Javicia was born to two military parents in the Augsburg, Germany. When her parents split she relocated back to her mother’s home state of California. After a few years in Cali, they ventured back east to live in Columbia, Maryland and then PG County where she grew up. Even as a kid, Javicia was a performer at heart. Participating in more plays and dance recitals than she could count. She has always had knack for the stage and cameras. I inquired about modeling. She lightheartedly told me, “I actually consider myself a performer and it just so happens that I like taking pictures. That was never something I was going after, but I do enjoy photography and being in the picture.” We both laughed. I’d agree that “Performer” is a great way to describe Javicia’s wide array of talents.
Javicia and I met up in Los Angeles. Sunny West Hollywood to be exact. We sat down in her cozy studio apartment which from her description, symbolized the grind and sacrifice of a young actress. I recognized the seating area from her Youtube talk series. Her homemade “Set,” I liked it.Javicia is a performing arts stand-out and is widely recognized by Hamptonians as the 2008 Miss Hampton University. Currently, Javicia is a burgeoning actress with a ADDweb series, multiple commercials, and a couple notable film roles under her belt. The entertainment industry is grueling. What #Shines about Javicia is that she took a leap of faith out of her comfort zone in DC to pursue her passion 3000 miles away in Hollywood. Javicia’s blog, Fashion, and branding prowess have also gained her a healthy following. I am happy to feature a talented star in the making on this week’s #ShineHardconversation.
What is your passion and when did you know?
Javicia: I’ve always been in entertainment. Like, I love TLC, but I never felt like could replace a member. I felt like I was the missing member! Of course, I was just like any little girl. We would have dance shows, talent shows. In middle school I was in to Tap and Jazz, then in High School I got into plays. At Hampton, I did a lot of plays and pageants. Just anything that allowed me to be on stage I was down for. I just love to perform.
Who did you look up to as a kid?
Javicia: Several people. I was obsessed with Whitney Houston. I never thought I was a singer, but I always admired her. Also, Angela Basset. I think she’s such a powerful actress. She can do the littlest scene and it is just so powerful.
Tell me about how your journey began as an actor in LA..?
Javicia: Well for starters, I’ve booked a lot of commercials and commercials will keep you afloat because they pay good. Two Burger King, an International Commercial for the Money Super Market, Oreo’s, etc. But I remember when I first moved out here, I really didn’t have any representation. I was at an event with one of my big sisters, Jade, from Hampton. We were selling purses and jewelry. This lady walked up to me and asked “Are you a model or an actress?” I was humbled like “uhh I can be whatever you want me to be” *laughs* She was a talent manager. She gave me her card and told me to look her up. I called her the following week and I performed for her. She could tell I was a theater background because everything I did was so big. Her job was to find me an agent, but in the meantime she also found me auditions. One of the auditions she got me was the TLC audidtion to be Chili… [Press Play] —–↓
So you left DC to pursue your passion in LA. Tell me about it. What’s the actor struggle?
Javicia: Well yeah, it’s a huge struggle. It’s a sacrifice. I’m willing to leave a 3 bedroom apartment to move into a studio, or to have a car that I probably could have something much better. Ya know, just giving up the luxury of the life that I had. That’s huge. But at the end of the day it’s worth it. I never want to have children and tell them to follow their dreams, but then I didn’t do it. I mean, I book, so when I get paid I gotta hold onto it. You book little things here and there and then sometimes you book the big things. Eventually, you book all big things and that’s what it’s all about.
Tell me about Javicia.com, #DrivinInLa, and how you brand yourself..?
Javicia: Well one, I’m a Gemini, so I’m all over the place. I just needed to be able to focus. So creating my website was my way of focusing my energy of who I am. Kinda giving an outline of everything I do. For example, on my website you can find my recipes. I love to cook! I want to do a cooking show and somehow mix it with fashion. That’s one of my goals for 2015. I originally started with Tumblr. I was working this 9-5 in DC that I hated and all I could think of was being in LA. I was at work on the computer posting my recipes, Manicure Mondays, and people were interested. So that’s when I started to take it more serious with my Blogspot where it was just strictly fashion, but then I realized there’s no reason to separate it all. Why can’t it all just be Javicia everything?? So that’s what it is. It’s my recipes, it’s the style, it’s the influence, it’s my videos.
