Ernestine Johnson, BBN Spotlight

Content provided by Gabby BBN Staff

“I want to be remembered as a powerful FORCE that always showed and told the truth” -Ernestine Johnson

What did you want to be when you were a little kid? I can remember at 10 years old after watching a Cicely Tyson film, I told my mom I wanted to act. I always saw myself as an actress and some sort of public speaker.


What was your first job?  My very first job was a hostess position at ESPN Zone! It was perfect because I was always really into sports.

What was the worst job you’ve ever had? Honestly I’ve never had a bad job! I loved every job I’ve had until I knew I was ready to walk into entrepreneurship! Now that I will never walk away from
When did you decide to pursue your current career path as an Actress & Poet? 
I always knew this is what I wanted so I’ve always kept myself in the atmosphere. I was in the theater program in high school and college. I was setting myself up, honing the craft and equipping myself. In 2011 I packed my bags, moved to Atlanta and decided to go full throttle with my career. In 2013 I took a leap of faith, quit my job and started acting full time.
What do you love most about your job? Great question. I love the hustle. I love the fact that I am in control. I have the freedom to create anything out of thin air. I believe in “create don’t wait.” So while some actors and artist may be merely waiting for opportunities I create them! I’m able to do what I’ve always wanted to do since a little girl AND get paid for it?! That’s living!

Do you have a mentor? Yes Who is it? Terri J Vaughn 

How did you meet her?  In Terri’s acting class she teaches. 

How have they impacted your career?  She’s such an amazing person. She’s not only helped in furthering my training and readings, she’s put me in projects and we have created together.

When it comes to your different hairstyles, where do you get your hair influence your creativity? Haa! My hair is ever changing! Really the last 15 years my hair styles have all depended on how heavily I was working out! Until I said, “chop it all off!” I’ve rocked a natural fro for the past year and it was completely liberating! I play with braids every now and then when I’m in the mood for length.

 Has rejection ever affected your creative process?

When I tell you I am RESILIENT!! I get told no DAILY. The entertainment industry is fleeting and scary at times. Projects are never promised. That’s why I stress creating your own. I do however believe in the possibility of possibility! That’s what keeps me going. I know that in a sea full of no’s, God has that one yes out there with my name on it!

Name 3 lessons you’ve learned from building your career :
Stay true to who you are. Don’t let anyone else steer your ship.

Never allow where you dictate where you’ll be!

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue the same career as you? I would first pose the question, “Do you want to act or do you want to be famous?” There are plenty of easy ways to get “famous.” Acting however takes WORK! If it is acting you are interested in I would say be ready to work, train, study, read, blood, sweat and tears! Start with getting into an acting class. 

What has been the pit and peak of your week so far? (a low and a high moment) I joined a demonstration this weekend against police brutality. They asked me to perform a poem. It was already hard enough to see the mothers of victims of police brutality out there but it was really hard to perform and speak Mike Browns name in front of his father Mike Brown Senior. That was very heavy. I would say that was the pit of my week. 

The peak of my week was my movie #DigitalLivesMatter airing on BET. This was my first lead role in a film so it was a very exciting moment!
Top resources for creatives and why you chose them  I’m a big YouTube researcher! I can be on YouTube for hours just searching through different poems, lectures and motivational speeches.

I want people to remember me as: a powerful FORCE that always showed and told the truth.  

For more on Ernestine Johnson

IG: @Ernestine.Johnson
FB: Ernestine Yvette Johnson
Twitter: E_OnTheScene


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