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Meet Tamika Simpkins of Red Rose Studios in Leimert Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamika Simpkins.

Tamika, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a child, I always felt I was meant to be a storyteller and an artist in some way. I would do modeling competitions with my mom, played instruments, writing, dancing, etc. At the same time, there was a logical aspect within me. I feel like these are the foundations of my ying & yang, the two careers I balance like two spinning plates on my fingers.

The path I’ve been down the longest is my journey with technology. As a Marine, my dad always thought it was best to have a skill that was sound and would look to be relevant in the future. Back in the late 80’s, he gifted me my first computer. At the time, it was much larger and in different parts than tech we use today, but I was completely intrigued by it. I immersed myself in all of the info I could get my hands on about it. Mostly that information included programming code, which started me down the path of becoming a programmer.

During the time of pursuing my degree, my interests in programming began to wain, as the information on programming expansion felt limiting to me. I even took on the hobby of building computers from scratch, which became overwhelming because then everyone wanted me to build a computer…for free. Later, I realized that I wanted to incorporate my creative side with the tech side. That’s when the world of the GUI (Graphic User Interface), Photoshop and websites became my new obsession.

Over the years of corporate jobs, freelancing as a technical consultant and website developer, I longed for something new. Enter the age of non-linear editing. Finally, I can tell stories with tech. I immersed myself in learning how to edit. After I knew how to edit, I needed stories to edit. I learned to write stories. Then I needed skills to make the stories. I learned to produce, act, direct and everything else to make the stories I wanted to tell.

Today, my two careers, as a website designer/developer & technical consultant, through my business Red Rose Studios and as a storyteller through acting, writing and editing, completely fill my spirit on a daily basis.

I am completely excited to see what the next chapter of my journey holds.

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?
No smooth roads at all. Not sure if life is designed that way, privileged or not. Most challenges included money, resources and opportunities. In the past, in several industries, but especially technology, African-American women tend to be the smallest group represented and definitely the smallest opportunities. It’s great to see more opportunities and organizations now to support that. We now live in a culture that makes gaining that knowledge and those resources much easier. As a woman of color, there’s the constant requirement to prove that you not only belong in the room but definitely at the table. I was always told you have to work twice as hard for chances as Caucasian Women or African-American Men. As a woman of color, you have to work three times as hard as Caucasian Men, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much education or experience you possess.

As an actress, I think Viola Davis said it best in a speech when people refer to her as “The Black Meryl Streep” and yet she’s nowhere near her Caucasian Female peers in money and opportunities.

(Source: https://twitter.com/RexChapman/status/1278157529286148096) This inspires me to create opportunities and tell stories that I want to tell and that need to be told. After 14 years here in LA, by way of Philadelphia, pursuing my artistic dreams, I can see and feel the big tier leap happening. That’s been through a lot of heartbreak, rejection, depression and questioning of my self-worth.

Please tell us about Red Rose Studios.
For my technical business, I design websites and graphics for creatives, non-profits and entrepreneurs. I also do technical consulting, mostly involving troubleshooting technical issues. I’m most proud that I get to break down the barriers of intimidation that people have with technology and assist them with creating a succinct and well thought out online presence for their brand or company. I’ve done websites for Richard and Tina Knowles-Lawson, Garth Kemp (CBS meteorologist), Virginia Hamilton (The voice of The View, GMA and On The Red Carpet), Marlene Forte (Fear The Walking Dead) and many others I feel like what makes me different is that I am a guide for those who identify as being ‘non tech savvy’. We all have the capability, it just takes a bit of time, patience and tolerance.

In regards to my creative business, as an actress, I have done theatre, television and voice work. My recent credits include Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere and will be guest-starring in an upcoming episode of NCIS on CBS. I think I’m most proud of my resilience, which is definitely a must in Hollywood. I feel like we all have a unique voice and story and can bring that to the characters and the stories we choose to tell.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
In general, my favorite memories would be the times spent with family. I have a split family, as my parents were very young when I was born and weren’t married. I’m the oldest and I have two brothers on my father’s side and two sisters on my mother’s side. So there was always different adventures on both sides of my family.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Zaugh Photography

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