Most actors today inspire audiences, communicate characters through breathtaking portrayals and put on memorable performances of a lifetime, which can be worthy of standing ovations and awards. Most dancers today evoke emotion and passion through body movement and express himself or herself through stories, ideas, rhythm and sound. Most models these days strut the runway or take the fiercest and effortless photos with the hopes to promote the latest fashion trends, clothing and even themselves through advertising products or with works of art. Two things these all have in common are the inspiration and dedication they require and junior arts, entertainment and media management major Devin Norwood.
Norwood, 22, always knew he belonged in the art world, whether it involved dancing, modeling, acting or if it pertainted to his concentation—performing arts management. Norwood is a Chicago native—born and raised—and has been at Columbia since he was a freshman. He is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry in and throughout the Chicagoland area. Watch out for Devin because he isn’t just a triple threat—he’s a quadruple threat!
Jackson Thomas: How did you first hear about Columbia College Chicago?
Devin Norwood: Well, I did the High School Summer Institute for the Arts Program for 2006 and 2007, so I just fell in love with it and knew it was where I was going to come for college.
JT: What made you want to attend Columbia for its undergraduate student program?
DN: My major used to be dance, so I do have aspirations for that. I’m a dancer, so that’s like my natural gift, that’s just my calling, something I feel like I’m here to do. I want to have a degree in dance, so I decided to attend Columbia as a dance major. But now I’m an [arts, entertainment and media management major with a concentration in] performing arts management. What made me want to change it was the focus and emphasis of the program because it’s more of modern-based. I decided after moving through the program for two and a half years, its direction and my direction were different. The focus and direction was not what I wanted to do personally.
JT: Can you tell me about some of the dance shows you’ve been in? Even some of the modeling you’ve done?
DN: On campus I’ve done so many things! I’ve done a modern vogue piece called “Hot Mess.” That was in fall 2008. I’ve done the first year of Biggest Foot, which was last year, and I performed at Manifest last year, too.
JT: What was the defining factor that made you realize Columbia was the school for you?
DN: I was drawn to its website. The actual High School Summer Institute Program was something I thought was cool, and it was something different. What really drew me to the college was that and Amy Stewart, who works in the admissions office. I contacted her a lot throughout high school, and she always responded to my e-mails and was really polite. She was just so informative about the college. I knew Columbia was where I wanted to be because I’m an artist!
JT: What are you most looking forward to when you receive your degree from Columbia?
DN: Me being able to take everything I’ve learned from the college and my classes and apply them to the world. Right now I’m really focusing on getting my website together, photo shoots to launch my website and show my art. I have several auditions and casting calls. Right now I’m currently performing in a fashion show on Feb. 11, so that’s coming up. I’ll be on “Jerry Springer,” I did a taping for dance segment as a dancer. That actually airs on Feb. 10. Things are back to back for me right now. So I’m really blessed and humbled.
JT: What’s next after Columbia? What is your dream job, and what would you like to do with your degree?
DN: There’s a lot of options for me right now. Part of me wants to move to Los Angeles or New York to pursue dance and work for an agency. I have a few callbacks, but we’ll see where that goes. I want to do anything that has to do with dance or talent management, performing arts management or modeling, whichever one works!