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Meet Maryam Myika Day

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maryam Myika Day.

Maryam, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I identify as a hyphenated artist whose career started in the dance world. At a young age, I dance for the late Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, earning a scholarship to attend the prestigious school, my class represented African American school-age dancers who trained in rigorous ballet technique as an answer to the alternative street life so many choose in Harlem.

Dance defined me, provided much-needed discipline and taught me there were many places I could journey in the world through dance. I went on to earn another scholarship at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, then later, my BFA at Temple University as a dance major while dancing for the second company of Joan Myer’s Brown’s Philadanco — an all-black dance troupe in Philadelphia.

Upon leaving Philadelphia, I set my sights on the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in Denver, CO where I performed for two years. My career in dance finally led me to Broadway, landing my first New York stage appearance in the, the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of 42nd Street, in 2001. Having a desire to express my artistic self more, I turned my attention to an outward expression of my craft by creating opportunities for others. I decided to form my own production company Epiphany 3 Films, where I could make dreams realities.

This production company was born in the dressing room of the then Ford Theater where 42nd Street ran. Epiphany 3 Films became my platform to produce my own work and work for hire production jobs. Epiphany 3 Films’ inaugural project award-winning, Lavender: an Adaptation (2006 Reel Sisters Film Festival, Imagination Film Festival) led the pack of many projects to come. Both in the film and digital space, I and Epiphany 3 Films went on to produce projects for BMW, Toyota, Monster, IBM, award-winning independent film, American Falls and many more.

Playing double duty, I am still a working actor, so concurrently I appeared on New York City television tentpoles like Law & Order, Rescue Me, One Life to Live; feature film, Smartass opposite Joey King, and Fort Pit with Viola Davis. As a professional actor, in New York and now Los Angeles, I am lucky, and I know it. The luck has not run out, I booked national network commercials for Time Warner Cable, Hoover Vacuums, Burger King, VO spots for Carl’s Jr, McDonald’s, KeyBank and Western Union and others. My desire to develop more is the thrust of my work, becoming a writer I felt was a natural progression to my craft.

Moving from dancer to actor, to producer now a full-time writer, I have been humbly working on my proudest work to date, the telling of Motown’s own Tammi Terrell, a biopic, entitled Mountain High. An unsung hero in classic Motown hits, singing partner to Marvin Gaye, Ms. Terrell is a gem.  This film will star Kat Graham, of Vampire Diaries and All Eyes On Me.  In addition, my journey has led me to partner with MarVista Entertainment to tell the story of Jennifer Jones, the first Radio City Music Hall Rockette, and now in pre-production on my script, Nadege, the story of a family who tries to survive in the wake of the 2010 Haitian earthquake and currently staff writer for Amazon’s PRIDE: The Series, season three which will be ready for it’s viewers early 2019.

Additionally, my personal journey of loss is being chronicled my online via my Ascension blog.  A space I’ve reserved to share my heart and thoughts on losing a spouse suddenly after the birth of our newborn has been the most rewarding writing assignment to date.  This is a precursor to my book GRACE: I didn’t start living until my husband died, also releasing in 2019.

My life journey has truly been the most vibrant in storytelling in the making. My art is still evolving, I am looking forward to seeing where it will go to next.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I see challenges as motivation to dig deep. Self-reliance in this business is key to keep yourself sane and obstacle free.  The most significant struggle that I have had to face was an internal one, I had to realize I was not chocolate,  I cannot make everyone happy.  People pleasing, more specifically not trusting my gut is a struggle I had to overcome early.  This is also something you will find in many modalities and can be applied.  Making the choice to do what you love and how you love to do it is the key to smoothly navigating; this thought process has now allowed me to be struggle free in my art.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a writer for hire in Los Angeles who is of African American descent. I am a female whose voice is unique because I have an experience most do not in Hollywood. My background coupled with my experience affords me the ability to tell real stories about the real black experience, with the authenticity of someone who has lived it. I specialize in the real, real-life storytelling with a comedic edge.

My audience, those attracted to my work, want to be transported to the world of characters, who they themselves can relate too. Feeling the human experience on screen is what makes a great story. This is what I do and why I do it. I am most proud of the fact that I tell African American, American, Black women, disenfranchised peoples stories in the form of real-life biographies, fiction or nonfiction narrative, stage plays, prose, and shorts.

I tell stories that inspire hope, that challenges our views, our prejudices, and stories that bring rhythm or homage to the epic memories of our souls. My stories define me as an artist, woman, and mother so these stories are in essence a reflection of my soul.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
My most proudest moment is when I made the jump from concert dance to musical theater, by earning my place in the cast of 42nd Street. Famously, I along with many other struggling artists had very little money in the bank and struggled to figure out how to make a living as an artist.

With only $2.00 cash in my bank account I went to an open casting call for the show at 10 am one morning, by 3 pm that afternoon, I landed the job. A life-changing moment that forever etched in my brain that whatever you set your heart to seek it is seeking you.   I went from essentially zero dollars in my bank account to becoming a member of the coveted Actors’ Equity Association, to opening night on Broadway, my debut in the quintessential broadway musical to opening the 2001 Tony Awards on the Radio City Music Hall stage.

My second proudest moment was being recognized while producing television show Real Moms, Real Stories, Real Savvy with a 3 Telly Awards. My work as a young segment producer really paid off, this moment cemented I had a eye for storytelling.  My third most proud moment is when I became a published author with my book, The Commercial Actor’s BLACK BOOK.

My work as a producer for advertising cross paths with my journey as an on camera and VO actress. I took the opportunity to share all that I know about the business of commercial casting from an advertising perspective.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nazli Shaw

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