Inspirational Women In Hollywood: How Zarah of ‘Diamonds are For Cocktails’ Is Helping To Shake Up The Entertainment Industry


My book and its movie tie-in series, “Diamonds are For Cocktails.” I think this is my biggest achievement yet only because I have never worked so hard in my life in accomplishing what I have with writing even though there’s a great deal of work involved in my singing, television, and philanthropy career. And other than visiting the French Riviera again, I see myself producing films, and continuing my work with youth around the globe with organizations like the United Nations among others.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Zarah.

Primarily known as an American television personality, Zarah (pronounced as Zay-rah) is also an accomplished recording artist with a flair for edutainment (education + entertainment). She inspires teens to educational excellence using music on her various media platforms. As the Co-founder of B InTuneCARES, a global media initiative for youth, she focuses on advancing music and arts education in conjunction with various international organizations’ humanitarian efforts. Zarah’s background as a television producer enabled her to transition into film projects, developing and producing major motion pictures among others.

Based out of Los Angeles but originally from Manila, Philippines, Zarah’s love for storytelling did not come to fruition until her adult life although she wrote her first lyrics when she was fourteen as a songwriter. Yet, it was her love for creative writing that she had secretly fallen for and as a growing artist, it was one creative avenue she had explored.

Zarah views the world through the prism of her creative mind. Driven by her passionate heart, her descriptive style of writing is what makes her stories palpable to her readers. Her work transports them to the most beautiful places in the world in such vivid illustration, they feel as if they are literally there. At a time when most populations are not able to travel to or visit certain places, Zarah brings it straight to their doorsteps.

A contributing writer for her television show B InTune TV for many years, Zarah wrote her first book Diamonds Are For Cocktails, a glamorous murder-mystery thriller after experiencing life in the French Riviera. After spending much time on the French Riviera, she never saw beauty the same way again. She followed up her book with a screenplay named after her Novel.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Well, I started in Manila, Philippines where I was born then lived in Los Angeles for most of my life. I grew up in a big family. My mother was a housewife and an entrepreneur, a strict disciplinarian while my father, a freelancer, was hardly around. I was sent to an all-girl Catholic private school and was surrounded by the wealthiest people in town. I was always fascinated with the rich people and had playfully pondered what it would be like if I were their adopted child. I spent my time daydreaming a lot growing up and when things got tough, I would often go to our front garden and let my creativity run wild whether it be singing a song I composed in my head or imagining beautiful things around me.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

My passion. Artists like me have the need to create. There is a flow in life that needs to be replenished daily, I feel, that I must constantly keep feeding or I will simply become stale. I don’t see things ordinarily. I knew there was something about my experiences in life that was quite different right from the start. Although writing was something I neglected when I was a child, my life experiences fueled my desire to create. Words became the perfect tool for me. So, leaning toward writing made sense to me. Who knew?

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I had a lot of interesting moments during my career. But the one that sticks out in my mind was meeting former President Bill Clinton at a Grammy event, who I introduced to Dr. Michael Nobel, a great-grandnephew of Ludwig Nobel of the Nobel Peace Prize, that evening. I presented a “Peace Book” to Bono from Dr. Nobel who was being honored at that event.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It was when I opened up for the Goo Goo Dolls concert for the first time at the 9:30 Club venue. We were at the rehearsal and going through the process when my Music Director asked me where my audio technician was. I said, “well, didn’t you arrange it?” At that moment, I knew we were in trouble. Kindly enough, the Goo Goo Dolls agreed to lend us their professional technician. How crazy is that? It truly shows you what characters these guys have. They’re good people. So, it basically seared in my memory to always be prepared.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My late husband Eugene Maillard taught me a lot about life and the business world. He also taught me to never give up. He was the most positive individual I’ve ever met in my life. I am grateful to him because he boosted my confidence and sharpened my mind just to name a few. When he was very ill, he told me to “keep moving forward, never look back and to be strong” days before he passed. This is one of the main reasons why I am breaking doors down, scaling every wall, trying to live the fullest of my potential in life with far more desire now coming from inside me than when I was a little girl dreaming of making it growing up. Experiences like these will transform you in ways that you can’t fathom.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

To never give up and that failure is part of the process. I always tell people that it’s not the beginning nor the middle but how your story ends, is what ultimately matters. If you can imagine yourself living your life without your dream, then good for you. I couldn’t.

