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

Hi Christal, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Most people in America equate success with money and status. It’s the American way. For a while, I too was obsessed with increasing the amount of followers I had and counting the service receipts from my many creative endeavors.

However, in 2016, my perspective of success changed forever. My best friend and sister Karen gave what would be her last bit of advice to me on a Wednesday night in the hospital room of the cancer wing of Rush Hospital. I sat there trying to find something to talk about that wouldn’t unleash the well of tears ready to burst from my eyes. I told her about an opportunity I had to follow my creative dreams and pursue them on a more professional level in a different state. I brought it up with no intention of actually following through because there was no way I was going to move and leave my sister and my family while she was fighting for her life.

Her jaundiced eyes looked up at me, piercing my soul, and she spoke softly but firmly saying “Chris, don’t stay here because of circumstances.” In that moment, I vowed to my sister that I would live my life regardless of what external circumstances tried to hold me back. When she died, and my family became overwhelmed with all the messages of gratitude and love for Karen and how she’d impacted their lives, I realized how successful she was. She lived a life that added value to others and, because of that, her legacy lives on.

The success of my brand lies in the understanding that I have value to add to other people. Yes, I want to generate revenue. But more than that, I want to help people. I want to make a difference and impact people and not be afraid to go after everything I believe I was created to accomplish in this life.

When people work with me, they aren’t just another job bringing me money. I consider it an honor and a duty to share my gifts and talents to make their lives better and to add value to their brands. Their success is my success. Knowing that I do this because I was born to be wildly creative and to serve others with my creativity drives me daily to be a brand that is trustworthy and steadfast.

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.
People have often told me that I am involved in way too much at once and need to focus on one thing. “Be a singer OR an actress OR a business owner…you can’t do all of it.”

First of all, I rarely listen to people who tell me I can’t do something. I don’t use the word “can’t” often, unless it’s reminding myself that I can’t give up. While I understand that people get concerned that doing too much at once leads to confusion for the target audience, I think it’s less about what you do and more about how you do it.

Having multiple talents is like cooking thanksgiving dinner. I don’t know anyone who just has turkey for the whole meal and that’s it. Can you cook everything start to finish all at once? Not successfully. But you can start working on the yams while the turkey is soaking in the brine, and have the pies in the oven while preparing the cranberry sauce. And now we’re all hungry. (Sorry LOL).

I got where I am today by first believing that I can do all the creative things I’m gifted to do: singing, acting, writing, speaking, photography, videography, graphic design and content creation. I know it’s a lot, but I’m equipped to do each of them well and I have the ability to give attention to each talent as needed.

It has not been easy. Like anything worth having, my creative journey has had many obstacles that have challenged and stretched, making me stronger and wiser. From a lack of resources to suffering the enormous loss of loved ones like my sister, I overcame each challenge by reminding myself that my creative journey is necessary for the betterment of other people. Somewhere in the world, there are people waiting on my video or my song or whatever service I provide. The answer they are looking for is in the work I create, so I must be diligent and not allow myself to hesitate or procrastinate.

When people hear the name Christal Luster, I want them to know that it’s not only the shiniest name they’ll ever see, but it’s also a name that stands in purpose on purpose. I am determined to share my creative gifts with the world on the screen, behind the camera, through a book…however they will have me. My passion is to help people live well through creative inspiration. I want my creative work to unlock the potential of whomever is taking it all in.

There is no one else who can do what I do how I do it and that is my superpower. That is what sets me apart.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were coming to visit LA for the weekend, I’d take them to all the places I went for my last trip there. Fresh off the plane the first place we’d go is to Leo’s Taco Truck because tacos are life. We’d visit Rodeo Drive and do some shopping. We’d take a day to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame and take pictures by all the Stars, and pick out a great spot for our future stars. It’s not much and it’s super touristy but definitely worth it.

Now if we visited my hometown Chicago for the week, I’d pick a different cultural spot for each day.

Monday, we’d take in the north side and visit all the cool shops, walk past Wrigleyville (but not stop because I’m a diehard White Sox fan). We’d be sure to eat at Batter & Berries, my favorite spot in Lincoln Park. Get the super flight of French toast and thank me later.

Tuesday, we’d go to the west loop and take pictures in all the colorful nooks and crannies. If there were no COVID restrictions, we’d definitely have dinner and a show at Home Run Inn pizza (not my favorite but still pretty good) and then go check out Comedy Sportz which is one of my favorite improv shows ever.

Wednesday, we’d hit up the heart of downtown, check out the water tower and do some shopping, eat lunch at Grand Luxe and dinner at Eddie V’s if we’re extra fancy. And then head to the south loop to take in some live music at Buddy Guy’s because nothing fills the soul quite like live blues in the middle of the week.

Thursday, we’d spend the day appreciating the south side of Chicago. Maybe take in a Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field, get a Chicago Style hot dog or some Italian beef and ice from Ferros. And we’d definitely have to take in some of the amazing art at Gallery Guichard because we’re cultured like that.

Friday would be a field trip to some of the Chicago legends. The Willis Tower (although true Chicagoans will always call it the Sears Tower), the Field Museum, The Adler Planetarium, Navy Pier and then settle it all down with some Chicago Deep Dish pizza from Giordanos.

On Saturday, I’d want to take my friend to the places I frequent most–the south suburbs. The busyness of Chicago is fun, but sometimes you want to get away to the quiet and the free parking LOL. We’d head out to Frankfort to eat at Fat Rosies Tacos and Tequila, check out Orland Square Mall to people watch and then indulge in a scenic stroll downtown Homewood and finish off the night at Flavor Brunch in Hazel Crest.

I think the most interesting people in Chicago are small business owners. They have the best stories to tell about how they started their businesses. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d have to say that a great part of my success as a business owner and a creative is thanks in large part to my family and our family business Essations, Inc. Growing up in one of the only black-owned hair care manufacturing companies taught me so much about faith, creativity, excellence and determination. I literally grew up in a manufacturing plant, watching my parents take ideas and literally make them a lucrative reality. My siblings modeled creativity for me in a myriad of different ways from fitness to beauty care businesses. Most importantly, even though it has been tough at times, working with my family taught me about doing things out of love. That’s a principle I believe has added great value to my own business today.

Website: www.christalluster.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christalluster/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christalluster

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/christalluster

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

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAQyQUYvqsasJ0YZ4KOBMEA

Image Credits
IMG_5229 – Emily Gualdoni New pic – Christal Luster (Christal Clear Productions, LLC) All others by Luminous Lenz Photography LLC

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