What have you learned from Living in LA and the Entertainment Industry?
Javicia: The one thing about LA is you have to have a family out here. Especially as an entertainer because if not you’re going to miss out on everything. You’re not gonna know about every event or every person, you gotta have people that are connected in different ways. So I have my little crew. Shoots and Edits, Host and Comedian, Actor. When it’s time to create our own projects I don’t have to go outside of people that I already know. We did a video called “Love & Hip Hop: The Spoof” and it got huge! VH1 picked it up, World Star picked it up, we went viral. All the stars from Love & Hip Hop commented, retweeted it, and blogged it.
It’s really about creating that family so when you need something it’s just there. I shoot with the same photographer and when he needs a model. I’m always down. I’ve done some crazy stuff for him as a model. Like, I snuck into an abandoned mall the other day and it was scary as hell. I’ve done some crazy things so he could get some dope shots! *laughs*
What inspires you to succeed?
Javicia: I think it’s human nature to want to succeed. No one does not want to succeed. I think it’s human nature to want to win. It’s me wanting to take care of my family. It’s me wanting to take care of myself. For me, one of my biggest goals is that I want to be in a history book. You look at Josephine Baker, you look at Eartha Kitt, like they made history. Around their time black women weren’t even allowed to perform. They went to France and became huge to the point that we begged for them to come back. Me wanting to be an actor has nothing to do with money or fame. Fortunately with my career, being successful means money, but living in LA will teach you that you don’t want the fame. To me, being an actor is about finally being human. Being my highest self, being more than just average.
Whats been the biggest challenge for you as an actor?
Javicia: Letting my guards down. Like, you can’t perform if you don’t trust yourself. I remember I was reading for “Straight outta Compton” to play Ice Cubes wife. I could tell the casting director liked me, she had brought me in there several times. One of the things she said to me was, “You don’t trust yourself” and I didn’t understand what she meant. But what that means is, as an actor when you’re going into a performance sometimes you make a decision, “OK this is what I want from this performance” versus just going in and letting whatever’s supposed to happen happen. You know what I mean? That’s called trusting yourself and that has been my hardest thing to deal with. It’s hard for me because I’ve been hurt so much that I’m just very protective. I prefer to walk away, or put up my guards than let you hurt me. Even though you’re not trying to. You’re just a casting director *laughs* but that’s how it feels. It feels like every time I go in there I’m fighting for my life. Letting my guard down is what I’m working on.
What frustrates you the most about today’s culture?
Javicia: Our world is so self-consumed. I don’t even think we have genuine human interactions anymore. I feel like when people are talking they’re waiting for their chance to talk. They’re not listening. They’re not breathing the person’s essence in. And then, everything is about following. Our culture is music. We’re led by the music. What’s pushing our culture is what we listen to. We have to ensure that we’re not degrading ourselves through what we promote and listen to.
What would you say is the #1 factor behind your success?
Javicia: My faith in God. I just believe he wouldn’t let me work a 9 to 5 in DC any longer. Literally everything just happened. I couldn’t make this happen. I didn’t have the strength. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have any of this. Even being in West Hollywood, God opened up this door for me. Every step of the way for me has been trust that I will not fall.
Advice for the aspiring Actors out there?
Javicia: We all have our demons, so I think one of the first things to do is face your demons. When you’re hiding from them, that’s when you find comfort in things that you shouldn’t find comfort in. Deal with your sh*t. Face it! Meditate on it, pray about it and deal with it. You gotta learn to forgive yourself, you gotta learn to love yourself, and you gotta learn to deal with yourself. It’s just a terrible life to waste if you’re not real with that person in the mirror.
Johnny: I agree! They say, “The truth will set you free.” Proud of you Vici! I can already see your name in the bright lights! <#ShineHard