She's Black Girl Fly: Andrea Lewis
Andrea Lewis is among the visionaries of the digital age that are producing and distributing original content that authentically represents the experience of communities often ignored in Hollywood. She is the co-founder of of Jungle Wild Productions, a model entertainment company dedicated to uplifting the voices of women, people of color, and the LGBT community. She is a personal inspiration to the BGF Mag team. Her hard work and creativity exemplifies what can be done when we take our stories into our own hands. We are excited to share her story where we learn of her inspirations and tricks of the trade.
Black Girl Fly Mag: Andrea, tell our readers who you are, where you're from and what you do.
Andrea Lewis: My name is Andrea Lewis, I’m from Toronto, Canada and I’m an actress, singer & writer.
BGFM: What does it take to create and produce a successful webseries like Black Actress?
AL: It takes a lot of work, patience and a good team of people to help make your vision a reality. I had the idea for Black Actress for about 5 years before I attempted to put it together. When I met my producing partner Brian Walker I finally pitched him the idea and then we started to set the wheels into motion, in 2012. And by the end of 2013/2014 the first season was out and now we’re on the 2nd season. Even though Black Actress is on the web I’ve always treated it like a television series because that is the world I am most familiar with and so I approached every step from the scripts to the the casting and locations the way I was taught and I truly think it’s having that level of standard and professionalism for the show that has made it a success.
BGFM:What has it been like collaborating with Issa Rae and others on Black Actress?
AL: Working with Issa Rae, Tatyana Ali and Essence Atkins on the show has been great! All of them are very supportive of my vision and have been a big help with letting people know about the importance of a show like “Black Actress”
BGFM: How important has it been to collaborate with other Black actresses/creatives both in and outside of the web series?
A: It’s been very important to collaborate with other amazing Black Actresses and content creators. First, because I am a fan of all of these women so having their support means the world to me and second, because I am not only telling my own story but I’m telling the story of all women of color in the entertainment industry so it has been very important to me to connect with them on both a professional and personal level.
BGFM: You've worked alongside some heavyweight Black actresses such as Diahann Carol and the late Maya Angelou. What has been your most memorable lesson working with such greats?
AL: Well I a hope to be as fabulous as Diahann Carroll when I am her age because she looks amazing! And Ms. Angelou told me that “everything happens in it’s time” and at the time when she told me I didn’t quite understand what she meant. But now that I’ve been on this journey for as long as I have I understand and appreciate that lesson because you can’t rush the process of growth, it just happens in it’s time.
BGFM: You've been acting for a long time, what keeps you motivated?
AL: My dreams keep me motivated. I have too many goals to stop doing what I am doing.
AL: Jungle Wild is my production company, and Black Actress is the first project I did with Jungle Wild. We’re currently raising funds through kickstarter for some of the other projects that will be released this year. My mission with every series and film I create is to show diversity and an honest representation of women of color.
BGFM: What would you say is key for Black women building a brand in the 21st century?
AL: I think for anyone building a brand, you have to be authentic to who you truly are and you have to be consistent. Social media is your business so be aware of that, with what you choose to put out to the world.
BGFM: What advice do you have for young content creators like yourself?
AL: Just do it. I often meet aspiring content creators who have an idea or a script etc but they are too afraid or concerned with being popular right away and it stops them from just doing it. They should just be focused on getting their work out for everyone to see and let the chips fall where they will. The hardest but most important step is putting your work out, you can’t move forward if no one knows what you can do.
BGFM: Other than Black Actress, you also vlog. Can you tell us a little about #SelfLoveSaturdays?
AL: SelfLoveSaturday is a video series I started last year after over hearing too many conversations from people who suffered from the same insecurities that I used to. I used to be in a depression and very hard on myself, until one day I got sick of feeling that way. So I worked very hard on having a positive mind set, a new mentality and love for myself. I’ve learnt a lot along the way and I’m still growing but I felt compelled to talk about it because I believe in the saying “each one, teach one.” I’ve learnt a lot on my journey in self love and it would be selfish of me to not spread a message of positivity. I feel very fortunate that so many people have enjoyed the lessons that I’ve learnt and responded so well to the videos.
AL: Omg! There is too many reasons to list them all lol. I’ve always loved being a Black Girl because I think there is a natural sense of strength and pride that lives in all of us regardless of where we come from. One of my favorite things to see is a group of confident black women, there’s nothing else like it! We are diverse, beautiful and strong and more powerful than we realize.
BGFM: What's up next for you, Andrea?
AL: This is the year for Jungle Wild! As I mentioned before I have a bunch of new content coming out this year through my production company and I’m excited for all of it, subscribe to my youtube channel for updates https://www.youtube.com/user/andrealewischannel
Wee look forward to what Andrea and Jungle Wild has in store for us. Be sure to support her Kickstarter campaign. They've set a goal of 30K in order to create and distribute three more webseries. Check out the campaign video and learn more about the Jungle Wild Productions and the upcoming series they have planned.
Nickecia “Dr. Nick” Alder is creator and editor-in-chief of Black Girl Fly Mag. Hailing from Queens, New York, this "around the way girl" is a therapist, scholar and researcher by day and by night, a digital alchemist, engineering online communities that explore and exalt the beautiful complexities of Black women. Her affinity for learning and creating influenced her to marry her passion and profession; thus the Black Girl Fly Brand! She is a media psychologist in training, working to shift the portrayal of Black women and girls. She stands fiercely at the forefront of a digital revolution, encouraging black women everywhere to love, appreciate, and celebrate one another. Nickecia is #BlackGirlFly! Find Her: @Word2Nick