When she’s not starring as “Gia Bennet” on HBO’s hit drama series, Euphoria, or running her own production company, A Seed & Wings, actor Storm Reid uses her celebrity to shine a light on the initiatives that can truly propel Black women forward.
The star spoke with BlavityU to share what sparked her passion for standing behind a new initiative, challenges that she’s faced while breaking into the world of acting, how she’s found mentorship on the set of Euphoria and so much more.
What sparked her passion
With such a strenuous schedule that consists of studying for classes at USC, running an independent multimedia production house, promoting her swimwear collection with PacSun and shooting upcoming projects—The Last Of Us and Searching 2—you would think Reid would not have the time, or concern, for taking on any more endeavors. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The star shared that although her list of projects and partnerships is lengthy, she’s very intentional about the brands, shows and movies she chooses to be a part of. And is always drawn to brands that she feels are authentic to her and “purposeful.”
“I’m just really honored and happy to be a part of Dark & Lovely – which is a brand that’s been in my life for a really long time – [and the initiative] to close the opportunity gap, specifically for young Black women and minority women,” she shared. “I just feel like it’s really important – people are always talking about equality, but you also need equity.”
“You need the same opportunity to be able to have equality. And if you don’t have the same opportunity given to you in the first place, then there’s really no way of having equality when it comes to being able to live out your dreams and succeed,” she continued. “So that’s what I’m really passionate about.”
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Although she admittedly hasn’t been faced with all of the same challenges as her peers, Reid is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Dark & Lovely and “help in any way” that she can.
Chasing her dreams and breaking into the industry
Reid dreamed of breaking into the acting world since the early age of 3-years-old. In an interview with Teen Vogue, she recalls approaching her mother and saying, “I want to be on TV and I want to be a superstar.”
Six years later, she and her mother would leave their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and relocate to Los Angeles, California, where Reid would land her first big role in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave.
When she reflects on her journey from then to now, Reid looks back with positivity and even shares words of encouragement for those currently working to receive their breakthrough moment.
“I think anything that we do that involves chasing our dreams or passions, is not ever going to be an easy journey,” she shared. “I did start at three, which is really young, and I do remember having to put in a lot of hard work. I stayed in acting classes. I stayed in training. And I was always going to casting director workshops to perfect my craft.”
“When you get to the auditions, there’s a lot of no’s and you hear a lot more no’s than yes’s, but when you do hear that “yes” it’s so sweet and exciting because you know that you’ve put in a lot of hard work,” she recalls.
The asset that’s been her biggest resource
Reid also takes time to acknowledge the selfless role that her mother, Robyn Simpson, has contributed to her present-day success.
“Thankfully, I had a mom who was not only a supportive mom, but a businesswoman, and she allowed me to pursue my acting dream,” she told BlavityU. “It’s morphed into something that we couldn’t have ever imagined, but I thank her all the time for allowing me to even be able to do what I do.”
Reid’s family has “aided” her through every facet of her life, from her career to personal life, to her transition as a new college student. She says her family is “always there” to “support” and encourage her.
Outside of her family is the “amazing troop of women and people” that she’s met throughout her industry. Reid shares that those connections have poured into her and ultimately assisted in getting the actress to the place she is today.
Her biggest mentor
When asked about finding mentorship on the set of HBO’s Euphoria, Reid shares that “everyone on the show is great,” but she believes that her biggest mentor is the series star, Zendaya, who she refers to as “Z.”
“I’ve looked up to her my entire life, she shared. “So to be able to have her as a bonus big sister, and her to give me advice, or just to be there for me, is awe-inspiring and really surreal every time I think about it.”
When asked if she could recall a lesson or piece of advice that Zendaya had shared with her, Reid instead recalls what she learned by observing the star. And that’s the importance of being your “best self” no matter what heights of success or fame you may reach.
“From observing her over the past couple of years really closely, I just realized that she’s the most selfless, gracious person,” she shared. “She really cares about acting, really cares about being creative, and she’s just so grounded and so normal that I am constantly reminded that no matter how much success you have and no matter how many people love you, it’s beneficial to still continue to be your best self and be a good human.”
To see that “up-close and personal” is something she believes is “really cool.”
A Black girl’s guide to mentorship
The 18-year-old USC freshman recently teamed up with Dark & Lovely as an ambassador for the brand’s first-ever Building Beautiful Futures Mentoring Masterclass: A Black Girl’s Guide To Mentorship, which will be hosted digitally on Monday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. EST. There Reid will “discuss the power of mentorship and offer key advice and takeaways for young Black women navigating their academic and career journeys.”
Reid shared that attendees can expect to “learn a lot” during the online mentorship class. Although it will touch on progressing through college and career endeavors, she says it will also segue into “just talking about life and life advice.”
The event will also address topics such as how to find a mentor, how to be a great mentee, time management, goal setting, intention setting, and so much more.
She acknowledges that at the youthful age of eighteen, she’s not yet qualified to speak on all aspects of life but believes that girls around her age will resonate with her words and be comforted by the fact that she believes “it’s OK to be a young person and not have it all figured out.”
Her goal in speaking at the masterclass is to create a safe space for conversation around “personal things that also matter.”
What she hopes to accomplish through her career and philanthropy work
As Reid pushes forward in her career, her future is undeniably bright. She hopes that she will be able to continue taking part in purposeful partnerships, working alongside dynamic brands that are pushing for change, and creating intentional content as an actress.
Through her production company, A Seed & Wings – created by herself, her mother and sister – she’s really excited to create content that is “multifaceted,” “represents the world as a whole,” and tells “real stories.”
And on both sides of her personal life and career, she hopes that she will continue learning and growing.
“I’m a new sophomore in college. So I’m juggling lots of things and wearing many hats,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun, and it can be stressful at times, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
Reid’s decision to stand as an ambassador for Dark & Lovely and Building Beautiful Futures comes at a time when there is a fifteen percent gap between the number of Black women receiving college degrees in comparison to white women, fifty percent of Black women are thinking of leaving their career fields in the next two years due lack of support and mentorship.
The unemployment rate of Black women remains the highest among both gender and race since pre-pandemic.
To register for the Building Beautiful Futures Masterclass: A Black Girl’s Guide To Mentorship, please visit https://hopin.com/events/buildingbeautifulfutures.