The Advice Column by Dear Diary is thrilled to invite Enosa Ogbeide to share with our readers and fellow post-grads about her experiences in the entertainment industry, as well as her journey to Hollywood.
I have always been fascinated with the life of famous actors, I mean, who isn't? But, what is it actually like to be a 20 something in Hollywood? So, with that question in mind, I went straight to the source, a member of young Hollywood, Enosa Ogbeide. Enosa is going to be a star. It's just that simple. Anyone who knows her or has seen her perform knows that this much is true. Something that I did not know about this star in the making before this interview was her incredible backstory with theatre. She shares her story alongside some exceptional advice. If you're intrigued and want to learn more about this fellow post-grad and her experiences as an actress and producer, keep reading.
DD: Introduce yourself to our Dear Diary readers.
EO: “My name is Enosa Ogbeide and I am an actress and producer based in Los Angeles, CA. I recently graduated from Harvard in May 2020 with a BA in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology and Theater, Dance, and Media.”
DD: What originally inspired you to become an actor? Does that inspiration still have an impact on you today?
EO: “When I was much younger I struggled with social anxiety and often found it hard to truly express myself to those around me. Growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, there weren't many girls who looked like me or had similar backgrounds to me in my classes. This often led to me second-guessing or silencing myself because I was scared of standing out more than I already did. The crazy thing was that behind closed doors, in the safety of my own home, I was an absolute riot. I would put on pretend fashion shows, talent shows, cooking shows, really any show - and force my family to watch! I loved the spotlight and attention. Eventually, my parents took notice of the stark difference between my at-home self and my public self. One day my dad encouraged me to audition for Willy Wonka Jr. The Musical, and I was cast as Phineas Trout, expert news reporter. As cliche as it sounds, I really found a home on the stage. On stage, I could be anyone I wanted and no one could judge me for it. Theater magic is real and it helped me find my voice and become confident and comfortable with who I am.”
“While I don't struggle with the same social anxiety as I did before, I still find that theater and acting, in general, helps me feel more connected to myself and those around me. There is truly nothing like getting on a stage and taking an audience on a journey with you for a couple of hours. You can feel a shift of energy in the air and it's so beautiful and intoxicating. I can't help but keep going back for more!”
DD: What has your journey been like so far as a post-grad?
EO: “I've been very fortunate to have a good amount of success coming out of college. In August of 2020, I moved out to LA and immediately started auditioning as much as I could. Luckily, a couple of weeks before moving I had gained an agent and manager. They are so amazing because they help me get auditions I wouldn't be able to get without some sort of representation. I'm very happy to say I booked my first professional TV role as a guest star on Netflix's Family Reunion in October (Part 3 Episode 5). Since then, I've come frighteningly close to booking another Netflix project and a Series Regular role, but ultimately it was not meant to be! It can be pretty hard coming so close to booking something and then not getting it, but I try and take those experiences as a sign that good things are to come.”
DD: What is the best advice you would share with any young adult wanting to pursue acting today?
EO: “Well Yankee Doodle! The best advice I think I could give to someone wanting to pursue acting is (to) take yourself as seriously as you wish others to take you. It can be so easy to doubt yourself and think that you're not a 'real' actor or professional because you may not have the same resources as others, but that SH*T IS FAKE! I don't deny that resources definitely give people an upper hand, but ultimately you can't let things like that distract you from your dream. As long as you work hard, take yourself seriously, and remain confident in who you are and what you have to offer, I believe the right people will take notice.”
DD: What are some words of encouragement that you would share with any artist who is struggling to pursue their passion in 2021?
EO: “Give yourself a break! The truth is, 2020 wasn't anyone's best year (and if someone says it was then they are not to be trusted). I think it's really important that artists, and people in general, take time to check in with themselves and practice self-care. Sometimes when we take a break, ground ourselves, and focus on the present, the most unexpected joys pop up!”
DD: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given as an actor?
EO: “I'm not sure this counts as advice, but when I was younger someone who I thought was a friend told me that I only got a role because I was black. This hurt like hell and put a dent in my confidence for a bit. It wasn't so much that I believed what they said (because it made no sense for the role and they were just bitter), but it was painful to think that someone who I trusted would think that about me. Ultimately, this only worked to ignite a flame in my heart. From that moment on, I approached my acting and artistic training as if my life depended on it. I wanted to make sure that no matter what performance I was delivering, no one would have the audacity to make such a claim like that ever again. I wanted my acting to speak for itself.”
DD: What are some professional goals that you have for yourself in the next five years?
EO: “Zooweemama! In the next five years, I want to be in a feature film or be a series regular in a show. I also want to produce a feature film and star in it as well. In the Summer of 2019, I worked as an intern under two producers at Anonymous Content, a management and production company in LA (THE REVENANT, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND). After that experience, it became pretty clear to me that I wanted to become a producer. I love putting my 'Type A' tendencies to use while working on something creative!”
“Within the next 5 years, I also plan on returning to school to get my Ph.D. in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology. I have always loved working with kids, and I actually work with students right now as a tutor. It has always been a dream of mine to help children struggling with different mental health issues, and that's something I want to do no matter where my acting journey takes me.”
DD: Now for our final question of each interview, what now?
EO: “I'm very excited to say that I am currently producing and starring in Good Gorgeous Hell, a short film written, directed, and co-produced by good friend and fellow Fayetteville, AR native Reed Carson. Reed was actually in Willy Wonka Jr. with me back in middle school, and we have been very close friends ever since. Right now we are wrapping up pre-production and we hope to shoot the film in early June. The short will premiere at the Fayetteville Film Festival in November, and we plan on submitting it to other festivals as well!”