California girl upbringing or the joy of my inner voice that always wants to go for it, but I truly believe in taking risks. I just think it’s really important to believe in yourself, especially when your instincts are slapping you around. In my life and in my career I’ve always been the one to jump first. When I wanted to start my vintage clothing collection, Harlem RagShop 1934, I just started it. I didn’t one hundred percent know what I was doing, I just believed that I could do it. And I did. I was literally driving by a Betsey Johnson closing sale on Melrose, saw a beautiful Black mannequin in the window, quickly pulled over and asked if I could buy it. They gave me a price and the next thing I knew I was shoving her in my car because I was ready to open an Etsy shop. Everything I put on that mannequin sells! And when my husband and I started our production company, I started writing and producing as if I had been doing it my whole life. At first I would try to get my friends to join in on my big dreams and big ideas. Most of the time they were hesitant or fearful. Luckily, my (Gemini) husband is always ready for anything.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently producing a film that I wrote called, White Like Me. White Like Me (whitelikemethefilm.com) is a feature film about a Black woman who gets so frustrated with her life and so fascinated with the idea of white privilege that she decides to change her appearance to see if things work out differently for her. White Like Me is a big leap for me. I previously produced an award winning short film, starring Ted Danson and an Emmy considered comedic web series called Not So Union. White Like Me will be a full-length feature film starring really incredible actors. I love to talk about race and race issues in America, in the world. I’m actually obsessed with it. And I love comedy. I truly believe that if you can make someone laugh, while still talking about serious issues, you can open up hearts and minds, even if it’s just a crack. Growing up, I loved how TV shows like Archie Bunker were able to accomplish this. My point of view as a California raised middle class Black woman who was the “girl next door” who married the “ambiguous boy next door,” is something Hollywood has never seen before. I believe it’s something that will really stand out on the big screen.

I am most proud of my determination and resilience. Like most artists, I have been told no many times. More times than I’d like to remember. But I continue to work hard and dig deeper into becoming the best artist that I can be. I’ve always wanted to be an artist and I’ve taken many different roads to get here. I’ve tried all the ridiculous stuff and the typical stuff but I’ve learned that the cliche is true, there’s nothing better than working hard and honing your craft. I first learned this from Warner Loughlin, one of my acting teachers. When a challenge arises, I work harder, I study, I read… I fill myself with inspiration. One of my greatest personal accomplishments was when I became a Lifetime member of the Actors Studio where I learned my greatest acting and producing lessons, so far, from the late Martin Landau.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles has some of the best hot spots in the country. I’ve traveled all over the world but like Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home.” If my best friend were visiting for a week, I would first take her to get some sweets because I truly believe in dessert before meals. So first, we would go to Erin McKenna’s bakery on Larchmont. I love their gluten-free and vegan donuts. I’m personally not gluten-free or vegan but like a true Angeleno, I love a healthy option! On the same street, we’d have to make a stop at Jeni’s ice cream shop. Their Wildberry Lavender ice cream and dairy free Frose options are majestic! Next, I’d have to take my bff to get some coffee to go with our desserts. I wouldn’t hesitate to take her to Javista on Sunset. She’d love their yummy iced oat latte and their one of a kind avocado split as a snack. After our sweet, coffee and snack break we’d probably be ready for some Kundalini yoga. So, we’d head over to Yoga West to get highly meditated. After yoga, I’d take my bff to my favorite sushi spot. There are many great sushi places in Los Angeles but I personally love Sushi Time on Beverly Blvd.

Each day, I would have amazing spots to take my bestie. To kick back and ponder we’d visit Beachwood cafe, Hollywood reservoir, Echo Park Lake, Lake Hollywood and even Venice Beach. To feel like we’re living our own version of Sex and the City we’d hang out Downtown at the Ace Hotel or Perch. And to feel beautiful and boujee we’d head to Beverly Hills to shop at Barneys and have lunch at Freds Beverly Hills and dinner at Crustacean. And my best friend would not go home without going ice skating at Pickwick in Burbank. Growing up I trained professionally as a figure skater and I don’t like to go too long without hitting the ice. Toe pick! But anyone who knows me knows that most of our time together would be spent at thrift stores, estate sales, vintage shops and flea markets (Melrose Trading Post and Rosebowl). Unfortunately, I can’t give away my favorite thrift stores because then I’d have to kill whoever reads this BUT I will say this, for some of the best vintage in Los Angeles, my collection (Harlem RagShop 1934) is available online on Etsy and at Vintage Vortex in Hollywood – 5213 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027 @HarlemRagshop1934

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My success, so far, is thanks to the efforts, support, love and encouragement of my husband. Every time I make a decision or decide to take a risk, my husband is always there to support me. Even when my choices are way out of the box, my husband is always there to help me make the box bigger or enjoy the adventures outside of it. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful human being have my back, all the time.

Website: www.whitelikemethefilm.com
Instagram: @brandeesteger @harlemragshop1934
Twitter: @brandeesteger
Facebook: @whitelikemethefilm. @brandeesteger @harlemragshop1934
Yelp: vintage vortex
Youtube: Brandee Steger or Not So Union

Nominate someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.