Me with the love of my life.

Storytime with Fresh Professor (Part Two)

Teacher Voice
Published in
14 min readDec 21, 2016


I wasn’t always the Fresh Professor. At one point, I was just another starving actor trying to make a living. But stories change over time, as do professional desires.

This is Part Two of my story. Enjoy the ride.

August 2000. Waltham, MA

Her name was Maggie, and she was badass.

I met her at Brandeis University, at the beginning of my second year as a grad actor. She was a first-year MFA, costume design.

For at least a week I’d caught only glimpses of this woman — from the back. Every time I tried to see her face she’d turn a corner or become inexplicably obscured.

Then one day, she sat in plain sight, eating her lunch in the common area, and I just stared in wonderment. She’s gorgeous — the moment I saw her face I was smitten. And when she turned my way, all I could think to do was smile the most charming Miles smile in the Miles repertoire. She looked at me and nodded her head in the “what up, pahtner” way I’ve only ever seen Black men do. That was the moment I fell in love … but don’t tell her that, or let her read this story — she hates when I write about her.

But I need to rewind.

One Year Earlier …

My first year at Brandeis was complete culture shock. Morehouse College, my undergrad, is an all-Black, all-male institution in southwest Atlanta, GA. Brandeis, however, is a predominantly Jewish institution founded in the same year as the State of Israel and located 10 miles west of Boston, MA. Up to this point, I had never lived anyplace smaller than Atlanta. Suddenly I found myself immersed in the suburbs of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts …

Though it’s among the most liberal of our states, it is widely known that White Bostonians hate Black people. And yes, that hatred extends 10 miles west.

As I was looking for work to supplement my scholarship, I was turned away by employer after employer, most of whom didn’t bother to look at my résumé. Luckily, when I applied at the independent movie theatre two blocks from my house, the interviewer was a film student from New York. His interview single question was, “What did you think of Eyes Wide Shut?”



Teacher Voice

James Miles is the CEO of MENTOR Washington, and consultant with Continua Consulting. Educator/Artist/Hustler. Learn more at