This week we had the pleasure of catching up with Campus Celeb, Jaida Brooks. Jaida is a junior Strategic Communications major and Business Management minor from Prince George’s County, MD. She is apart of numerous organizations such as Women’s Caucus, Stay Woke Wednesdays, New Era Modeling Troupe, and she is a Spring 2017 initiate into the Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Jaida let us in on some secrets, advice and even shared a few personal anecdotes. Keep reading to find out more…
HC: When did you first start dancing and what inspires/motivates you to keep pursuing your passion of dance?
JB: I began dancing at the age of three, which was sorta early for people to begin. Usually people don’t start until the age of 5, however, I was so intrigued with the movement of the body and how stories could be told through the art of dance. As far as what motivates me to continue to pursue my passion, it’s God. I lost this passion my freshman year due to personal circumstances, however, I was able to rekindle that passion after increasing and bettering my relationship with Him. He reminded me of my purpose and gift, so I took all that He blessed and reminded me of and decided to fulfill my purpose. I want to pour into others with my knowledge and experience within the dance community and those looking to pursue the same dream as me. Dance is such a beautiful thing and I want others to feel they can reach this same goal no matter their current circumstances.
HC: What songs are on your most played playlist?
JB: I mostly listen to R&B music and throwback jams. My favorite artists are Dvsn and Drake, so a majority of my recently played list is filled with that genre of music. And of course my girl, Beyonce!
HC: Congratulations on being signed to a talent agency. What was the process of getting to that point and what are your next steps?
JB: First, thank you all so much for the congratulations! And wow. This process is literally unbearable and very discouraging in a way. Pretty much, in high school when I danced competitively, I would travel to New York all the time to audition for talent agencies but would never get a call back. It’s very overwhelming with the amount of people that are there, not knowing what exactly the agents are looking for, and just ultimately your confidence being diminished with all of the phenomenal talent there. I had the opportunity this summer to travel to Los Angeles, CA, with a program called Hollywood Biz which is an experience of a lifetime. We were able to speak one on one with artists already successful in the dance industry, perform at a top-notch dance experience, and have a private audition with a talent agency. Because of this opportunity, I was able to land a contract deal with the talent agency (Go 2 Talent); my next steps now are completing my undergraduate degree and, after graduating, moving to Los Angeles to pursue my passion in the dance industry. I still plan on obtaining a masters degree in Business Administration, however, I know it’ll take work and dedication.
HC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JB: In five years I’ll be 25 years old; I see myself still pursuing my dance career, however, extending my career to another level. I hope I am touring with an A-List artist, and I want to open up my own dance studio in the DMV area. Hopefully and pray-fully my dreams come into fruition.
HC: What is Unconcealed Light and how did you come up with the name?
JB: Unconcealed Light is my brand; how I came up with the name was actually inspired by my Pastor back home in Maryland. The New Years revival focused on being the light of the world, meaning sharing your God given gift to others and not being ashamed to do so. For a while I’ve been trying to search what my light was, and through this message God guided me to this path to lead me directly to what I was looking for. Unconcealed came from me reflecting within myself and realizing that I no longer wanted to restrict who I was because of what society places on women, especially black women. So together Unconcealed Light is being unapologetically you and sharing your experiences, knowledge and wisdom with other people who are going through similar things, and need guidance in order to conquer what the enemy is trying to withhold from them.
HC: What do you hope to achieve through your brand and are there any upcoming events?
JB: I pray and hope women are motivated to be confident and love the skin they’re in, no matter what their skin color is, body shape, or size is. Unconcealed Light is an outlet for women to be unapologetically and uniquely them. We want women to become conquers of this world, but women have to realize themselves that it begins with self-acceptance, worth, and patience. Yes! We have events coming up in April, which is a surprise! But I recommend everyone to get ready for it because it’ll be filled with sexy and fun activities that I pray many will enjoy! Stay tuned! HC: What advice would you give to girls who are struggling with confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love?
JB: Yes, my biggest advice for those who are struggling with these types of things is really creating and building a relationship with God. Increasing a relationship with Him you realize many of the things you stress over is out of your control and can only be handled by Him. He will allow you to know that you are imperfectly perfect in His eyes. He knows your struggles and He is here to assist you in all that you are going through, but you have to be ready to build that relationship with Him. His arms are open and His love is unconditional and irrevocable, you just have to take that step when you’re ready. My second advice is self-reflecting and asking yourself, “what is it about me that I want to enhance?” Taking time out to really figure out who you are as a person by yourself is essential and I cannot stress that enough. After figuring whom you are, putting action behind it and really putting forth the effort to improve your flaws. Number 3; DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE! This is a big one, and I am guilty of it. I know, especially in our 20 something’s, we tend to think that we should have everything together, but we shouldn’t! Again, this is the time to explore, find out things you like and dislike, what makes you laugh, cry, angry, etc. Comparing yourself is not going to do anything but drive you crazy, plus you NEVER know what one person had to do or been through in order to get where they are today. Live in your season now, and most importantly allow God to work on you in whatever season you’re in.
HC: How do you handle stress?
JB: When I am undergoing stress, prayer is always my go to. Especially in instances where it is out of my control, I allow God to handle things that I can’t. That’s one major thing that I do. I also confide in my parents and siblings. They reassure me that things will pan out in my favor and they constantly remind me of the things I’ve done and how far I’ve come in whatever situation that is causing me to stress. I try to release all negativity and toxicity that the current situation is having on me.
HC: If you could give your freshman-self advice about surviving college, what would you say?
JB: This is a hard one! Ahh! I would most likely tell my freshman-self to always remain true to you. In college, you can get caught up in what everyone else is doing which can cause you to lose focus on what your morals and values are. Yeah, it’s cool to try new things and make new friends but always remember your worth in situations and people. Another survival tip would be to always live in the moment; your college years are the years you can never redo! It goes by quick, so live in your season and never be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You’ll learn so much about yourself, how you work with others, and how you handle certain situations when encountering people who have a different upbringing than you.
HC: How do you feel about the #NeverAgain Movement and recent school shootings across the country?
JB: The #NeverAgain Movement is phenomenal in my opinion. I think it’s truly amazing for students to be advocating for what they believe in. These students are relatively young in age and I’ve never seen people come together at such a young age for something huge like this. In anything political or dealing with societal issues, it begins with us (the youth) speaking up and out. I think this is just the beginning of the government making a policy that enforces stricter background checks when purchasing guns. I believe something needs to change! All of these shootings are tragic, and gun violence is a major issue. Too many students are losing their lives at such a young age, and it’s really heartbreaking to hear and talk about. I pray again that there some new policies put in place in order to better the issue.
Make sure you keep up with Jaida and Unconcealed Light for updates … HCXO
Instagram: @Jaidamarie__ & @UnconcealedLight ; Twitter: @Jaidamarie