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Life and Work with Jaquita Ta’le

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaquita Ta’le.

Jaquita, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started acting in commercials as a kid (I’m a native Angeleno) and somehow, the bug never wore off. In high school, I was on a Nickelodeon show called “The Journey of Allen Strange.” After going to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for theatre and dramatic writing, I took somewhat of a break to focus on music with my diasporic Hip-Hop duo/band (Nola Darling). We had a fun run, performing at Converse’s Block Party, UCLA Jazz/Reggae fest and DUB Car show, and collaborating with artists like Om’mas Keith of SA-RA Creative Partners and rapper Blu. After Nola Darling, I returned to my acting roots with roles on Showtime’s Shameless and ABC’s Castle. I’ve also worked with local theater companies like Brimmer Street, Sacred Fools, and The Road Theatre company. Although I don’t really sing and rap anymore (outside of the theater), I do still DJ around town (DJ Eartha Litttt! Past gigs include Space 1520, Los Globos, Resident DTLA, Mandrake Bar, etc.). These days, when I’m not auditioning for my next gig, I’m working in the voice-over or teaching Pony Sweat- a fiercely non-competitive dance aerobics class that my friend Emilia Richeson founded. I’ve also been a volunteer mentor with WriteGirl, a writing mentorship program for teen girls, since 2013.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not always been a smooth road. There have absolutely been times where I’ve felt lost and had no idea of what to do next. The moments of making a living + feeling artistically fulfilled at the same time were often few and far between. But I’ve never felt so discouraged that I’ve felt the pull to quit. For better or worse, I was born to make art.

A year ago, I finally was able to quit my “day job” after nearly eight years. It’s been exciting (and a little scary) but I feel confident that I’ll always be able to land on my feet. I would encourage young women at the beginning of the journey to listen to other’s stories but also to remember, above all, that their journey is their own. What’s worked or not worked for me might be the complete opposite for them. Fearlessness will take you far. Thank you notes never get old. Showing up is more than half the battle. Stay open to what the world wants to bring you- you never know where the path will take you (thank goodness!). And lastly, pay yourself first! At least 10 percent of every check. Major key.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I self identify as a “hyphenate.” Although I’m first and foremost an actor, I try not to put any limits on my creativity. It’s hard for some to understand, but working across creative disciplines is a no-brainer for me- it’s simply who I am. There are people who only know me for music and DJing while others know me primarily from dance/aerobics. And then, some only identify me from my work with WriteGirl.

While it’s fun to see or hear myself on TV, I’m especially proud of the volunteer work that I’ve done with WriteGirl/Bold Ink over the years. Leading young women (and men) in writing workshops and opening themselves up to the possibilities of their own creativity has been incredibly profound.

I’m also really proud of my teaching with Pony Sweat! It’s fun and makes people happy and is all about holding space for yourself and others while moving to great music. It might not sound it, but it’s absolutely revolutionary.

Who have you been inspired by?
The women in my family are EVERYTHING. My mother and grandmothers are brilliant and incredible women who have shaped me by example to have a strong work ethic, stand by my word, be kind to others, and put family first.

Other women that have inspired me are Eartha Kitt, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, and Grace Jones- all trailblazers and pioneers in their own regard. It’s not always easy to be the “first” or the “only”, but the aforementioned women walked the path with great dignity and a fearlessness that I try to channel in my own work.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @earthalittt

Image Credit:
Adam Tillman-Young, Matt Kamimura

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