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Meet Ericka Kelly

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ericka Kelly.

Hi Ericka, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I do a little bit of everything and have lived in a little bit of everywhere, but was raised in Scottsdale, AZ. Growing up as a minority, although privileged, I knew that there was so much more out there than the micro-aggressions of Arizona. I found dance as an outlet and spent most of my time in studios and on competitive teams.

Throughout college at Arizona State and into adulthood, I held contracts with the NBA, NFL, The Disney company and more. As injury and age-progressed, I looked towards more rehabilitating practices which led to immersing myself in yoga and holistic therapies. I was teaching yoga and had been working in marketing for the Cannabis industry for a few years building campaigns and producing events when I made the decision to move to Oakland, CA. If you’ve spent any time in The Bay, you know how special it is, that is where I found my individuality yet strong understanding of the power of community. I began to miss being a quick drive away from my family and had been traveling to Southern California for my job. After a few serendipitous trips, I developed this sudden creative urge pulling me to get to LA. Summer 2019, I made the transition to Los Angeles and it not only reignited this creative spark but forcibly, with the help of Covid, expanded my abilities as an artist. Since my move, I’ve looked laterally to my friends and other creatives and now work with a few agencies producing original content for their brands and clients.

Alright, 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?
For me, I think the hardest thing for the longest time was trying to define myself. So I stopped trying and instead let every version of “me” organically come up in the things that I do. One day I’m a dancer/model, the next a stylist, some days a photographer to then come home, send a yoga sequence to a client before starting work on producing a music video. The idea of being just one thing does not work well for my Gemini spirit and I think being able to shift into different roles has given me more opportunities. Overall, I have always had a strong sense of self as well as support system to keep me grounded and help me through adversity. I’ve had it no harder than any other woman of color in America; the tokenization and unequal treatment are unfortunately aspects I’ve had to learn to maneuver around. That treatment is what has in a sense, forced my hand to more autonomous career choices.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I really do a number of different things on any given day but I consider myself a movement artist and director and am involved in every part of each process. I’m represented by Rae Talent Agency (SF) and IAC (LA) and have been featured in a few commercial projects; most recently in an NFL on Fox Social Justice campaign and Tabria Majors’ Beylloween viral tribute video. Most people are introduced to me through dance or fitness modeling first. A year ago, I made a goal to transition to roles more behind the scenes. When I’m not in front of the camera, I’m styling, shooting, or directing who is. I currently produce, style, or shoot photography for Neighbors Work Shop, GAP Magazine, and Irene Ashu Creative, which has connected me to a network of other artists within a very short amount of time. Between the three, I’m able to produce content for film, photo, and print. I’m most proud of my ability to connect and communicate with people on a genuine level. Because of my dance/fitness background, I am often asked to direct movement or lend my eye and that is a muscle that takes WORK. To get people to execute your exact concept takes very clear compassionate guidance that I’m so fortunate yoga has given me the patience and tools to express on a basic level.

I still teach private clients so if you need a one-on-one restorative yoga class, I am your girl. I love seeing others develop and grow over a long period or even just in one shoot or session. I’m also proud of the teams that I represent. All Black-Owned and operated. Neighbors Skate Shop in Leimert Park is a project with a mission to protect and preserve the legacy of the community through the love, energy and momentum of skateboarding. GAP Magazine is an ode to the art of print, created by Courtni Poe. The stories are inspiring, the graphics are mesmerizing and it’s been a breath of fresh air in a world revolving around Instagram. Lastly, IAC Agency not only represents me as talent but also as crew, it’s a team fueled by the visions of Black women. Co-Creating with these collectives has allowed me freedom not just artistically but also spiritually. In these environments I never have to pretend. I am the most authentic version of myself and allow my gut to lead my ideas. I think what sets me apart again is yoga. I’ve cultivated a calm and centered energy and try my best to detach from ego which is key on set. I’m fluid. I’ll steam the clothes or shoot the editorial shot. It all is necessary for the end product.

Any big plans?
Hopefully, no more geographical changes. I feel the most at home out of all the places I’ve lived (some not mentioned here) in LA. As crazy as 2020 was, my immediate community was able to thrive and create under the most difficult of conditions and I can’t wait to see what it morphs into in the next five years. I love living by the water, the sunshine, and at the end of the day, what drives me is family and connection. I see myself as a bridge, giving access to opportunity, guidance, and inspiration.

Contact Info:

  • Email: contact@erickamichelle.com
  • Website: erickamichelle.com
  • Instagram: @erickamichelllle @sheischillin


Image Credits:

Tabria Majors, Glen Dandridge, Ericka Kelly

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1 Comment

  1. Kenneth

    March 1, 2021 at 21:13

    You go Ericka! Do your thang! Proud of you – keep at it – looks like you’ve got something really special going on here! Uncle Ken, BK NY

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