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Life and Work with Raven Jenai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raven Jenai.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, I’ve always been quite a character. My vibrant personality and sense of humor constantly had me ready to entertain and although I was slightly shy as a kid my silliness usually overshadowed it. As a kid, I was a star athlete in basketball and track and for a while, my dream was to become a professional athlete; the next Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoops, or Candace Parker. Besides my love for sports, I also had an interest in drawing, writing, and acting. At the time, I only considered them fun hobbies but my interest continued to grow throughout the years. I enjoyed writing and illustrating fictional stories as well as taking art and theatre classes and even going to drama competitions. Acting always stuck with me and I grew to have a passion for it. Even while following my hoop dreams, I knew in my heart that if I did become a professional athlete I’d eventually want to transition into television.

Fast Forward to a few years later, I decided to take my talents to the next level and actively pursue acting. I took acting classes and soon after signed with Page Parkes Acting and Modeling Agency. After being with them for a while, I decided to become a free agent and search for acting opportunities on my own. I did some modeling, commercials, and even had a cameo in the movie Girls Trip. I like any genre of acting but I gravitate more towards comedy, which in return, I was always writing and creating content to share with people for them to hopefully enjoy. I initially started posting my videos on YouTube then eventually started posting them on every social site. Long story short at the end of 2017, I created a video called “Corporate Laughs Be Like” and it ended up going viral! It created such a huge buzz and allowed so many new opportunities, open doors and the chance for people from all over to tune in to what I love to do.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wish I could say it’s been smooth sailing but it definitely hasn’t been and still isn’t. I think anything worth doing or having is worth fighting for and will test you in numerous ways. The fact that I’m someone who likes to have stability and the profession that I’m pursuing can at times be the total opposite further proves my dedication and passion for it. One of the struggles I’ve faced during this process is my mentality and internal well-being. I went through every emotion and this journey has been unquestionably a roller coaster ride. When you have a strong desire for something or have so many things you want to accomplish and the universe isn’t always aligning with that, it can make you feel self-doubt, frustration and several other emotions; but if it’s truly something you want you have to never give up. Other struggles I’ve encountered would have to be financial burdens when trying to get certain projects accomplished and dealing with the inconsistency of others, which is a big reason why I usually like to film and edit my own videos if I can.

My advice to anyone pursuing their passion is to first make sure that truly is YOUR passion and not feed into a trend or what works for someone else. Find what you’re effortlessly good at. Never give up and know that you may get several no’s before a yes. Seek mentorship and find like minds and people that are striving for the same goals to be around.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I’m an actor, writer, artist, director, and entertainer. I love being a part of and creating projects whether it’s skits, short films or any other production that potentially could brighten someone’s day or make them laugh. The majority of people know me for comedy but I’m very versatile and can do various genres of acting, like drama. I just like to make people feel something. I like being creative and being in creative spaces which is why my creativity goes beyond just acting I’ve launched an apparel line called F-Lames that I plan to reboot in the near future and have even created logos and covers for organizations and other artists. I’m most proud of how much I’ve grown and the potential I have to become who I’m supposed to be. What sets me apart is I can be a jack of all trades I can dabble in a lot of things and I think within the entertainment industry it’s good to have that chameleon mentality. Another thing that sets me apart is simply being me because no one can be you better than you.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Absolutely, even so much as who my parents are plays a role. Both of them have these charismatic personable and funny personalities that I had no choice but to be who I am. Everything that they instilled in me shines through me so vividly. My mom was the best actress out of the state of Ohio who has such a jovial and outgoing personality while my dad was an exceptional athlete who has this very driven business savvy attitude and could sell salt to a slug. They both are very passionate, goal-oriented and quick-witted and I’m proud to be the product of them because they’ve shaped me into who I am today. My childhood played a key role because it consisted of me writing and illustrating stories and showing them to my family and friends, being an entrepreneur, putting on a show and making people laugh, dancing, singing, being in and winning drama competitions, and being a dedicated athlete and that’s everything that prepared me for what I’m doing today. Looking in hindsight, I’ve been simply walking into my god-given purpose and that’s absolutely beautiful.

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Image Credit:
Que_Snaps, PhotoVideoNation, Ellie Ramirez

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