Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Ward.
Kayla, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Seven years ago, at the end of 2011, my life finally began. My transition started as my marriage ended. I remember sitting on my couch in tears as I researched what pills I could take to end my life. I had just lost my best friend and hated myself for failing to be who she needed me to be. From a very young age, I knew that my mind and body did not match but had no idea how to explain that to anyone, so I decided to hide those feelings and try my best to be “normal.”
After years of running from my identity and trying my best to fit in, I broke down emotionally. I hated who I was and hated myself for feeling that way. I was at a crossroads when my divorce was finalized; I was either going to transition or end my life. I’m glad I chose to transition! The day I learned to love myself and let go of that self-hatred is the day my life began. My transition has had its ups and downs but finally living my life authentically has been amazing! The confidence I have gained has provided me with the courage to pursue my dreams of playing professional basketball and acting. As I was growing up, participating in sports (primarily basketball) was a way for me to escape my reality and distract myself from my constant thoughts of suicide.
That distraction became my passion. I lived and breathed basketball. Whenever I wasn’t thinking about or playing basketball, reality would hit, and I would be depressed again. That is when I developed an interest in acting. I knew who I was, but since I couldn’t be her, I decided I would do my best to convince everyone that I was the guy they would see when they looked at me. I took that leading role all the way through college, being a missionary, and eventually a marriage. I was committed to the role but would often find myself lost in who I was and where I was going in life. I couldn’t escape the depression and self-hatred that I had.
Now that I am living my truth, there is no holding back on what I can do and what I can achieve. Basketball is still a passion but no longer a distraction. Acting is a way for me to create a character that can tell a story but no longer be a mask to hide who I am. I no longer feel lost and depressed. I have a purpose in life, and that is to make a difference for others who think that they don’t belong or that they can’t be who they know they are. I want to use every platform I can gain to make this world a better place and be a light to those who feel they are stuck in darkness. Playing in the WNBA, acting in a television show and a movie, and modeling for a big company are all goals of mine personally, but each would also give me a louder voice to create a positive change.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I love taking things that I enjoy doing and finding a way to tell a story that encourages and inspires. Art, in any form, should evoke some emotion. I consider myself an athlete, actress, activist, model, musician, and writer and find that each of these passions can tell a story and elicit emotions.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
As an artist, I hope that what I do will encourage or inspire someone to pursue what it is they are passionate about, and if my art does that, then I find it to be successful. Because art is subjective and not everyone will like what you do, it is important to be prepared for criticism and not take it personally. If you are confident and proud of your work, you will be successful.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’m still new to LA and finding my way in the industry, so my work is limited as of now. I am currently working on a documentary project (Hoop Dreams) that will follow my journey as I try out for the WNBA. I am also collaborating with a local music composer/producer to finish some of my original music. Both of these projects will be updated regularly through my Instagram @kaylaautumnward. My channel, Kayla Ward, the talk show “Girls Like Us” that I co-host, and a global ad campaign with ASICS “I Move Me,” can all be found on YouTube.
- Website: https://www.youtube.com/kaylawardofficial
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaylaautumnward/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaylawardofficial
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kaylaautumnward
Thomas Garza, RJ Alvarade, Magdalena Wosinska, Jordan Ring, Godspeed Seven