( ENSPIRE Feature ) A Profile on Atlanta Native Tyla Harris, as she Speaks on Her Experiences in the Entertainment Industry, ABC TV Series ‘For Life’, and Making a Difference in Today’s Society
ENSPIRE Contributor: Re’Dreyona Walker
Tyla Harris has achieved a great start in her career before the age of 19. Interested in acting since her childhood, she has trained in acting, improvisational comedy, ballet, and piano at a young age. As a child, she also performed in productions with The BlackTop Circus in Atlanta, Georgia. At only 15 years old, she landed her first gig under Alexander White Agency doing Coca-Cola print ads. She has also done commercials with Zaxby’s, Sprite, and FX’s comedy-drama television series Atlanta.
In 2017, she was invited to speak at the Savannah College of Arts & Design (SCAD) at a panel event with The Wrap. She spoke to undergraduates about following their passions in the film industry and answered their questions on how “make it” in the industry. She has also become a self-published author, as she tells ENSPIRE Magazine she released a self-published poetry book when she was 17 years old.
“I released a poetry book when I turned 17, containing most of my polished writings throughout the years before as a celebration of my last year before being an “adult,” she says. “Those who ordered gave me great reviews. It was a beautiful moment to finally share my writings with the world for the first time and encouraged me to continue writing (maybe even a future book).”
She has appeared in multiple television series and movies, as she has been a series regular as Ester in History Channel’s Mini-Series Six, as well as Jasmine Wallace in ABC’s tv series For Life, and has had roles in Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Tales, feature films Balkorea and Claws, and television movie Coins for Christmas.
ENSPIRE Magazine had the chance to get in touch with Tyla Harris to discuss her experiences in the entertainment industry, her passion for making a difference in today’s society as an activist and leader, and news about ABC series For Life being picked up for season 2.
Tell us about yourself.
“My name is Tyla Harris. I’m a 19-year-old multi-hyphenate who’s currently attending university with law school in mind. And I’m currently on a journey to developing my passions in life (and finding the best French toast).”
How did you discover your passion for acting?
“I’ve always grown up side-by-side with my mother, and her passion has always been entertainment with acting and improv. Attending the plays she would and watching SNL weekly as family bonding developed my yearning for the arts and the wanting to express myself in that manner. The older I got, the more I learned, and the more I wanted to do.”
How have your experiences been in the industry not only as a young actress but as a young black woman?
“Growing up in this industry has been fun, and it’s taught me so much about respecting yourself as an artist. Being a black young woman in this industry is a blessing, not only by looking at the black pioneers of entertainment before me but by being able to be a representation of different groups of people who rarely get to see themselves reflected on screen. I’ve had the blessing of having amazing cast members and supportive crew members on my projects throughout my career, and people who are willing to pass on wisdom to me for my success. Any barriers have been helped with support and education.”
What do you want your impact to be as an actress in the entertainment industry?
‘I want to become a trusted reflection and representation for those who feel underrepresented in my community. The beauty of acting is the suspense of disbelief and immersion into characters. I would love to be trusted by audiences to correctly and eloquently carry out experiences they can relate to. And, hopefully, this helps to propel my future philanthropy.”
What can we expect for Season 2 of ABC’s For Life?
“I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there’s an even deeper dive into the Wallace family (and a baby!) and how Aaron will fight for his freedom.”
What are some of your views on today’s societal issues and movements, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, and how do you think our community can progress towards social justice?
“I’ve discussed some of these issues on my pages, but I believe everyone is equal and as citizens of society progressing towards equity and equality, we must hold ourselves accountable to speak on issues where others feel they need support,” she says. ” I support raising our voices together to stand up for the change that is past due. Regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, we should all support the equity in making an equal and just society. Until then, we have moral obligations to fulfill our lanes in the movement, whether that be as artists, peaceful protesters, sign-makers, lawyers, or supporters.”