Interview With Karimah Westbrook | It All Starts From Within
While we all have different desires, we all have in common the perception that by having or experiencing what we want, we will feel good or better. Sometimes, this makes us conditioned to wait for things or people to make us feel happy. What if the formula works completely opposite?! At least, by allowing ourselves to have faith and enjoy our journey, we will have the possibility to be in control or how we feel.
” I think it all starts from within. If you feel good and have joy in your heart, your actions will reflect that. Circumstances begin to look different, you’re turning negatives into a positive. (…),” says actress Karimah Westbrook who portrays Grace James in CW’s new TV series “All American.”
• Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Karimah Westbrook?
Karimah Westbrook, who am I? Karimah, my name means a generous one and I believe that reflects who I am on a soul level. I’m an actress, writer, and producer. I was born and raised in Chicago. I’m the youngest of two. I love creating, the arts, nature, philosophies and learning new things. My family and friends are the most important to me. My passion is to entertain, motivate and inspire through my talents.
• Do you remember what you felt the moment you consciously thought, “I want to be an actress?”
I felt very determined the moment I consciously thought I wanted to be an actress. It was something I always loved doing and when I realized that I could pursue it as a career and earn a living, it was very exciting. I also knew I needed to focus on the how.
• Many actors thrive against the odds of not fitting into certain industry “standards,” and we don’t even question their success. What do you think is essential in our “doing” to keep true to what we desire most?
I think it’s essential to know why you want what you desire most. If the journey ever gets rough, you’ll remember why you started in the first place. I think you should follow your instincts and not deny how you truly feel when making decisions. You can’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t align with what you say you want. I also believe that you have to be your own number one fan. You have to believe in yourself even if no one else does. You have to believe and know it in your heart that whatever it is you’re striving to do is possible. Have faith and find the inspiration, you will find that there are a lot of people who serve as examples of dreams coming true.
• You diversify your influence in the industry by acting, writing and producing. What are the commune elements of these three disciplines and how do you embrace their differences?
The commune elements of acting, writing and producing is the visual storytelling aspect. You have to see the story before you can take steps to tell it, that is a step that happens in all three of these disciplines. It is the expression of the how you go about telling the story that differs.
I embrace their differences because even though the approach is different in how you tell the story, I know it all leads to the bigger picture. I think I have a good balance in the right-brain, left-brain department. Producing is more analytical yet requires some creativity in finding solutions. Writing and acting is very creative. I’m using my imagination with all of them though, seeing the project all the way through.
• As an actress, how do you switch your mindset from being You to becoming someone else and then back to the authentic You?
As an actress, I do switch my mindset but I’m never not me. I don’t become someone else. As an actor, you, your soul, is all that you have when acting. It is my imagination that connects me to the different realities that I play in. Every actors approach is different but the switch happens for me when I focus on my own personal day to day reality versus the reality that’s written.
• Grace James is your next character in CW’s new TV series “All American” set to premiered October 10th, 2018. What is the essence behind the show’s story?
The essence behind All American is that despite peoples’ outer appearances or circumstances, we are more alike than we are different.
• It’s not difficult for many moms to relate to your character Grace James, a warm, loving and single mother who entirely supports her son. How do you connect personally with Grace James?
I connect with my character Grace James because she always tries to make the best out of any situation in life, finding happiness despite the pain. The glass is half full for Grace and even when it’s not, she’ll find a way to make it so.
• What will fans love about the TV series “All American?”
I think fans will love that All American is very real and explores the hearts of people from different walks of life. It is very well written. If you’re watching, I think you will at least relate to one of the characters or circumstances on our show.
• It is fascinating to have the possibility to become different personalities. What is the greatest satisfaction you get from acting?
The greatest satisfaction I get from acting is the journey of exploring my character’s truth, sometimes it’s a lot of fun, sometimes very healing and it’s not only me that experiences those things but those who are watching. When I can get to the point of living truthfully and that truth affects someone to the point they no longer feel alone and they feel seen and entertained, that’s a win. I don’t think there’s one set thing that gives me satisfaction with acting, there are several things. There’s a high that I feel, it often feels like I just got out of the church.
Writing and Producing
• At this moment, what are your core intention and the message behind the stories you envision to write and produce in the near future?
My core intention is to entertain and to reflect humanity in my stories. I want my stories to be thought-provoking as well as entertaining. The message will depend on what I want to give a voice to.
• Are you involved in any charity organizations or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?
I haven’t had the time to be as involved with many charity organizations this year but I do have my favorites that I’ve worked with in the past. One is “A Place Called Home”, it’s a youth center for at-risk kids in South Central LA. I’ve also volunteered with We Feed the Homeless. This is a fantastic organization that provides food and clothing to the homeless community in downtown LA every Wednesday. I really enjoy being of service to the homeless.
• How have the arts helped you to pave your way to self-discovery?
Creation is always asking me for true expression. I can’t create anything real if I don’t start from a truthful place. As I explore my truth, even the things I may never admit to anyone, I learn more and more about myself.
• The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
I think it all starts within. If you feel good and have joy in your heart, your actions will reflect that. Circumstances begin to look different, you’re turning negatives into a positive. The creative process brings me much joy and that joy brings a level of peace. Joy is such a powerful feeling, it makes it hard for any negativity to really affect me as much. I sometimes say to negativity, “you’re not going to rob me of my joy!” It’s all a state of the mind. The glass is definitely half full.
• When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
I think the statement you can be, do and have anything you want is true. There are levels, degrees and a process to unfolding for everything but I truly believe that it’s possible.