It’s been a crazy two months, not gonna lie. I executive produced my first film outside of school (ROADIES) while traveling to parts of America I’ve never seen before & a week later took off to explore London & Toronto. And through all of this, I’ve changed. Immensely.
My whole life I’ve always known what I wanted and how to go about getting it — “no” was never an acceptable answer to me. Growing up as a Persian Jewish girl in LA, I learned early on that going after my dreams would always be a battle for me. But I was ready to fight. And I did. Every single day, I fought for what I wanted. I fought people in the community who told me my sole purpose in life was to “get married and have children”. I challenged men who tried to tell me it was not okay for me to have an opinion. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was and has always been “I’m going to make it in the entertainment industry” — but try telling an old school community you want a career in an industry run by men. Not easy. It’s never been easy.
By high school I realized I was different. My passion for telling stories has always run deep in my veins and it lights a fire in me that is so strong I can’t even describe it. I loved going against the grain. While my friends took AP classes and slaved over getting A’s, I knew there was more to life. I knew that a letter on a report card didn’t determine my worth or how smart I was. So instead I joined drama at Pali High and it changed my world. I learned that work ethic cannot be taught. Passion does not come from a textbook. And in order to grow, you must open your eyes and see the world for what it is. Tell stories, listen, read, write, and observe. To a lot of my friends’ parents, I wasn’t normal. In fact, I was some kind of demon child who constantly needed to express herself, experiment, and actually feel instead of studying.
When I entered SMC, I was in some kind of culture shock within my own community! I mean, is that normal? I heard all these archaic ideas, saw people start to get on the quest to get married, and pretty much had my whole world rocked. Upon telling people what I do, I was met with “wow that was always my dream but I couldn’t do it” — to which I was mind boggled. If it’s your “dream”, you find a way to do it. You make sacrifices. Lord knows I sacrificed relationships, friendships, spending time with my family and so much more. Again, maybe I was just different. Not better, not worse, just different.
I wrote a letter to myself my senior year in high school saying what I hoped to accomplish in the next 5 years and 6 months ago I received that letter in the mail (thanks Mr. Lee). I can proudly say I did everything I said I would — I graduated from USC Annenberg and USC School of Cinematic Arts, I worked in PR, fashion, film & TV, and made it to a national network by 22. But of course, I had naysayers. I had someone tell me at a Rosh Hashana sedar to “drop the film school act and go find a husband”. THAT HAPPENED. Well buddy, for almost 60 grand a year, I sure hope for my and my parents sake it’s not an “act”.
This past year has been a year full of big ups and downs for me. But I kept fighting. I continue to fight every day for what I want. I choose not to listen to the negativity or to the community that tells me to hurry up and get married my clock is ticking. Let the clock tick. I’ll always have an opinion, I’ll always be passionate about what I’m doing or what I believe in, & I’ll always march to the beat of my own drum. I still want to see the world and experience more cultures. I still want to see my name in lights across different countries. But most of all, I still want find and tell stories. Because that’s my passion, and quite frankly, I’m good at it. I’m different. I always have been. And that’s okay.