We had the good fortune of connecting with Destinee Stewart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Destinee, why did you pursue a creative career?
I came into my creative career through acting and filmmaking when I was at a low point in life and couldn’t jolt out of my own gray cloud. I had a dream I was in an acting class with gray carpet, red chairs, and red window blinds. A week later, I found myself walking into an acting class and to my surprise, it had the same gray carpet, red chairs, and red window blinds as in my dream! I took it as a sign and I never turned back. Now my creative career not only includes filmmaking, but being in nature and working with children through imaginative play and introducing them to our Mama Earth. This career has saved me on more than one occasion and has opened my mind to how I can use my creativity to make justice and room for others, giving me purpose to continue to share my truth so others can see theirs.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Getting to where I am today took a lot of patience, tears, sacrifice, trust, and a whole lot of wrong turns, which in actuality were right turns/lessons to keep me on path and purpose. I overcame a lot of my struggles and challenges by simply giving myself no other option and prayer – and I’m talking the “I give up, on my knees, in my prayer closet” kind of prayer. My personal life mimics my art life very much. I give myself no other option than to create and I pray, step aside, and trust the process and myself as a vessel. I find play and spirituality in everything that I do and I feel that is what I give to my art – an opportunity for these many truths & stories to play and co-create with the divine.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A daily early AM hike would be the first thing in order. Hiking up a mountain under the rising sun is one of the best healing benefits of living in LA. Some of my favorite local trails: Rainforest Trail, Mission Point, La Jolla, & Monkey Canyon. I always tend to cook more when guests are in town because I love introducing them to the different farmer’s markets around LA. It’s a fun, co-creating experience to venture to the market together and prepare meals together. A few places I do enjoy introducing visitors to are California Roll Factory, Joan’s on Third, & Sweet Chick. Another item on the itinerary would have to be the ocean! I am very grateful to live in a place where I can go to the ocean at any point of the day (and I do!!). I would introduce them to Butterfly Beach, Refugio State Beach, & Treasure Island. To hang out, I have to introduce each visitor to Leimert Park. I love being surrounded by my culture and being able to buy Black at stores like Nappily Naturals and Eso Won Books. There is always fun events going on and I love dancing down Degnan Boulevard to the live music and drums on the weekends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this shoutout to my mother, Jacqueline Stewart, who is the definition of love, grace, and forgiveness. There’s way too many friends and mentors to name, but I would love to highlight some amazing women who made life for me since the Pandemic, a time of joy, reflection, & growth, both personally and professionally: Senda Bonnet, Giovannie Cruz, Lowam Eyasu, Kristin Fairweather, Augustine Frizzell, Sophia Kiapos, Sylvia Ray, and Chelsea Winstanley.
Brown Dress Image – Michelle Terris Black floral dress, African Print Dress, & Pink shirt with mountains – Sylvia Ray BTS photo of me kneeling – Chara Andrews BTS photo of me at car with gaffer – Jonian Palencia