Friday Girl celebrates Women’s History Month by catching up this week with multimedia personality, Rashan Ali, as she talks about following her dreams, finding love and why Sporty Girls make the world go round….
FG: You got your start by winning a contest to be an on-air personality as part of the Ryan Cameron Morning Show. How do you feel entertainment and talent contests like this have changed the entertainment industry?
Rashan: I won a contest to be on The Ryan Cameron Morning Show back in 2002. I am all for contests that promote real talent and I think HOT 107.9’s contest definitely did that for me. I didn’t just show up at the ‘cattle call.’ I felt like my Broadcast Journalism degree from Florida A&M University where I had my own radio show for three years held some real weight. Mix that with God’s blessing and a new career was born!
FG: Had you already had previous experience as a media personality? What were you doing professionally before you won the contest and how did you know you were prepared to make such a big leap into the entertainment?
Rashan: I did everything before my ‘big break!!’ When the contest took place, I was working at the Atlanta Board of Education in the Accounts Payable Department. Whenever I speak at a school or wherever I share my story, I tell everyone that HOT 107.9 was my 8thjob out of college! I worked at FOX Sports South as a production assistant. I was Left Eye’s personal assistant. I worked in the Music Video Department at LaFace Records. Peppermint Music at Greenbriar Mall…wanted to be a rapper, back-up dancer and singer. I have to say there’s nothing I didn’t at least try! I think a lot of creative people can attest to this! I know I was extremely prepared because I had been through so much trying to “find my niche.”
FG: Once people recognized you as a great radio personality, how did you prepare to transition into television and film?
Rashan: The funny thing about it was I was already acting before radio. When I won the contest in February 2002, I was set to shoot a short film in March. We shot for a few months and the movie debuted at Phipps Plaza to a really great turn-out! Television has been a natural progression. I hosted two television shows in college so it’s always been something I wanted to do and I always envisioned taking it to a higher level.
FG: What were the initial steps you took in order to build the Rashan Ali brand?
Rashan: If you know who you are and what you stand for, the brand will build itself. Incredible people like Sheri Riley of Glue Inc. and Monica Coleman of M320 Consulting, among many more, have guided me. Ultimately it comes down to living and being what you want to be perceived as and I think I’m a good example of that.
FG: In addition to all you do, you also work with the Atlanta Hawks. How did you begin working with them?
Rashan: I worked with the Hawks for five seasons! What a wonderful experience! I worked with some amazing people. People who believed in me as a true talent and believed in elevating me. That is always a great feeling. At the time, Ryan Cameron was the in-game host before his transition to PA Announcer. The Hawks were looking to fill a sideline reporter position and he suggested to Hawks personnel that I may be a good fit. The rest is history!
FG: You recently started a non-profit organization called Sporty Girls, dedicated to providing sports activities and programs to young girls who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Why was starting this organization so important to you?
Rashan: Sporty Girls, Inc. is very important to me because I am truly a “Sporty Girl!” I went to college on a swimming scholarship, which is relatively unheard of in our community. I began swimming competitively at the age of five. Not only is swimming good for you physically, but it helped me to cultivate friendships that I still have today. I want African-American girls to participate in swimming, golf, soccer and tennis so that they can receive collegiate scholarships as well. Many times scholarships are awarded to other minorities and even majorities because we typically “don’t do” these sports. I feel like I have a responsibility to girls from all walks of life to at least show them that there are other sports out there besides basketball and track that will allow you to get a free education. We foster lifestyle skills with our girls as well. We believe in having a beautiful balance as a student-athlete.
FG: What are some tips you can give readers that are looking to make a career change?
Rashan: Get direction from God. If you are in alignment with Him, all things will fall according to His will.
FG: When you first begin your career you were single, now you are happily married with children. Can you give advice to some of our single readers on how to accomplish your goals and still find time to date?
Rashan: I was engaged when I started in radio. I was planning a wedding, shooting a movie and enjoying being a part of Ryan’s show. The year 2002 was certainly a transition year for me. I do believe though that women should make sure they make time to pamper themselves with dating. We become so wrapped up in being the best as a professional that we become the worst in our personal lives. There has to be a balance, if not one will eventually outweigh the other leaving you lifted in one and walking in the valley in the other.
FG: Now that you are married, how do you balance running your business and family?
Rashan: I just learned about real balance after the birth of our second daughter. It’s something working-women have to constantly work at. I do know that nothing is more important than God and family and at times we have to remind ourselves of that.
FG: What is a spiritual mantra or philosophy that you live by?
Rashan: I don’t necessarily live by one thing. I seek God in every aspect of my life so that I know my will is completely out the door. I’ve submitted myself to His good and perfect will for me. If anything it would be this: “Lord, if you have found favor in me, show me Your way.”
FG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Rashan: “Rashan, whatever you do in this business, don’t get lost.”-Wayne K. Brown (former GM of Radio One)
FG: What would you tell your younger-self if you knew then what you know now?
Rashan: I would have worked on believing in myself sooner.
FG: Finish this sentence….
Women should stop complaining about______ and start doing _____________
Rashan: Women should stop complaining about not being where we want to be and start doing everything possible to make our dream a reality.
www.rashanali.net/www.sportygirlsinc.org or Monica Coleman of M320 Consulting