We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashanti Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashanti, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Well, going from only being worried about self to now have to also worry about my child has changed my work life balance tremendously. With my daughter, majority of everything important that has to get done will be done either while she is at daycare or when she naps or goes to sleep at night. I can no longer procrastinate with things because if I do, things will take days to get done and that’s not acceptable. I have to really plan things around her. Auditions are done at night once she is asleep, errands are done during the day while she is at school because trying to do these things with a baby who loves to follow you is not always the easiest thing to do. The rest of the time when she is with me and awake, I give her attention and teach her things and have fun with her. Of course any mom or parent needs their me time by themselves and/or with friends. With that, if I have to film one weekend and my family is keeping her for me, I utilize that weekend when I’m not shooting to see friends or go do something fun for myself that she normally wouldn’t be able to do or go with me. Nine times out of ten, if she can go anywhere fun with me, then we go. Maybe we will do a date at Atlantic Station, go have fun at one my friends house, go bowling, and sometimes even my training classes, she goes with me. She is my little bestfriend and I HAVE to make it work with her. Having a child never deterred me from doing the things that I want to do in life. I figure it out!

On the business/work side of things, having a regular part time or 9 to 5 job makes things even more difficult because I need to be off in time to pick her up and if I have been working all morning, that means I didn’t get any other important things done in regards to my craft (acting or dancing) or my businesses (real estate and signing agent). I prefer to not have a 9 to 5 and work for myself and do a lot of side jobs where I can work on my own time.

With my businesses, for me to balance them, I have to dedicate a day to just that business. So one day I would strictly work on real estate related things. Another day, I would work on my notary/signing agent business. I know that I can only do so much at one time with my business, my crafts, so I try not to overwhelm myself by putting to much on my plate but it happens sometimes and I just have to sit and sort through everything, make a list and cross things out as I go. I would not be able to function without a calendar in my life so shoutout to whoever made those things! So as you can see, I think balance is very important in all aspects of life, business, relationship, and family. It all has to have a good balance.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Simply me being me is what sets me apart from others. There’s no one other person like me and that makes all the difference. I could sit here and give you a list of all the adjectives that describe me but many others have those same adjectives. I just say no one will bring them or provide them in the way that I do.

I applaud myself for EVERY little accomplishment I make. Whether, I passed a test, got an audition, bought something important, invested in myself, everything is a proud moment for me cause I know I’m doing something right. Now when I book a role, or see myself on TV that’s when I buy myself something nice. I give myself gifts for accomplishing major things. To date, I am very happy that I saw myself front and center on Coming 2 America, but I am even more proud and happy that I have been getting auditions for major TV series roles. To add to that, I have booked THE lead role in a new independent series which means so much to me because I have had lead roles, but never THE lead role. This will allow me to really show everything that I have been working on and I cant wait to share!

It sounds nice but my path hasn’t been easy, I don’t think anybody’s story is really easy. We all struggle at some point, question ourselves, but we get through it. Every challenge I have encountered, I literally buckle up my seat belt figure out the best strategy to fix the problem, get out of the problem or whatever it may be, and follow through with what I say and write down. Stopping your career to have a child is hard but not impossible to come back from. Being a creator financially isn’t always the easiest but I always get another job if I need extra money. I hate spending my savings so I’d rather get another job than spend what’s been saved. Lastly, pray about it. Pray about whatever the trouble or challenge may be and ask for guidance and strength.

Major lessons to date is do what makes you happy, literally. I cant stress that enough. Don’t allow anything to stop you if you really feel that, that’s what you want or need to do. Do it! If there’s something you been wanting to do for awhile but you’ve been scared, do it! You never know what life and the future may bring so, why wait? Another thing always, is to trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, leave it alone.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Aw man. That would be tough since I feel like I haven’t really seen much or I feel like there’s so much more to see. I cant give ya’ll all my secret spots now! Lets see, places I’d take her would be the Braves Stadium. I use to work there and its nice to just go chill and walk around during the day. Also, the Beltline! We would probably rent bikes or something and ride stopping to get food and drinks. One more place would be this nice little rooftop place on 14th Street where they have games and you can see the skyline from there. We would probably, most likely go skating at Cascade on Sunday because there always a good vibe and a good crowd. We both dance so I’d sign us up for some dance classes that challenge us or do a sip and paint since she likes to paint!

Food places I’d take her would start with this new place I discovered called Fresh Treats and everything is made fresh and the banana pudding there is bomb! There’s also a new spot that just opened called Peach Cobbler Café where they sell soul food. I’ve only had it once and it was good the first time so I’d go back with her. Everything else for me would be desert places like Piece of Cake, Insomnia Cookies, California Pizza Kitchen has great soup and a bomb butter cake! Yes I love sweets. It’s dangerous.

I’ve only been here 4 years and I have been working a lot through these years so I’m pretty sure there are more spots that I have yet to see or visit.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother deserves A LOT of the credit. I don’t think I’d be where I am now if she had never signed me up to do West African dance in elementary school. That’s where it all started, with my dance teacher Ms. Pilar Lowden. I was with her from elementary till 11th grade and without her I would not have been the knowledgeable dancer that I am today. If it wasn’t for my cousin Jonathan Ford helping me pay for a dance membership at Dance 411 I don’t know if I’d had access to the auditions for American Soul & Coming 2 America which I was a dancer in! Dance 411 for even allowing me to be apart of all that and the choreographers! I mean there are so many people along the road that contributed to where I am but we would be here all day!

But really I wouldn’t be the woman that I am without my mothers support, push and direction!

Website: www.theashantiharris.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/theashantiharris

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ashanti.harris1

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