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

Hi Cassia, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor that has contributed to the success of my brand has been the realization of self. Meaning, I first started out trying to fit in and write blog posts everyone else wrote, hoping it would lead people to my site. I also cut my hair short like Halle Berry to make myself look more like a successful actor in hopes of booking more jobs. After doing this for several years and realizing that I was not bringing my authentic self to my brand/career, I made that change and wrote and acted as my true self. Doing this contributed to my success, although comparatively moderate, it is truly authentic.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a writer/actor/filmmaker from Los Angeles. As a kid I was in theatre, played piano and wrote poetry. Growing up I would lose myself in tv and film. They became my world I often went into and felt as though I were at home. After graduating high school I entered into college and was completely unfulfilled. I shortly left the university and decided to stop wasting my parents money! I entered community college instead and joined the theater department courses there as well. I wrote a one woman play and fell back in love with performing and writing. While working jobs to pay rent, I would go on audition after audition, but was getting absolutely nowhere. I couldn’t land an acting job to save my life! I felt defeated and after years of that cycle decided maybe I should give up, so I did. I spent my late twenties back in school earning two associate degrees and working as a teacher. Then…the man I lived with and thought I would marry broke up with me via text message. I was devastated, but only brought myself five minutes to cry about it, then I started writing. I began writing about my experiences and To Live & Date in LA the blog began. People connected with the blog and a had a small following. Later an editor from Uptown magazine digital found my blog and hired me to write for their site. That job lasted for about one year and I loved the experience and exposure I gained. Soon after that I wrote To Live & Date in LA the webseries as I knew I would write it as a television show and eventually shop it to networks. The webseries was nominated in the New York Fashion & Film Awards and Los AngelesWebfest awards. My blog was also chosen as one of the top ten dating blogs in LA. During this time I was also working full time as a school nurse assistant in Beverly Hills and began writing about my experiences there as well. I eventually wrote a second television series, Beverly Hills School Nurse, which I am currently shopping to networks as well. Working as an actor/writer has not been easy and I have made many sacrifices for my career, including leaving my full-time job with the school district and working for myself so I can dedicate my life to writing and creating. Learning to live on a very tight budget, creating your own content, teaching yourself how to edit, light, pitch and write screenplays can be daunting, but if i can do it, so can you. The lessons I have learned have been to believe in yourself and do not look for outside validation to make you feel good about yourself or the choices you are making. There will not always be a tribe behind you or a mentor guiding you, so you have to have a sense of self that includes a strong belief system. If you want to start a blog, write a series or screenplay, act etc. watch the actors/writers/creators work. Look up scripts online, read them and learn how to format. Start creating skits or films using your phone. Do not feel you have to go and buy expensive equipment to start. Just start. Believe in yourself.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living and growing up in Los Angeles is incredible because we have so much to offer! From hiking Griffith Park to the Culver City Stairs, those are a few of the perfect hiking/exercise spots outdoors. Downtown LA has some of the best boutique shopping and eateries. Food styles include everything from Vegan, Mexican and Chinatown. Little Ethiopia also has incredible food and boutique shops and is close to the Third Street Farmers Market, which is filled with handmade candies, clothing, foods and spirits. The Grove has beautiful scenery and shopping. Santa Monica Beach and Malibu offer beautiful sunset views, bike rides and ocean for miles. Downtown Inglewood has beautiful coffee shops (including Issa Rae’s new shop), Black owned brands for shopping and incredible BBQ.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The person that has had the greatest impact on my career/success thus far would be my mom. My mom gave bought me my first lighting kit when I couldn’t afford to pay for it myself. It was days before I scheduled to begin filming on my webseries, To Live & date in LA, and she not only bought me a film lighting kit, but her and my dad took me to Costco and bought food for the craft table for me. When I called my mom one night in tears over an actor quitting the night before the first day of shooting, she gave me advice I still replay in my head to this day. My mom never questioned my goals and supported me no matter how far fetched they seemed. As a kid she introduced me to comedy/horror films, and my parents took us to the movies every time a new Black film came out. No one has ever supported me in my life the way my mom did and I will always be grateful and appreciative of her.

Website: toliveanddateinla.co
Instagram: @toliveanddateinla
Twitter: @awkwardgirlla
Youtube: youtube.com/toliveanddateinla

Image Credits
Cassia Jones

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