We had the good fortune of connecting with Rojonna Handy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rojonna, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is the most essential part of being. How can you truly experience life if you don’t take risks? You cant. Fear of exposure to possibilities is what keeps people stuck in the norm/comfort zone. Instead of fearing the possibility, I welcome it. Opening up the possibilities, taking the risks, will always be beneficial to ones life journey. I never wanted to live my life with the mindset of ” what if i did” or “I wish I would’ve”. I never wanted to live my life stuck in a comfort zone because I’m afraid of what can go wrong. We as humans tend to get so stuck in the negative mindset of what can go wrong, that we don’t let the equal opportunity of what can go right marinate our minds. Understanding life is a journey and we win, we lose, we rise, and fall has played a major role in taking risks when it comes to my career/life journey. I believe there are no wrong turns. Theres experiences and paths that have been designed uniquely for our individual selves in honor of learning lessons and reaching our destiny. Theres a saying “Woman who follow the rules rarely make history”- if theres no risks to take, theres no history to make.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was born and raised in the small town of New Haven, CT. My aunt owned the most influential dance studio in Connecticut, and there, from the age of one, I studied Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, West African, and Musical Theatre. At 14 I was teaching Ballet and Jazz for city-funded after school programs for low income students. Through my formative years,I attended art schools and theater camps, which developed my appreciation for ACTING, WRITING and ENTERTAINING. I attended New York Film and Television school, recently studied at Richard Lawson studios and currently taking online courses at NYU|TISH film & TV program, developing my writing and directing skills.
I am an Artivist. My content mainly focuses on bringing awareness to causes such as human trafficking,domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness, etc. I also make content that is faith-based, bringing stories from the bible to film from a millennial perspective. I never understood or accepted the stories of my life until I realized they were given to me for my purpose. God has directed me on how to turn my trials into my treasures, giving me stories to tell the world and making an impact through my art.
My journey has been far from easy. Once it was time for my aunt to pass the torch for her dance studio, I accepted the challenge at the age of 28. Owning a dance studio and working full time was hard and through the challenges I realized that I had bigger dreams outside of my small city in Connecticut. I wanted to pursue a career in acting, screenwriting and film. After a series of challenges I decided to walk away from my studio and focus all of my efforts toward Film and Television.I knew that Los Angeles was where I needed to be,yet, I was skeptical, for so many reasons– needing to quit my job, sell all of my things, and move 3,000 miles away from any familiar face. But I kept receiving confirmations from God that I needed to be on the West Coast to walk in my purpose. My first 24 hours after arriving in Los Angeles were some of the lowest points in my life. My comfort zone became non-existent and my new life was a major adjustment. I went from living by myself to living with 15 people in one creative house. My car was filled with 4 storage bins because my storage area in the house could only fit a few personal items. It began to set in that I was very far from anyone who could help me– this took a huge toll on me. Within my first month here I lost 18 pounds, got almost $1,000 in parking tickets and could not find a job. There were times I had to sit in my car for hours just so that I wouldn’t get a ticket and to have a moment of solace.
One night while sitting in my car I felt compelled to physically attend church instead of typically watching a service on Youtube. After the service I went up to the front to get prayer and when I walked out I felt a huge weight lifted off of me that made me feel safe and secure. I promise you from that moment on God has shown himself MIGHTY on my journey. I was booking job after job, being exposed to things that would have taken months or years to get to. While on set for one of my background jobs, one of the feature actors told me how shocked she was at the amount of work I did in such a short time. I finally felt like I was hitting my stride. The transition was not smooth at all but once you overcome that hurdle and stand firm in your faith your journey becomes clear, significant, and worthy with lots of proud and humbling moments.
I’ve since built a diverse portfolio dancing, choreographing for showcases,tons of background work, and I’ve created a small body of work writing, directing and producing 5 short films. I finished writing two screen plays which I hope to eventually turn into feature films.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start with spending a day at Malibu beach and dine at NoBu. Santa Monica beach and Venice beach are also a must do just for the culture of LA. I feel like the best parts of LA are the scenic, outdoor, hiking places. So, we’d visit Runyon Canyon ( of course they’d have to get pics with the HOLLYWOOD sign), Trail Canyon Falls trail, Angeles National Forest and The Poppy Reserve. I love the night life in WEHO ( West Hollywood), specifically because it is an LGBBTQ+ area. Tacos are very popular in LA so I would definitely stop at Jay’s red tacos and Leos taco truck.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One thing about me is that i try very hard to give people their flowers while they are still gracing this earth. So, this shoutout will go to someone who is not on this earthy realm with me anymore,Susan Troxler, I truly thank God for allowing me to meet one of his angels. When I first moved to LA this woman took me in as one of her own. She checked in on me every single day. She knew I wasn’t comfortable in my living situation and decided to go apartment hunting for a 2 bed 2 bath so I can feel at home while being away from a place I called home. I’m allergic to cats and she gave up her cat for me although it was very difficult for her to do. She seen the talents in me and supported my dream to the fullest and anytime she knew of an audition she would send it to me immediately. I can’t thank God enough for the time that I got to be in Susan’s life. Thank you, Susan, for treating me like your daughter and making sure I was safe and comfortable. You’ve played such a major role in my first year living in LA and I will always acknowledge you. Susan had the most beautiful heart and she told me “ God bless you Rojonna, go after your dreams and make them real. You are gifted. Never stop,🌹”. I will never stop and my journey will be dedicated to you always! RIP Susan, I love you forever!
-Mark Murphy – Chanelle Howell