Hi! My name is Chamaya and I am a multi-hyphenate artist who is passionate about anti-oppressive wellness practices, equitable education, and all things creative. I’m also black, autistic, and a Christian. My favorite color is mint green, I love slow mornings, and I’ve never broken a bone.

I see that you’re an actress, singer, writer, and content creator. What motivated you to pursue a creative path?

I suppose it started with me being surrounded by artists. My dad is a recording artist and my godmother is a theatre and TV director. Having a Grammy-award-winning musician for a dad, music was something that always came naturally to me. Once I discovered the magic in storytelling through a Snow White costume, I knew that theatre needed to be part of my life.  It wasn’t until high school that I experienced the merging of the two worlds in musical theatre and decided that I wanted to play pretend for a living. My journey as a content creator came much later. My platform “Plot Twist, Please,” which is a blog and a podcast, arose out of a time where I was personally struggling with my mental health. I now create content surrounding wellness, specifically mental/emotional healing, through an anti-oppressive lens because I believe that this subject is bigger than me. The aspect of creating content on social media and being an artist that I enjoy the most is the opportunity to inspire someone to be their most authentic self, and to be bold enough to love that person. It’s amazing that I can reach so many people with the click of a few buttons. 

Could you tell us about your favorite project(s) that you took part in?

I’m going to be writing an article that will be featured in The Spectrum Perspective, an autism magazine, which I’m extremely excited about because experiences of BIPOC aren’t often visible within the autism community.

I also learned that you are an entrepreneur. Could you tell us a little about that?

Absolutely. I have a boutique content marketing agency called CliqBridge Consulting, where I help creative entrepreneurs with their brand messaging, social media content, and overall digital marketing strategies. It includes copywriting, SEO, video producing, social media management, and one-on-one branding coaching. I’m open to new clients for February/March/April!

What would you say to your younger self?

I would tell her to floss more, and that she’s really brave.

Who have been your biggest role-models or resources in times of unsureness, grief, and healing?

My parents actually were always really supportive of me and encouraged me to talk about my feelings. It was a blessing to have that kind of upbringing. In terms of holistic wellness, though, I like to refer to Tabitha Brown. I love her positive energy and her grounded perspective on healing. Her vegan recipes are also great!

How has the pandemic affected you mentally?

It has definitely forced me to look inward and allowed me to hone in on the things that I truly value in life. Sometimes it’s tough, but online therapy, prayer, and the support of my friends and family has made a big difference.

What are the most beautiful things about life to you?

Connection, culture, and the way we continue to evolve. Also, I love the little things, like babies trying to dance when they still trip over their feet and freshly baked apple pie.

Do you believe that the stigma around mental health has decreased to a notable extent in your community? What may be the reason for this?

For mental health, yes. I think many of us are exploring holistic wellness practices because of things like Black Lives Matter prompting self-care regimens. It’s been tough on the black community, and I do think we’re investing more time and energy into our mental health as a collective. Unfortunately, though, I don’t think the stigma for mental illness has decreased much within the black community. First of all, there isn’t much representation in the media of black people with mental illnesses or mental disabilities. Hopefully, though, I can help change that.

What does mental health mean to YOU?

To me, it comes down to two things: accessibility, which is not under our control, and self-reflection, which is under our control. Not everyone has access to mental health resources, and that is half of the battle. The other half, I believe, is rooted in the pursuit of a balance of internal and external forces that, at equilibrium, create a healthy, affirming environment for one to thrive. No, you cannot control whether or not you are able to access certain mental health resources, but you can control who your friends are, how you communicate your needs, and how you talk to yourself. I view mental health in its entirety as a priority because so many aspects of society are affected by it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell Revive’s audience?

Yes. The world is different because you, as an individual, are in it and I can’t wait for you to find out why. Stay weird, everyone!

Check out Chamaya, Plot Twist, Please!, & ClipBridge Counseling!

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