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

Hi Erica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risks is extremely important to me because if you don’t try something you’ve always wanted to do then you will never know what could happen or what could be. I never want to look back on my life and regret not trying my absolute best or doing whatever I could to make my dreams come true. I have taken many risks in my life to get to where I’m at now and when I look back, I realize how far I’ve come and if I never took those risks than I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. Of course, taking risks is scary because you never know what the outcome will be or if it’s going to work out and it’s hard to leave your comfort zone, but if you live in that fear then you may never get to where you truly want to be. You must trust the process and trust that everything will work out in the end. Believe in yourself. This is the most important aspect of doing anything, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter if others believe in me or what I can do. I used to care what others think of me, but none of that matters. What matters is that I believe in my abilities, my talent, and most importantly myself. You only get one life to live, so take as many risks as you can, explore your capabilities, leave your comfort zone, because at the end of the day it’s your life and you deserve to be happy!

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Everyone is unique in their own way and has their own story to tell. We all face different challenges in life to get to where we are now. For me, my path hasn’t always been easy, but what sets me apart is the fierce passion I have for my dreams, the determination to not give up no matter how hard it may seem in this moment, the positive attitude to continue no matter how many rejections I may face and the fact that I am able to stay humble through it all and come out stronger at the end of each day. The path to success is never easy, but your attitude can make or break you. Some days I take a step back and look at where I first started as to where I am now and when I do that I truly realize the obstacles I have overcome and how far I have travelled on my journey. High school was not easy for me, I was bullied a lot when I was younger and carried that with me for a long time. I took 3 years off of school, afraid to go to college because I didn’t want that same experience. I ended up attending a university in my home town for acting/directing and it was one of the best times in my life. I went in with a positive attitude, not knowing what to expect, I did my absolute best and when I started realizing I was my only competition and it shouldn’t matter what others think of me, only then I truly started to rise. I was in several productions, worked at my parents restaurant, I was a community advisor, got the only theater scholarship available, freshman of the year award, had straight A’s and graduated a whole year early. This experience taught me that I have what it takes to do what I want. If we truly put our mind to something and we are that passionate about it, we can make it happen. I moved around many times including across the country twice and have worked numerous jobs so that I could continue to pursue my passion. Of course it hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is. I could tell you everything I have been through, the blood, sweat and tears, but what I think is most important to know, no matter how hard life may seem at times, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Where I am is where I’m meant to be. We can’t worry about the future or dwell on the past because all that matters is this moment. It took me a long time to realize that I am enough and I have something special to share with the world, we all do, and I will do whatever it takes to share my dream with the world.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Being that I have only been in Atlanta area for a year, I would take my best friend to some of my favorite places that I have been so far:

Float down the Chattahoochee
Ponce City Market
Georgia Aquarium
Yonah Mountains Vineyards (Cleveland, GA)
Six Flags
Simpsonwood Park (Peachtree Corners)
Shoal Creek Campground
Truist Park
The Fox Theater & Taphouse (Sandy Springs)
The Springs Cinema

Bartaco (Buckhead)
New Realm Brewing (Beltline)
Loyal Q BBQ (Alpharetta)
Playa Bowls
Fire & Stone Italian Pizza Kitchen (Peachtree Corners)
Mojave Restaurant
Jeni’s ice cream
Eight Sushi Lounge

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t get to where I’m at now without the support from my parents. They own a bakery in Vermont, which is where I grew up. I learned to bake and cook at a very young age, my mom taught me everything I know. Not just about the hospitality business, but also what it’s like to overcome obstacles and continue pushing forward. Of course, we all go through struggles and I saw my parents overcome what would seem like impossible roadblocks. They showed me the power of not giving up on my dreams, to get back up if I fall down, to try and try again if I fail and to not stop trying until I succeed. I have a very determined attitude and a positive spirit which I am so grateful to have because of the incredible role models I have had in my life. I know that anything that happens to me is only temporary and that I have the power to change the outcome. Their belief in me is what gets me through some of the toughest times. Not only my parents, but also my incredible boyfriend who moved across the country with me twice because he believes in me so strongly. There may always be naysayers and nonbelievers, but the people that believe in you are way more powerful than any negative force against you.

Website: ericajamesactress.com

Instagram: @ericaejames AND @loveeyscakes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ericajamesofficial AND https://www.facebook.com/loveeyscakes

Image Credits
Sascha Knopf Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.