We had the good fortune of connecting with Lioness TeLaine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lioness, what do you attribute your success to?
I’d say the most important factor behind my success is patience and commitment. So many times we start something in life and lose the vision. We lose motivation to see it all the way through. Once we get to a place of stagnation, we have to ask ourselves anyways, what keeps us motivated? Ask yourself what is success and what does it look like for me?
I often get to a point in life where I’ve outgrown the last place I was in and it causes me to want more and that’s my motivation. That’s how I continuously create abundant success.
In both our professional and personal lives, we must be open to change, we must be adaptable and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. We must be open to enjoying the process and the journey of success. There’s not just one route, there are many. There have been many avenues that I took that led me to where I am today.
For example, I went to school for the film in Chicago but when I moved to Dallas, I did radio broadcasting for 3 years! However, radio helped me to establish a name and a brand for myself, a foundation brick by brick. One brick led me to another and the next thing I know, I have a whole castle that I built by trusting the flow and the process of success. I was able to meet the people I needed to meet, establish connections, contacts, networks, secure opportunities that led me to the next, and boom; I meet my first movie director and this is what began my professional acting career in film.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a filmmaker, actress, media personnel, writer, and owner of an apparel brand. I am currently Executive Producer, writer, director, and starring actress of my first full feature film, “Dynasty”, an urban sci-fi. It is by far one of the proudest things I have ever set foot to accomplish. I started out as an actress and appeared in my first stage play at the age of 12 as Malcolm X’s wife, Betty.
I always wanted to be an actress and looked up to actresses like Sanaa Lathan, Regina King, Jada Smith, Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard to name a few. I attended Milwaukee High School of the Arts and majored in theater. By my senior year, I was able to travel overseas to the United Kingdom for a month to perform theatrical plays written by high school students from Milwaukee. I too had written a poem which was composed into a song and performed in the same productions in England. That was the first success I had experienced as a theater major. It went viral and was the most requested song to be played in the United States version of the production the UK students performed. I wrote my first screenplay that same year for my senior finals and was able to fill up the theater twice for the viewing.
Over 10 years later, I’m now working on my 4th appearance in a full feature film, all of which are on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, VUDU, Vimeo, iTunes, and Google Play.
Some of the challenges I faced on my journey are being looked over or not conforming to certain types to get ahead in the game. You have to show integrity and be consistent. Another challenge I faced was being told you need money for everything you may want to do. That is so false, in fact, sometimes money is the last thing you need. They don’t tell you that though! I found it challenging sometimes to get the respect you felt you deserved for what you were doing. Sometimes people don’t take you or your business seriously and you are left to be looked over. I also found that sometimes people may not have the drive you have and you are yet left alone to figure it out. But that’s what makes you resilient and a professional! That’s what sets yourself apart, that’s what sets me apart for sure. It’s my drive and tenacity. Nothing will stop me, not even the challenges.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned is to support when you can and it’s okay to say no. Not all business is good business or the business for you. As you begin to elevate in your career or your professional path, you must become more selective with who and what kind of business you do. Stick with your brand’s objective and continue to work with others who elevate your brand and uplift it in ways that benefit all.
Lioness TeLaine LLC is a brand that encompasses media, marketing, and film into one scope. I have a production studio that produces films and commercials, called TeLaine Studios 7. I’m also the owner of a clothing apparel brand called 7000 Hours that designs custom clothing and sneakers for men, women, and children. My media company is called TORAB Media and we produce all things media, including markeing and radio broadcasting.
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.
If my best friend came to visit, I’d definitely have to take her downtown Dallas to Deep Ellum. I absolutely love the artistic culture, the vibes, the food, and the live music the area has to offer. There are art murals and pictures painted on the sides of buildings and on the pillars underneath the bridge. It’s a great spot for photoshoots and videos! Right up my alley.
Most establishments keep their doors open when it’s nice outside, so it has a very inviting and welcoming vibe. All are free to walk in. The traffic is very heavy on foot and people sometimes play instruments on the side of the street to earn money or provide entertainment.
The food is authentic and very cultural, My favorite spot in Deep Ellum is Free Man Cafe. It’s a New Orleans-style establishment that has a live band playing 7 days a week and there is literally nothing like it. The food is absolutely amazing and the types of people you can see there are from all backgrounds and cultures. The music is what brings us all together for one night of litty-ness.!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to take out the time to dedicate a shoutout first and foremost to my mother. She is one of the biggest supporters I have in my life. She is the epitome of support. From a very early age, she supported everything I did. From sports to my creative endeavors and school activities; she’s my confidant. We’re extremely close and I thank the Universe for her heart to support. Without my mother’s support, I don’t know how my journey as a child would have been.
I’d also like to thank my film producer Ralph Celestin for saying yes in the midst of a bunch of “no’s. I’d like to thank him for supporting my vision and giving it a chance. He is an Award-winning filmmaker and wants to see another independent female filmmaker win and he took the chance to say “yes” and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Thank you to everyone else I have crossed paths with in both my professional and personal journey as well. Everyone connected with is purposed and has contributed to my success in one way or the other. I love you all!
Other: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dynastythemovie/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dynastythemovie/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/dynastyscifi Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/telainestudios/
Photo Credit goes to Billie Sharp and Joanna Duchess Williams