We had the good fortune of connecting with Lori Webster and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lori, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has always been a key part of my greatest milestones in life. While great reward comes with great risk, sometimes fear does creep in. Moving to California from rural North Carolina was a seismic shift for me — away from family and everything I knew, all in pursuit of a dream. Sounds familiar, right? Still, fear of the unknown for me far outweighs the regret of not going for it. When the well-intended fears of others made me second-guess my plans to head West, my mom reminded me that the same airline that I’d arrived on could be the same one to bring me back if things didn’t work out. From that moment on, I knew life for me would be unconventional but always full of adventure.
Since that one-way flight from NC to CA, I’ve traveled all over the world, been on the frontlines of historic moments in the struggle for social justice, and collaborated with people from all walks of life — experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Calculated risk has made all the difference. I’m far from reckless but have become increasingly more confident in leveraging fear as motivation rather than limitation. Every risk I’ve taken hasn’t always resulted in a win, but each new experience has brought growth and wisdom for the next milestone. Two principles I’ve come to embrace more by the day is bet big on myself and expect the unexpected. Both ideals have been both liberating and scary but hands-down have brought about the greatest triumphs of my life so far — most recently, becoming my own boss.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a Director + Writer with a heart for activism. What sets me apart is my attention to detail. In my films nuanced detail gives a narrative its flavor or a character their unique flair. It’s also inspired the name of my company — Hidden Gem Stories. There are so many treasures in plain sight that society dismisses or fails to see, but upon closer look, there’s so much more than meets the eye. Whether it’s a moment of inspiration or food for thought, my mission through cinematic arts is to pay homage to the treasured experiences of everyday people.
What I’m most excited about is the time that we’re in right now. Though humanity has faced great challenge, more opportunities have emerged for marginalized people to not only be seen but to be heard. I consider myself part of that community and fully embrace the opportunity to continue standing tall and using my voice for the greater good.
The path to becoming my own boss has not been easy, but it’s only the beginning of great things to come. The way I overcome challenges along the way is to bet big on myself. So often we look to others for validation when the one person who should always be convinced of how great you are or the value you bring world is you. If you doubt yourself, you could be robbing the world of some its greatest gifts. In this season of my life, I’ve really strived to live that out wholeheartedly, even when it feels scary, but just knowing that ultimately God has instilled in me everything that I need to fulfill my purpose. If I manage to inspire others through my work and be a trailblazer for others in need, then I’ll consider my purpose fulfilled.
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?
I always love when someone visits LA for the first time! It’s an awesome way to reconnect with all the amazing adventure the city has to offer and fall in love with LA all over again. My shortlist would include Santa Monica Pier, a Dodgers game (complete with a famous Dodger dog!), a hike to the Hollywood sign, a concert at the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre, a trip to the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, and a stroll through Old Town Pasadena. I’d also take them on a day trip to downtown, visiting Angel’s Flight and Grand Central Market, museum row, OUE Skyspace (for drinks and breathtaking views), and LA Live. For food I’d encourage them to ditch their diet and buckle up for an (obligatory) trip to In ‘N Out and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, then on to brunch at the Griddle Cafe, taco Tuesday at Tito’s Tacos, Wurstkuche for beer and brats, Ackee Bamboo Jamaican on Sunday during the weekly drum circle at Leimert Park, plus a pitstop to Hilltop Cafe, Messob for Ethiopian, and Southern Girl Desserts for a sweet treat. I’d also take them to a day party or somewhere chill like EP&LP Rooftop bar for drinks and on to the Laugh Factory or Comedy Store for a dose of good humor.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am truly blessed to have had such a strong community of support throughout every phase of my life. The person who’s been there since day one is my mom. She’s instilled me with the courage to dream BIG! I’m also grateful for my husband, who is a great motivator and light.