We asked some of the most creative folks we know to open up to us about why they chose a creative career path. Check out their responses below.

Carlton V. Bell | Director & Producer

I just have always wanted to play. Simply, as a theatre/film producer & director. I love creating the worlds in my head. Being able to collaborate in a room w/ other creatives to build, explore, & investigate the human condition. It’s important for me to do this specifically w/ other Black queer people. We have been historically kept out of the room, and unable to control our narratives. My company Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre (thebbrtc.com)’s Motto is “Empower your community, Empower Yourself. We hope to achieve just that. Read more>>

Pat Battellini | Photographer

I always loved to watch the light and the shadow of everything that was around me, and tried to understand how things (and people) could actually look so different depending on the balance of light and shadow that was around them. Also understanding that it was a question of point of view what made things look beautiful or not, through the lens and in life. It was also the passion about colors and what feelings they arouse in human beings. I could stare at a place or a situation or a person’s eyes and feel captivated by their meaning and what they transmit deep inside me. All those things made me want to capture images and showed them to the world. That was when I understood the power of a Camera, and was then, 24 years ago, when I jumped into my carrier as a photographer. After that I started to dive into the concepts of compositions, movement, and the different techniques that made an image possible. Read more>>

Crowne Mecca | Vocal Artist, Songwriter and Icon

Hi there, My name is Crowne Mecca! I’m a goddess in rare form and God truly placed a melodic indent on my heart: My creative drug of choice is music. I like to say that it chose me! The very first time that I heard the fierce tone of passion from Tina Turner and the gentle, yet strong vocal masterpiece from Michael Jackson, I knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Music gives me that high off of life feeling and it just has been with me since I can remember. I have been singing since the age of 7 and it was then that I discovered that I truly loved performing. I would sing in church, at the park with my sister, Koko and my cousins and I just think I saw how much joy it brought to peoples hearts to hear good music and see a great performance and I wanted to embody that and live sharing my passion for music with the world. Read more>>

Erin Zalan | Model

For most people, starting a career in modeling or acting can be daunting. It was for me as well in the beginning, however when I found myself following a career path in the industry I found just how rewarding it can be in many ways. When most think of modeling as a career, it’s common to think of all the glitz and glamor, beautiful clothes, and showing up for your job and doing a few poses for the camera. In my journey I’ve found it to be so much more. A career like modeling for me is about the artistic intricacies of the way a designer’s pieces fit on everyone differently, the intricacies of the human body; every model can showcase clothing in their own unique style. Through this career I’ve learned so much about myself and gained a lot of confidence in my individuality. I appreciate the admirable work of the artistry that goes into making the beautiful images we all see in magazines and billboards, and I’m so excited I get to be a part of that as a model. Read more>>

Judith Beylerian | Fashion Artist

As long as I can remember everything around me resonated with creativity. All the members of my family floated into the rhythm of making Life as Art or making Art as Life. Everything inspired me growing up, being surrounded in my immediate family by a sculptor, painter, graphic artist, couture and fashion designer, dancer and the world of music! I dipped my toes in various mediums, Learning from every experience and kept a little piece of each to become who I am today… a Fashion Artist. I could not imagine living any other and have committed my life to living this dream. Read more>>

Aaron Doucette | Actor & Musician

From a very young age, I was always drawn to music & entertainment. At the age of 2, Chris Tucker caught my attention in his comedic performances in “Friday” & “Money Talks”. My mother would say that I would request to put on “crazy man” while I sat in awe every time watching him go! You could say that was the beginning of my passion for the arts. Chris Brown was the true artist who made me believe that “I could too” chase my dreams at a young age and turn it into a real life career. Being that him and I are both from small towns, I always saw it as motivation. With greats like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Usher, & many more being played in my household growing up, the culture of black music has always been in my blood. Whether it’s dancing on stage, or acting on set, it was always my destiny to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Read more>>

Mikey Acuna | Photographer/Creative

I remember being in my middle school art class. The assignment was to show expression through the lens of a camera. I remember finding the most breathtaking yet subtle rose in between these other flowers. It spoke to me. In that moment, I felt understood, I felt seen. I was the middle child growing up and so feeling unheard was a constant. That rose was me and I would help it feel seen. And that’s what I want. I want each picture that I capture to feel heard, seen. Read more>>