Celebrate Juneteenth, Celebrate Your Artistic Freedom with Salisha Thomas
This month BOLD is featuring 5 Black Women Who Are Using Their Artistry for Freedom.
We talked to Salisha Thomas, Broadway performer (Once Upon a One More Time, Beautiful), Former Miss California and hilarious blogger! Check out her candid post on "Being Black On the Great White Way" and follow this BOLD Woman @salishathomas!
Q: What are some ways you have you been reclaiming your creative voice during this
time of both the Pandemic, and over the past few weeks, watching the Uprising of
Black People across the country?
Some of the ways that I’ve been reclaiming my creative voice during the last few months and weeks during quarantine as well as the BLM movement is writing out my thoughts and feelings and sharing those thoughts and feelings. Really, anything on my blog is an organized diary entry written for me that I thought maybe others could benefit from. But the amount of things I’ve been writing that I don’t end up posting are endless. I’ve also had a lot of out of the box IDEAS that I’m surprised about. It’s like, Broadway just shut down for who knows how long, and all of a sudden it’s like my brain kicked into overdrive reminding me of other things that I love doing, that maybe if I put enough energy into it could one day be monetized.
Q: What are you reading, watching, listening to that has contributed to your creative freedom?
I’ve been reading all of the Think and Grow Rich versions which after reading the original by Napoleon Hill, was the biggest game changer in my life. Watching Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Netflix, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s RBG as well as Toni Morrison’s and Hillary Clinton’s documentary on Hulu, have been nothing short of INSPIRING. And when I’m bored, I will have Oprah on Youtube playing in the background. Also reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed as well as Evy Pompouras’ Becoming Bulletproof has also been influential for me during this quarantine.
Q: Has there ever been a moment in your life where you felt as if you were breaking free from something?
The day I decided to listen to my gut, pack my bags, sell all my things, dump my car, my boyfriend, and my apartment and move clear across the country from my safe, nice, boring life in California to New York City was a time when I felt I had broken free. God’s nudging couldn’t have been more right because the next week I had heard of and was cast in my first National Tour. I had decided to move because a homeless man told me to move, and I’d gotten goosebumps when he was looking in my eyes. I’m so glad I listened.
Q: If you had a gigantic, lit up billboard in Times Square- an avenue to get a message to millions of people- what would it say? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (It can also be someone else’s quote, something you live by.)
God: Do you believe you can be healed?
Random Guy: Yeah.
God: Great. Because of your faith, let it be so. (Matthew 9:28-30)
And then the random guy was HEALED. It’s all about having an unshakeable faith. We can move mountains if we BELIEVE!
Q: What advice would you give to a young, driven student graduating today about the industry? What advice should they ignore?
I recently heard something that I’ve learned to be true that I wish I knew a long time ago, and that is that if you believe something about yourself, the world will agree. Advice I would say to ignore is that it’s not important if people don’t like you. Although I can argue for that to be absolutely true, I would like to remind you of the days when everyone used to watch American Idol. You didn’t always vote for the BEST singer. You voted for the performer that you LIKED. Being liked in this business and having a good reputation pays dividends.
Q: What have you become better at saying no to? What are some boundaries that have helped you feel free?
One of the sayings that I live by is that if I can take it or leave it, I leave it. I get excited about a LOT of things, so if it’s not that great, I can probably do without it. That goes for birthday cake with filling that’s not really my jam, Starbucks between shows because I’m bored, spending time with people who maybe aren’t my friends, spending money on clothes that KIND OF fit. GIRL, BYE. Save the money. Save the calories. Repurpose the time saved for something that you LOVE. Saying no to things in the moment that are meh feel darn good almost instantly.
Q: When you feel overwhelmed, unfocused, or even in despair, what do you do?
When I feel overwhelmed, unfocused, or even in despair, the first thing I do is lean into it and feel it fully. Then after allowing myself to guiltlessly be a MESS, I say, ‘Salish, baby. Time to get up.’ I take a shower, get dressed, go for a walk, say a prayer, turn my phone on do not disturb, treat myself to something—anything! And then I get something done. It can be something big or small. The feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s a small victory gets me back to feeling like myself.