5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started: Tysha Williams, TV Host and Philanthropist
“Take time to take in your accomplishments no matter how big or small they seem. This city has a way of making you feel the moment you relax or take in just living that you are slacking and perhaps missing out on something. Yes, be hungry, stay hungry but acknowledge your accomplishments. Trust me it will replenish you on your journey to the next goal.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing model, actress, dancer, TV host and philanthropist Tysha Williams. She is also the founder of ALL SMILES PRODUCTIONS.
What is your “backstory”?
It’s always funny when I’m asked: “so what’s your story?” I had never been asked that so much until moving here in 2009. My personality is pretty wild so I can only guess that that was the spark of a conversation. I am a Midwest born girl from Missouri to a single mother (at age of 3) with an older brother raised by my Pastor and Wife grandparents in a small town COGIC household where love was number one! I come from a cloth that shows humanity compassion always, even at their own demise sometimes. I grew up with cousins, and foster kids in the home so if you could imagine there was never a dull moment. The church was a definite schedule. Bible study on Tuesdays, prayer meeting on Thursdays, fellowship on Friday, choir rehearsals on Saturdays, Sunday service and repeat! as a kid we enjoyed it and of course as adolescence set in we began to be pulled in other directions of interests. My family is a very musically inclined one. At a very young age, I remember music and performance drawing me in. My dad was a DJ so it was embedded. I was 2 when ‘thriller’ came out and I remember being terrified but still couldn’t take my eyes off the video! the movement! I wanted to learn all the moves, then came “bad” and well… ‘nuff said! The power of music, soulful music, music that spoke to you and had a healing quality had been birthed within. fast forward to pre-teen years and up we used to sneak and watch BET and Yo MTV raps in the house, which was not allowed! but it’s the 90s and its M.C. Hammer time and all the 90s dance tracks…hello! I rebelled a bit — love you, grandma! I spent hours in just watching and mimicking moves from the top played videos and artists I loved and that didn’t change as I graduated to middle school in my own room I could spend countless hours watching Aaliyah, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears videos and awards performances. I wanted so badly to train and expound on those talents but the resources weren’t available. I later moved to Atlanta, GA with my mom in efforts to expand her journey and that was when the doors and windows of possibilities opened up. I was now in a place to further pursue dreams I had always wanted expanding outside of just drama club and theatre. I wanted to be in this business but had no blueprint before me from anyone in my family nor friends so yes as you can imagine I got burned a couple times but you live and you learn. That didn’t stop me. Los Angeles had always been in my crosshairs but not my family after high school they said it was ‘too far’ so there went design school at FIDM. I settled with Georgia state and ‘hotlanta,’ now an entertainment/production heavy weight all its own. Nonetheless, I truly have to say Atlanta prepared me for my new home. I started dance classes in school, doing shoots to build a portfolio, making friends of whom I’m still close with today. These girls sparked my love for the Japanese culture and aided me in my being fluent in Japanese. Finally, 2009, failed relationships, anxiety attacks and the rat race of what seemed to be chasing my tail had reached its peak. I had to get off the bench and in the game, which lead me to a one-way ticket, shipment of my VW beetle and 300 bucks in my pocket to LA…well Granada Hills…that’s a whole other story. TADAIMA!!! (I’m here)
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Oh wow, you want me to pick out just one! Well, I’ll share this one that isn’t perhaps the funniest but rather interesting and I must say it really opened my eyes to the dark sides of the business and solidified the unfortunate things I had heard and read over the years (I like to read and research like crazy) prior to moving to LA, about a year and half, I had been listed on one of these known casting sites and was selected for an audition for this “major” feature film (me knowing nothing about production at this time) in which I was selected from my very small reel (questionable right, but I was excited, finally my chance) However, I had to get here to meet with the director… I think you pretty much know where this is going. Anyhow, I spent my little savings and set up to come here for 4 days. All went well and the city embraced me like I thought it would. However, this encounter was a direct shot to my confidence as a performer and mostly a woman. I left truly hurt that the situation wasn’t what it seemed and embarrassed that I had risked all my money on a bogus and degrading intended encounter. It’s true!! That was a true turning point for me mentally to not just lean on being pretty face and talented but to make sure I educate myself on ALL aspects of the business after all I was on this ship alone with no family to guide me in understanding, other than to hold your head up high, always maintain your integrity and fight for what you want. Yes, it happens to many and often encouraged but that failed attempt awakened me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Are you working on any meaningful nonprofit projects?
