We had the good fortune of connecting with Naärai and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Naärai, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risks can be terrifying, but there’s no way to really live your life fully without them. The terror is in the fear of failure. Fearing what others with say/think of you if you take the risk and it doesn’t work out. The way I see it, I’d rather take it and find out. I have my private freak outs. I pray A LOT! But when it comes to dreams and purpose, risks are a part of the journey. When I moved from Florida to LA, I took a huge risk and people thought I was crazy; I had no job, no “connections”, and I ran out of money not long after moving and buying my car. I had so many people try to talk me out of it. One person told me they would get me in front of Broadway casting directors. I even had a Broadway casting director ask if I wanted to move from LA to NYC, because he had work for me. Not to mention the guaranteed job I had at home at my father’s theater company. It looked foolish to others, but I had faith. I still do. It’s been on life support a few times, but I still have it. As long as I have faith, the risk will always be worth it, because when you live in purpose life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. There’s a lesson in all of it. That move was the biggest risk of my life and it was so worth it!
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.
Its hard to put all of my art in one box. I’m always looking to creatively express myself in as many ways as I can. That’s what I believe sets me apart, my appreciation for all forms of art and my willingness to learn and grow in all of my gifts. I got here with a whole lot of God, a lot of work and some amazing people in this industry who keep my name in rooms I know nothing about. Nothing about this journey as been easy. Each level requires more work, more faith and a deeper revelation of who I am. This business will destroy your self esteem and then criticize you for not having it. I’ve learned that I belong in every single room that I am called into. I’ve learned to not trust others to tell me who I am; there’s a difference in being receptive to direction and being needy for validation. I’ve crossed that line a few times. I’ve learned that the most effective networking happens horizontally, not vertically. Meaning, it’s generally your peers and fellow artists who put you on as opposed to the big shots or “suits,” as I call them. Treat your peers right. Show up. Be professional. Be kind. It goes a long way. I’ve also learned that no opportunity/open door is worth having if I have to compromise what I believe or hide my authentic self. My story is that of an overcomer. I’m creating a space for myself in this industry so that I can create opportunities for others who are considered “different.” Its been a long journey, but I believe with everything in my heart and soul that it will be worth it!
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.
Ahhh…first we’d stop by Crave, one of my favorite food spots (its open really late too). Then hit the Arclight and catch a movie. Maybe another day we’d go to the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys; its one of my favorite spots to clear my mind and center myself. I love the Santa Monica Pier, especially at night. We would definitely have to stop by there. Zuma Beach, in Malibu is a must! Its my absolute FAVORITE beach in LA. There’s also a restaurant, right across the street from the beach, called Kristy’s Malibu; we’d have to go there!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many, I would probably say my mentor and big brother EJ Porter. He’s the one who convinced me to do an audition in early 2018. We didn’t know it at the time, but that audition was for Coachella with Beyonce. It literally changed my life. He’s always there when I have music business questions and need advice. His insight is incredible!