‘Hurricane Summer’ Author, Asha Bromfield’s

– I used to spend my summers in Jamaica growing up. Every summer my dad and my mom would send my sister and I down to the island and we would spend two months just running around the countryside. And it was always, like, a magical, jungly wonderland. It was quite literally like being transported to a different world. I definitely developed the story over time. I think, in a lot of ways, the story revealed itself to me. I started off being like, “I wanna expand the way “that we tell stories about young girls of color.” I wanted to see more nuanced stories, and stories that expanded beyond just what we look like, so that was my starting point. My creativity is fueled because I’m a Scorpio. [Laughs] I like to think I feel very deeply and very intensely ever since I was a kid. And I remember wanting so badly to make sense of my emotions and constantly feeling like it wasn’t safe to do so because the narrative growing up was that, “You’re too sensitive, undefined you know? And I used that. I used that fuel and I allowed it to empower me. And when I realized that my sensitivity was actually a strength, it was actually emotional intelligence, and, you know, I had the ability to feel my emotions, I realized what a gift that was because so many people don’t get that.

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And then, from there, I realized that I now had a duty to let other young girls, who feel in the same way that I do, that they’re not alone and that it’s OK to feel deeply. And that, actually, when we honor those dark parts of ourselves, that’s when we become alchemists and we can transmute it into something powerful. Hey, MTV News! This is Asha Bromfield and these are my top five life-changing moments. In my own words, a life-changing moment is anything that shifts your perception of awareness, anything that allows you to expand. And I think that there’s kind of a misconception that life-changing moments have to be positive and that’s not always the case. I actually find that most of my life-changing moments have been, you know, the dark things that propel me into my purpose. My first life-changing moment happened for me in high school. High school for me was awful in all the ways you can imagine. I didn’t fit in at all and I had big dreams, and I think I really had an understanding of who I was, but at the time I didn’t know that that’s what I had. I just knew that I had this calling to do something, something of purpose, and it wasn’t met with love, to say the least, from peers and especially teachers growing up. I was really bullied by friends and teachers in high school, and I always felt like I didn’t belong. And I remember going through high school and coming home everyday and crying or, like, eating lunch in the library and being like, “God, why don’t I fit in? undefined Like, I just couldn’t understand why, you know, there was such a rejection of me wanting to, like, be a light for people. Looking back, I realized that that was a huge life-changing moment for me because I used all of that, again, as fuel to empower me and it became a part of my purpose. I realized that I wanted to be that light for other girls who didn’t fit in, for other girls who felt intensely, for other girls who believed in the calling over their own spirit. I wanted to show them that it’s possible. And so, I look back on that and I thank my mean high school teachers and the peers I went to school with because it really forged me into the woman I am today. My next life-changing moment is when I took a leap of faith, quit my job, and hopped on a plane to Vancouver for pilot season. So, it all started, you know, I was working at a restaurant. I was at this point in my career where I felt so stagnant and just sad. And I knew, like, I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to be a performer, but it wasn’t working. There was a moment that of realization that I had where I was just like, “You know what, “I’m gonna take my tips, I’m gonna quit my job, undefined And I ended up taking the money that I had from tips that day, or that week, I booked a flight to Vancouver for pilot season, and I literally, like, went there on a leap of faith. You know, I was auditioning for about a month or two and I remember it was time to go home, and I was like, “You know what, it’s fine. “I didn’t book anything. undefined And I had my flight maybe, like, the next day, and right before I left, I found out that I booked ‘Riverdale.’ So, that was pretty insane. The day that I booked ‘Riverdale,’ I was the most anxious mess because the audition process was strenuous. Like, I had gone in so many times, it was, like, callback after callback. And I remember saying to my agent, “They clearly don’t want me. “Like, I don’t know why they keep calling me back in.” And I was just so afraid. I remember sitting on the couch, I was, like, staying with a friend, and I was sitting on the couch and I was just, like, a nervous wreck. I couldn’t eat. And I was just like, “When is this call coming in?” It was, like, literally being on pins and needles just waiting to hear back. And I remember the moment I got the call, it was insane. I just felt a shift happen and it was just like, I was overcome with emotion because I was like, “Oh my god, it was all worth it.” My third life-changing moment was putting out my book, ‘Hurricane Summer.’ I am so excited about this book, this my debut novel, for those who don’t know, and it changed my life because it really, again, helped me gain such deep autonomy over myself and my voice. I think, oftentimes, as actors and creators, it can be disempowering because we’re constantly waiting on someone to tell us yes. We’re always waiting on a gatekeeper or to be told that we’re good enough for this or for that And it can be devastating, you know, when you’re going out for auditions multiple times a week. I’ve been in this business for 12 years and I just felt this deep thought of like, “I don’t connect to the roles that I’m auditioning for.” I’m not even interested in playing a lot of these characters because I wanted to see more richness, more emotion, for girls of color. And so, this book changed my life because it really gave me my power back. It showed me that my power is not outside of me, it’s inside of me, and that my voice is important. And, in so many ways, I think it just freed me as a creative and just really showed me that there’s nothing that I can’t do or nothing that, you know, if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. And we’re all worthy of any dream that we have inside of us. My next life-changing moment was a bit more of an internal thing that I went through, where I realized that there was a big part of me that was seeking external validation. I don’t think I was someone who would say that or feel that way about myself, but especially when it comes to putting my book out, you know, it’s such a vulnerable process and you’re subjected to all different kinds of opinions. Some people love it and some people might not. And within that, it really took me doing some deep self-reflection within myself to realize, “OK, why am I upset? undefined And my thought process – I remember one day laying on my bed and I was just kind of sulking, like wondering how things were gonna with my book. And I was on my bed and I literally had the thought, “Who am I waiting on to accept me? undefined And I couldn’t answer the question. I couldn’t think of a name of someone who I was waiting to accept me. I couldn’t think of anything sad in my life. I was like, “I’m alive, healthy.” “The people I love love me back.” You know, I just couldn’t think of a reason. And then, I realized that this idea of wanting to do well and wanting other people to like what I put out into the world was such a reflection of caring what other people think. And, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out who these other people were. I was like, I couldn’t even put a name to someone that I was waiting on their approval, and it dawned on me that I was waiting on my own. And that shift for me was huge, realizing that self-love and self-acceptance, you know, when we accept ourselves, when we love ourselves – You know, I love my book. I think it’s amazing, you know, and that’s all the validation that I need. Everything else is just, like, the sprinkles on top of the cake, but realizing that we are the cake and it’s our own love and self-acceptance that we’re really waiting on. My last life-changing moment is when my dog, Kyra, passed away. She passed away on February 12th and she was such an angel in my life. And I feel like it was the first real, deep sense of loss. And I’ve lost, you know, people in my life before, but there’s something about an animal who’s with you through everything and loves you unconditionally. You know, she had been in my life for for nine years and she passed suddenly. And I remember when she passed, just not knowing what to do with myself. I was devastated because, for me, she represented such a sense of home. But I quickly began to learn, you know, I would have to take my other dog out for a walk every day and we would go into nature and I had this profound, you know, download where I just felt like “No, like, she went back to all of it. “She’s here with me now, she’s in everything, “you know, the air that I’m breathing. “She literally went back to the all, to source.” And that I could actually tap into that energy whenever I needed to. That God was available, life was available to me all of the time. And that’s when I realized that life is responsive and it is always speaking to us. And I know people say that and it’s kind of cliche, but it’s really true. And so, Kyra’s passing really taught me that grief is actually the beginning of love because that’s when our love begins to expand, and we realize that it goes beyond physical form. I think I’m called to tell stories that are a bit more intense because of my intensity. You know, I really appreciate the idea of just, like, honoring that it’s OK to feel things. And so, even in my career, I’ve always been drawn to roles or scripts that are just, like, meaty and show the humanity of young women. I think that that’s something that we lose a lot when we talk about young women of color. We look at white actresses and they have, you know, every type of coming-of-age story you can think of. But when it comes to women of color, oftentimes our stories, the stories that were being, you know, told or the stories that we’re seeing don’t expand beyond our race or beyond what we look like. And for me, my Blackness isn’t a burden. I quite love being Black, I love being Caribbean, but it’s also not a sole focus. I don’t wake up everyday being like, undefined It’s a part of me and it’s a part that I celebrate, but I’m also a sister, I’m a daughter, you know, I’m a cousin, I’m a friend. I feel joy, I feel devastation. And I think that nuance of emotion is what is missing from the way that we tell stories about young Black girls, young Brown girls. You know, we deserve to see ourselves represented in a three-dimensional, human way for no other reason than because we are. We are human.

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