What drives you to get up every day and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

My creativity and faith. Not only in TV and film, but in all aspects of life. I would love to see the Golden Age of Hollywood, the glamorous period in the 40s and 50s, be incorporated more in films and television these days. I’d like to know that the next generation of artists, especially filmmakers, is developing a respect for this period. I’ve always had a deep admiration for them, and I think there is something very special about that time.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

My book and its movie tie-in series, “Diamonds are For Cocktails.” I think this is my biggest achievement yet only because I have never worked so hard in my life in accomplishing what I have with writing even though there’s a great deal of work involved in my singing, television, and philanthropy career. And other than visiting the French Riviera again, I see myself producing films, and continuing my work with youth around the globe with organizations like the United Nations among others.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

First, diversity represents life on an average basis. When you do your usual routine and go anywhere — what do you see? You see people from all walks of life. For a movie or film to have some semblance of realism, it must reflect the type of community that actually exists: a diverse society.

Next, films are places where we can set examples and send messages to the next generation. Diversity on the big screen can show youth that the idea that some races are “better” than others is no more than utter nonsense.

And last, diversity in race, economic background, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation means having a wider roster of life experiences represented. I believe we develop our talents based on some of the lessons and experiences, both good and bad, that we all encounter in life. So when any work of art is more inclusive, it means that there is a wider range of talents showcased.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

First, I wish someone had educated me on the steps on how to pursue the entertainment industry. If I understood it clearer and better, I would’ve had more of an organized plan of action.

Second is the rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood. Having to reject encounters when you’re starting is heartbreaking for young people. Certain individuals in power do their level best to take advantage of the naiveté of young actors and actresses and leverage their desire in order to destroy dreams. They try to convince those starting out that this is how to “make it.”

You don’t have to do acquiesce to any inappropriate advances when you know in your gut it doesn’t feel right. More importantly, know that these advances are a thousand percent ‘not the way to make it’ and that your desire and talent are what will drive you to success.

Third, everyone needs a mentor who knows the industry because you need a sounding board to stir you in the right direction other than family members.

Fourth, I wish that someone had prepared me on how to deal with anything bad that might come my way. Preparation for a tough road ahead in life is always helpful as it avoids anyone from the pits and falls and alleviates unnecessary worries or pain. Rejection and disappointment are part of the game in Hollywood. Every time I deal with rejection or disappointment, I get a little stronger… but I wish I started the process of building out my system of coping mechanisms much earlier.

And finally, I wish I was pointed to the right people from the start as it would’ve saved me a lot of time. The Entertainment industry is a tough industry to break into. But if you’ve developed a hard shell and have the self-determination and right connections, it’ll lead you faster to success. That’s been my experience.

Can you share with our readers any selfcare routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

My daily routine is simple. I wake up and start creating. Whether it’s finishing the sequel to my book, conducting business in my office I always jump right in. Then I take breaks, reassess my day and go back to work if I don’t have meetings in between. I end my night by thanking God for His blessings to strengthen my faith and have a good night’s sleep. I’ve more or less lived this lifestyle for many years but ever since my husband passed, I’ve been practicing more of healthy eating with mainly organic and plant-based products like green vegetables, lentils and fruits. I work out whenever I have the chance. I do a healthy dose of meditation and breathing exercises whenever I need to. My treatment is nothing more than a good quality facial cream from either Clé de Peau or La Mer and a weekly facial scrubbing. Nothing special. Doing all these things, allows me to conquer what I need to for the day.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“All that glitters is not gold” by William Shakespeare. When I find myself going astray at one point or another in life, I must remind myself about my priorities and not let myself get sucked in by everything that entices me in this world. Life comes down to fleeting moments. Some days may feel longer than others, but it is shorter than you think. Losing your loved ones immediately changes your perspective. I now choose to do the most fulfilling tasks in life.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

It would have to be the power of creativity, particularly to the youth. This ability has brought me so much joy, reward, and fulfillment of my dreams through media and other platforms. It has done me well.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I love legendary icons in the past as I’m an old soul. Yes, but unfortunately, he is now deceased. Paul Newman, I thought was the person although my husband had worked with him and his wife, Joanne Woodward. Currently, I would have to say Brad Pitt. I’ve always admired how he didn’t get caught up with the frivolity of Hollywood. He had managed to build a successful production company and did his charity work simply to help people. That is something to be admired.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?


My Instagram is @thezarahcom, my Twitter handle is @zarahrocks, and my Facebook can be found here.

Follow me for snippets of my upcoming book, Diamonds are for Cocktails!

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.