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Meet Azra Valani

Today we’d like to introduce you to Azra Valani.

Azra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I graduated with an Applied Economics degree and had my eyes set on a career as an Investment banker. When I finally made my way to the corporate world, dream job at the tip of my fingers, I suddenly realized the 9-9 grind wasn’t for me.

I yearned for more. I often questioned what my purpose was, and my desire for ‘money and power’ was almost non existent.

I took an acting class on a whim and a few weeks into class, I realized acting gave me something nothing else in the world had: a voice.

A voice to tell stories of women who look like me, that so often go unheard.

What some may call brave, I called my next move necessary. I quit my job, got an agent and started my acting journey.

Cut to today: I am now an actress, blogger, yoga instructor and day trader, and I’m certain the 19 years old version of myself would be kicking herself if she knew all those sleepless Econ nights were for nothing.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think anything in life is smooth – most of what I have done and accomplished along the way has come with an immense amount of pain and a lot of doubt.

Acting is synonymous with rejection and once you realize you aren’t doing it for the validation the rejection becomes a little easier to handle.

In addition, I don’t look like the typical ‘All American girl,’ which often means audition opportunities are limited. As a result, I decided to create content on Instagram and start a blog on Medium.

My desire to express myself and be creative is synonymous (yes, there’s that word again) with feeling alive, and I will continue to tell stories and create content for as long as the world will let me.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Aside from acting, I am also a blogger on Medium where I tend to write personal pieces about my experiences as a woman and a woman of color. I enjoy connecting with people from all over the world who may or may not share my experiences.

I have also built an Instagram following that I am hoping to transition over to youtube. My goal is to create a yoga channel that is inviting and inclusive for yogi’s who maybe a little too intimidated to practice in a class setting.

I am also looking to partner with homeless shelters in Los Angeles to provide free yoga classes as part of a program to help bring meditation and yoga into shelters. Stay tuned for that – which probably won’t get off the ground until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

I can’t stress that enough. Nothing will ever go as planned in life, I realized that when I got into a car accident in college. I broke my jaw, fractured my left clavicle and had many other injuries that required me to take a year off from school to recover, What I so quickly realized was, I could still graduate on time if I overloaded my semesters and summers with classes.

Don’t worry though I was 19, pulling all-nighters and working overtime was much easier than it is now.

I did graduate with my class, and I even got the job of my dreams.

Resourcefulness is one of the key qualities I have that has helped me take what was mine 🙂

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