We had the good fortune of connecting with Caryn Ward Ross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caryn, why did you pursue a creative career?
I didn’t pursue an artistic or creative career. It pursued me. From the time I was aware that I even existed, probably around 3 or 4 years of age, I’ve always had this subtle, inward interpretation of life that goes something like this: there is more to this human thing than meets the eye. As such I have always lived on a very intuitive and instinctual level. For me, this is the foundation of art and creativity. My artistic path in life has been fueled by a desire to bring these nebulous creative impulses and forces out of my mind and heart, into tangible physical expressions. Whether thats a dance piece I am choreographing, the emotion or nuance of an acting scene, or being a a producer/writer creating characters with depth, complexity and humility. To purse a creative career is most aligned to the Truth of who I am. I feel am most alive and as if I am making a contribution to the world when I am being my artistic self. In addition to my work in television and film, I created my luxury tea brand, MediTEAtions, to anchor intentional living and conscious imbibing. I’m very clear that a big part of my mission in this life is to inspire others in aligning to their authentic purpose. The sacred act of slowing down, sipping tea, combined with affirmations and mindfulness is one way that I am called to do precisely that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I began my career as a child actor. I left the business after having a short-lived television series on CBS, at the age of 14. After living my life in-front of the camera, I went on a painful journey of self-discovery. Who was I without the camera’s around? I pursued the path of getting my degree in Psychology from Howard University, traveling abroad and working at an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. I was doing everything close to the arts, but not doing THE art itself. If I was being honest with myself, I was unfulfilled. What I mean is, I had to ultimately find the courage to pursue my first love–acting–and not pursue things that were parallel or adjacent to acting. So often we will do what Julia Cameron describes as being a “shadow artist”. That was me. I was in close proximity to what I wanted to do (writing copy for an advertising agency), but not doing what truly lights me up on the inside. Upon graduating from Howard I had a choice to make–accept a full time job in NY that was set to begin on Monday or fly back home to Los Angeles and go after the thing I wanted most–to be an actress. I had NO security in Los Angeles and no guarantee the business I had been so successful in as a child would accept me back. I took a chance and with a leap of faith, I moved back into my mother’s house in Los Angeles, California I failed. Miserably. Here I was back at my childhood home going on auditions, getting rejection after rejection. Meanwhile, my friends and colleagues who also graduated were advancing in their careers, getting married, buying homes. As the years went by, I felt the pressure to “make it”. But something in me wouldn’t give up. Trust me, many times I cried, screamed and yelled, “This is it, I’m done!”. But I wouldn’t. I had to dig deep into myself and visualize myself as a success. I am a firm believer in inner child work ( embracing our wildest dreams), and using affirmations to SPEAK INTO EXISTENCE the things that are not yet visible. I meditate and pray daily. I finally started to book roles, small roles on big shows, and big roles on smaller platforms. Now I can say, I am very proud of my body of work. I am now doing what truly lights me up on the inside. I am the executive producer and co-creator of a drama series, with my husband. It is my greatest joy to be able to write, produce and star in my own television series–now in it’s 3rd season. I tried for many years to be on other people’s television shows. Now I hire actors to be on my show. I am still growing as a person and as an artist. I am still speaking and affirming the things that I want. I created my premium loose-leaf teas, MediTEAtions based on these very personal principles. My high-vibration premium teas are apart of my daily meditation and self-care ritual. Mindfulness, balance and staying attuned to myself is how I maintain my creative flow. I believe we all have a purpose that is unique to us, and when we take the time to get still and listen, we are guided.
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?
The Self-Realization Center! I love this place. It’s so beautiful, peaceful and calm. We would sit on the grass and journa–with some of my sacred and delicious MediTEAtions tea :). Then we would hop pn over to Venice and walk the boardwalk, take in the unique sites, artist and food. We would take a tour through my neighborhood, Ladera Heights, and take in the unique architecture of the homes. Ladera Heights has an interesting history. In the 70’s wealthy and affluent African Americans were allowed to move into this secluded enclave of Los Angeles. As such, it is often called “the Black Beverly Hills”. My Father was a medical doctor and my mother is now a retired Attorney. Many entertainers home are in Ladera. And Slauson and OverHill: Going to SIMPLY WHOLESOME to take in the wonderful Caribbean vibes and healing tonics. We’d cap it off with a visit to the LA LOUISANNE–for some live jazz music and the best Gumbo you’ll get this side of the Mississippi. 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?
I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out my incredible mother, Cheryl J. Ward and my amazing husband, Craig Ross Jr. for always seeing the best in me and reminding me of my sacred assignment on this planet. I sip from their cup of love, support and endless encouragement…it truly overflows.
Instagram: @carynwardross and @mediTEAtions_withCaryn
Facebook: @CarynWardRoss, @MediTEAtionswithCaryn
ALL IMAGES Photo Credit: Eric Guideng Hair: Zee Clemente Make-up: Jessica Reid Fox Styling: Kayla Bell