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

Hi Aleia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Ever since I can remember I have been a risk taker. My mom would probably agree. At a young age of 5, she had to come to my rescue after I decided to flip over a bar to roll down a metal slide in Kindergarten. I didn’t care that it was risky, or that I could possibly bust my head open (which is what happened). I just wanted to feel the adrenaline and try something different than the other kids. Haha! I’ve always been different.

I would not be where I am in my career if it weren’t for me taking risks and stepping out on faith. Risks are scary but it all boils down to trying. It boils down to how bad you really want it. You will never know what can happen until you at least try.
Going into my senior year of college I was set to graduate that summer. However, I was ready to graduate and step out into the real world so I made to decision to take all 8 of my remaining classes during the spring semester. This took a heap of signatures from Deans of my school because of the crazy work load that I’d be taking on. I succeeded and graduated from Florida A&M in April of 2017.

A month later, I packed up all of my things and moved to Atlanta in hopes of somehow getting my foot in the door of the film industry. I didn’t have much money nor much of a plan, just a degree and a dream. In a few weeks I was connected with a producer who landed me a job on the Flavor Unit + Netflix film “The Trap” as an assistant to Director Erik White. That experience opened a lot of doors for me and allowed me to continue to network on many sets as a Production Assistant.

After 2 years of being in Atlanta, I decided that if I wanted to gain more exposure as a screenwriter I needed to make the big move to Los Angeles. The next few months were some of the scariest, faith-deterring times of this entire journey. I spent a few months homeless, living with strangers, trying to stretch meals, just for my dream. LA was a huge wake up call. It was not easy, but I believed.

In 2020 one of my scripts got into the hands of an Exec at a major studio. He enjoyed my writing and sent it to a few managers. This led me to being repped by BELLEVUE. Having a literary manager has allowed me to learn so much about the industry and becoming a better writer in general. It has also opened up doors and granted me access to meeting with Execs of some of the most popular production companies.

My career has been all about taking risks and trusting what only God has shown me. It’s me and him and that’s all that matters. In order to get what you want sometimes you have to leave that city, leave that relationship, stay in and write instead of going out. It takes a lot of sacrifices. I know it all will be worth it VERY, VERY soon.

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.
From a very young age I began showing interest in the arts; particularly acting and writing. My mom placed me in acting summer camps and sent me to auditions for commercials. Early on, my mother noticed my eagerness and willingness to make others laugh and smile. By the age of 9 I wrote my first screenplay, self-taught and all because I wanted to tell stories. I wasn’t the typical kid that watched cartoons. I was more likely to be watching films like Friday & Boyz N the Hood. These stories eventually made me want to tell my own. The realness and authenticity stuck out to me. For this reason, I have keen interest in telling stories that others are afraid to talk about. Ones that will make you think and have conversations. My experience on set of shows and films as both a P.A. and director’s assistant have gave me lots of knowledge about filmmaking as a whole. Dialogue is one of those things I’ve been told I’m amazing at ever since I started writing. I plan on using my art to say some shit. Whether it makes some feel uncomfortable, or some feel seen I just want to be that writer that tells it like it is. I will use my personal experiences, the ones folks bury inside or hide, to be a voice for us all. I as a 27 year old black lesbian, coming out at the age of 13 was a HUGE deal. I experienced things very early on that most did not experience until much later. I will unapologetically be an open book, a diary through my art.

I am most proud of myself for staying disciplined. This isn’t an easy task for most, and that’s why most can’t chase a dream. Nowadays there are more distractions than ever. I too have become distracted at times, but I have had God on myself to position me back where I needed to be and reminded me of the vision.

The 2020 release of my book ‘LOSS & FOUND’ is extremely special to me. It tells of my journey thus far, not just in the industry but in life as well. I tackle topics like grief, pain, sexuality, and even religion and how these topics have allowed me to become my best self. My goal for sharing my journey at just 25 (at the time of the release) was for others my age, older, and even younger to see themselves in me and know that we are all very similar.

I can’t wait for you all to see what I have coming up. I know that 2022 is going to be huge for me. My screenwriting has folks on my radar and it’s a damn good feeling. Aleia Kristene is a name that will go down in history as a force to be reckon with.

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?
Alright, so boom! I’m not gonna lie, I don’t go out a lot. I did all of that in college. Haha! However, I do love eating. So if my best friend was in town I’d definitely take them to ‘The Waffle’ on Sunset for breakfast. I absolutely love their strawberry cheesecake waffles and turkey bacon. It’s crack. And they make strong mimosas so that’s a plus! Then we’d head over to Amoeba just a block over on Hollywood. This would be a good time for them to take a few photos of some of the stars on the Walk of Fame as well. Amoeba is my favorite store to visit. The movie/music lover in me can’t get enough. They have thousands of vinyl records, CD’s, cassette tapes, DVD’s, etc. At one point I used to visit the store at least once a week. We’d visit Rodeo Drive and do a little window shopping. I’d also drive up a mountain to get a good view of the Hollywood sign.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When it comes to credit I always give it the ONE who has been there since day ONE, and that’s my mother. The roads we have traveled have not been easy but she has loved me like no other. Despite the somewhat seemingly crazy decisions I have made since the beginning she has always been a phone call away and a shoulder to cry on. I know that she’s always got my back and I appreciate it beyond words. Having a parent in your corner even when they don’t totally understand what you’re doing is a blessing. When I didn’t have anywhere to stay after being in LA for a few weeks, my mom never told me to come home. She sacrificed and made sure I had a place to lay my head for a few days at a time, from all the way across the country. Thank you for trusting me and riding with me on this journey, MOM. I swear I’ve got you. You will be able to kick your feet up soon, for sure.

Shoutout to Otis at Flavor Unit Entertainment for answering my DM back in 2016 and entertaining a young screenwriter’s dream. I was in my junior year of college, trying to figure out how to get a script off the ground. He encouraged me, stayed in touch, and was the one who put me on as a director’s assistant on “The Trap” (Netflix). As a whole, the entire Flavor Unit team has been very supportive of me, from Queen to Shakim. I appreciate you guys. And Keith, you truly are a great guy!

Website: www.aleiakristene.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aleiakristene/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aleia-kristene-48620229/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aleiakristene

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AleiaKristene/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHDJ8aF7zFb3GGTKNOe3sdA

Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@aleiakristene95

Image Credits
Brandon Wolf

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