Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
I remember when I watched the television series Fame starring Debbie Allen and she would say, “Many of us have dreams but dreams cost.” Yes. They do. And that cost is not only financial.
Think about this: How much money would you spend to prep your child for an opportunity – acting, singing, dancing and modeling? Are you willing to have your child forgo a childhood? Would you uproot the family to pursue the dream? Most importantly would you quit your job to monitor all the shenanigans that can possibly happen?
Those are the questions Shontell and Michael McClain had to answer when they decided to support their daughter, China Ann McClain.
She started acting at the age of 7 and is best known for her roles on Disney’s A.N.T. Farm and How to Build a Better Boy and Tyler Perry’s program House of Payne and his film Daddy’s Little Girls. Today, at the age of 15, she is a busy working actress, recording artist and model.
“I know people don’t think about the challenges of pursuing an acting career but it takes hard work, money, trust, prayers and talent. Now add working in Hollywood and you’ll understand why I’ve had to press reset just to enjoy my childhood and stay above the craziness. Many of my peers in the business are growing up super fast and are one second from being a news headline. I don’t want that to be my story,” says China.
Recently, China was selected as the new face of NFL tween/junior apparel line along with singer Jordin Sparks and actress Miranda Cosgrove. China understands the sacrifices her parents have made and wants to be selective in forging strategic partnerships to ensure long-term success. “I want to be smart and endorse products that are authentic, fun, and empowering,” proudly says China.
I recently sat down with China to discuss the pressures of Hollywood, and the importance of pressing RESET at any age.
MadameNoire: How do you stay free from the pressures of Hollywood?
China Ann McClain: By having good fun and living my passion. Also my parents are always with me to guide and keep me grounded. You would be surprised how many folks are running around without a chaperone in the business.
MN: What has been your biggest lesson to date?
CAMC: I can’t control the negativity that comes with the business. Even though I am young, there are so many people who smile in your face and simply want you to fail.
MN: How did you press RESET?
CAMC: My parents and family has sacrificed for me to live my dream. I had to learn quickly that not everyone deserves to be in my inner circle. My life is blessed – my parents, siblings and friends are my cheerleaders and that’s all I need for now.
MN: Best advice you received to stay grounded?
CAMC: Brandy Norwood, singer and actress, is my mentor and she said don’t ever let the industry and what people say about you get inside your head. Negativity from others can’t destroy you unless you let it.
MN: What advice would you offer someone going through a challenge?
CAMC: My mom told me when I decided to go into acting, at the age of 7 that an acting career could be challenging. She said that if I put my mind to it, then I should do it big or not at all. My advice is not to think about the challenges but to put all your energy into the outcome and reward.
China Ann McClain’s RESET: We are here to empower one another. At 15, I aspire to showcase self-love and what it means to feel happy about you.