We had the good fortune of connecting with Leilani Patrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leilani, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I think one of the most important factors behind my success as a brand is being able to give back to my community. It is extremely important for me to create a platform that accurately represents my culture throughout various forms of film and art. I want Black & Brown children to feel at home and inspired when they watch my animated films. I want to encourage Black women and men to create content that relates to their own personal experiences without needing permission. I want realistic representation of us spread throughout mass media. I want those who are apart of my community to become aware of the vast amount of opportunity that is present within the creative worlds of film and art. I want them to have access to those opportunities as well as other creative resources. I want to help myself, in order to help others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For a really long time, I felt as though I wasn’t talented or skillful enough to share my content with others. Now that I am fully aware of my purpose and potential, my art has become extremely exciting and special to me. It’s so important for me to execute my ideas exactly the way that I envision them in my head. Whether it’s a graphic design, a short film, an outfit, a party, etc. I am most proud of the decisions that I have made this year. In July, I decided to depart from the amazing people that I worked for, in order to invest in my career. The thought of quitting your job during a pandemic to pursue a freelance graphic design career in LA sounds terrifying, doesn’t it!? However, I felt as though I was being driven by two different people. A fearful side of me brought up some important concerns, “How are you going to pay your bills?”, “What if this doesn’t work out?”, “You don’t seriously think you can do this, do you?”, “Well what if you fall?”. While a more positive side of me aggressively argued, “No, now is the time to make your dreams come true!”, “You can do anything you put your mind to!”, “God is by your side, you can not fall”, “Oh and what if you fly!?” While I haven’t fully figured life out, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons along the way of discovering my purpose. Prayer, patience and action are key. I’ve prayed for years on this, and now God has given me the opportunity and the resources to put my creative foot forward and bet on myself!
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.
First, we would absolutely have to grab mimosas and shrimp & grits from my all time favorite breakfast spot, The Coffee Company in Westchester, CA. We’d then drive over to Marina Del Rey, rent a boat with a couple of friends and take the boat out for the day. During their visit, we’d absolutely have to hit up the Smhokin’ Pot food truck and get some Whiskey Wings, Garlic Shrimp Fries, and their Lobster Grilled Mac & Cheese in Hawthorne, CA. If they are parked at Common Space Brewery, we’d walk over and get some delicious beer on tap while sitting at their picnic tables under streamed lights. Zacatecas Restaurant in Hawthorne is another food spot that is an absolute must! Their chicken tacos and strawberry margaritas are bananas! As far as nightlife, I’d take them Downtown to a sexy rooftop lounge such as The Perch, or we’d stay close and go to Rush (Culver City) or Game Sports Bar Restaurant and Lounge (GS) on a Saturday night. For a day trip, we’d drive out to Old Town Pasadena and spend the day shopping and eating good food. On another night, we’d rent a Slingshot and ride throughout South Central, while grabbing a Caribbean Sunshine from Simply Wholesome on Slauson Ave. and some lemon pepper wings from Mike’s Deli that is just right up the street. We’d also take a drive out to Palos Verdes to see the picturesque views of the coast. On another day, we’d do brunch at Escala in Koreatown and listen to some fire music, while eating sancocho and getting a little too tipsy off of their mango mimosas. I’m sure I’m forgetting so many fun and exciting things to do, but good weather and good eats are all you really need here in Los Angeles.
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 like to dedicate my shoutout to the incredible Elaine Welteroth. Elaine is an awarding winning New York Times bestselling author and she also goes down in history as the youngest Editor-in-Chief at a Conde Nast publication (FOD/First Only Different)! Elaine first caught my eye earlier this year, as I was rushing to the checkout line in Target. It wasn’t until I noticed a bright blue book relentlessly staring at me saying, “Pick Me, Pick Me!” Without having the slightest clue as the what the book was about or even the title, I briefly interrupted my hasty walk to put the book in my cart. Now why was I in such a rush to the checkout line? Beats me. All I know is something about seeing a brown-skinned woman, who appears to be within my age group, with a head full of curly hair on a book cover in Target spoke to me. After reading “More Than Enough”, it was pretty clear as to why her book picked me because I kid you not, I yelled “OMG, girl! Same!” a billion times as I flipped through the pages. I almost felt like I was reading an entire book about myself. Elaine’s passionate drive along with her unapologetic attitude is what us women need more of in this world. Not to mention she’s absolutely hilarious. “When the world tells you to shrink, expand.” – Elaine Welteroth