I come from a family that loves on people. Good or bad, we always try to see reasoning and work from inside out. Everything I involve myself in has most likely been an ailment or a mindset that I’ve embraced at one point and had to fight against. I always felt inadequate in some ways. I have dyslexia and battled heavily in elementary school remembering what I read and still today sometimes although I have a better grasp of it. I feared reading allowed, but I would always be the first to raise my hand (having reread the passage beforehand) but I always placed myself in the fear. I felt I wasn’t good enough to dance along side some of the people I have over the years as I always had to work 10 times harder to remember choreography, yet I can look back now and see those individuals I danced with who have gone on to dance/choreograph for a top artist today. I remember wanting to be like ‘everyone else” having body issues that resulted in some very scary silent actions. Even being homeless for a bit and just praying that he keeps me. I say all that to say everything I do starts with me first, I’ve been affected by it directly or indirectly. I love working with the youth because I remember my mindset, low self-esteem, shyness and all the greatness in me I felt but didn’t know how to access. That voice telling me I’m not good enough so why even try, don’t you’ll embarrass yourself, which lead me to cheer captain and teaching dance in Hong Kong at 18. Wanting something so bad but keeping it to yourself because you don’t feel strong enough to reject the rebuttals. So I volunteer and was implementing a program for the organization covenant house here in Hollywood for homeless teens. A lot of them are very gifted but have encountered very harsh circumstances. Just taking the time to speak with them, listen to their art, encourage them and donate items to them brings a little spark back into their eyes. Now, I do a lot of red carpet events and am dressed by designers and also buy my own gowns in which I donate to organizations to help dress girls for their Prom. I also work with Can-Do Clemency organization whose mission is to help women and men who have been wronged by our “justice” system in hopes to grant them clemency from harsh punishments they have been given for non- violent first-time offender crimes as well as fight to change policies. I’m super excited to have completed and aired my highly anticipated sit-down interview with the founder, Amy Povah now on Studio 3 Hollywood/Roku TV and Youtube. Watch full episode below. Lastly, my new label I.She.Me.Her.We.You. will be launching its’ first t-shirt collection called CaliCasual soon and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to different causes I support.
Can you tell me a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
Some I can’t name as they were rescued from horrible situations like human trafficking rings. Most I don’t keep names on, I just try to be present, be a blessing, help fill the need where I can and repeat. During my introduction to Amy and her organization Can-Do Clemency, 13 (my fave number!) women have received clemency prior to Obama’s administration departure! One very deserving lady whom I’ve been so blessed to have been able to communicate with, Ms. Alice Marie Johnson has the most amazing spirit and outlook even given her years of misfortune and is quite a talented individual. She’s got quite the following and we are still fighting for her and Michelle West. It starts with the Conspiracy law!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started” and why?
“Someone” told me all of these things, just wish I had realized and maybe took hold of them sooner.
1. You can’t please everyone so please and sleep well with Tysha first. More so in the past than now but I struggled with trying to people please in every situation. The feeling of “Being out of control” was overwhelming which lead to experiences like eating disorders, and wrong relationships, trying to make everyone happy but myself was a downhill battle. I was used to fitting in with everyone and what seemed to be all people liking me, I didn’t know what to do when I came up against those who didn’t. I’m nice, I’m fun, love to laugh, I’m cool with everyone why not you was the feeling I didn’t quite know how to master at younger ages. I found out later my headstrong ability to not be easily lead was in part a huge deterrent for those who wanted to invoke “peer pressure.” I was never one to do something because someone else told me to. If I was going to get in trouble then it was because I chose to!
2. If you can’t beat fear do it scared- Pretty much every endeavor I’ve moved towards and tried I was scared! Some more than others but I began to grow, believe in myself and the voice and vision given to me that any fear was nothing in comparison to the feeling or thoughts of regret. In enters a curiosity audition on my behalf with LA’s premier burlesque company, The Dollface Dames! I was struggling with trying to be everything to everyone. The dancer and the actress, but hated being conformed and marginalized. This was my entrance into a world of woman comradely, self-exploration and crazy confidence. Here I learned to embrace myself even more, empowering myself and others through my passion to create and share a piece of me in each performance. I got to make my own costumes, create my own choreography and treatments. It was a true dream come true for me one I still live today!
3. This life we get to live is a journey, not a destination! Time is relative. I recently came crossed my 25 years old 5-year plan…according to that, I would’ve had several major movie features along with some substantial sitcom credits. My handbag line (I love, love, handbags my goodness!) would be in full swing from utilizing the money from college days of handbag sales (which was quite successful for its time) I would have some major talk show ideas brewing. I’d have a well-oiled team and the resources to back it up…ha! Like they say from your mouth to God’s ears, I’m not giving up though. I was so obsessed with the end result I forgot to enjoy the journey and all that it requires to get to those places, but not only that, maintaining it is a whole new endurance that many forget about because we just want to get there. I’ve learned that lesson for sure these last few years. I would beat myself up about it too. I wasn’t like many that come here with a timeline because I knew I wasn’t going back. This is where I had always wanted to be, however, I do hold very high standards for myself and was used to results. So upon joining the 30’s club with some major life experiences…let’s just say I put in the work and practice patience daily.
4.Take time to take in your accomplishments no matter how big or small they seem. This city has a way of making you feel the moment you relax or take in just living that you are slacking and perhaps missing out on something. Yes, be hungry, stay hungry but acknowledge your accomplishments. Trust me it will replenish you on your journey to the next goal.
5. You can have it all! It’s a lot of logistics, work, and planning so I hear, as I’ve not yet added mommy or wife to that equation (well does my canine count!… he’s quite the attention grabber). However, given the tribe, I’ve been blessed with and the unconditional love shown to me from my family and significant other I now embrace the thought that for years terrified me. and time when that new challenge presents itself. But until then I’ll stick with my company babies, all smiles productions, LLC we got some more work to do love!
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, or I might be able to introduce you.
Oh Wow, I guess I better choose wisely! Well, I would have to pick someone whom I feel would have immense knowledge to share with me about how to move in business today and life. That would have to be THE Queen Latifah, Ms. Dana Owens herself! This woman has literally done and continues to do all the things I desire in this business. She lets no one define her and continues to shine and reinvent herself. No goal is too much. From around the way girl to media mogul. She has allowed all her talents and interests to shine without being put in a box. Everyone always asks you to choose, but I don’t want to choose! I love it all! It’s all within me to get out and share with everyone and perhaps help the next one on their path to fulfilling their own destinies.