Anastasia Washington Breaks Barriers for BIPOC in the Entertainment Industry

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( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Creative Anastasia Washington Pushes The Envelope Of The Entertainment Industry

ENSPIRE Contributor: Halima McDoom

Anastasia Washington is a multi-dimensional creative – actress, model, singer, podcaster, writer, director, Comic-Con panelist, and Dancehall Queen. Her lived experience as a bi-racial woman in the entertainment industry has been nothing short of a challenging yet enlightening journey. Despite the industry’s push to conventionalize and box her in, Anastasia uses her own voice, passion, and talents to shape the trajectory of her career. Treading her own path, Washington is currently creating content that speaks to her experiences being a bi-racial woman, as well as Black Lives Matter, colorism, anxiety, and so much more. 

ENSPIRE spoke with Anastasia about her various projects and passions.

You’ve had a lot of success in the acting industry – tell me more about how this journey has been for you as a BIPOC woman, and what projects are you currently working on?

It’s been an amazing ride. I think I have been blessed with so many unique experiences because I’m open to saying yes and adapting to what’s new in the industry–picking up new skills and ways to be creative along the way. Being Biracial, I didn’t always fit into an easy casting box, but I learned that being the wild card isn’t so bad and that if you don’t see a spot for yourself, create a spot for yourself. Content creation and filmmaking is the ultimate creative impact you can make. Being the actual change, you wish to see. 

Anastasia Washington, Photo Credit: Ben Cope

BIPOC women often have to navigate multiple discriminations–colorism, texturism, featurism, etc. Can you describe your encounters with these, as well as what you’ve witnessed other’s experience in the industry?

I definitely have had experiences with discrimination. Being light-skinned, I have to acknowledge my advantages and disadvantages. I walk into a room in life, and people try to put me in a category; just in life, they don’t know where to put me. It’s the same thing in this industry, and it’s up to me to say, “Look, boxes are silly. This is me.” My parents fought all kinds of ignorance to have this beautiful biracial family, and I walk with pride knowing that I have such a powerful love that breathed me into existence. It makes me un-boxable, sure, but also the ones that last don’t always fit perfectly into boxes – and I ain’t going nowhere! 

You are truly multi-faceted–comedy, acting, singing, modeling, advocate, and a soon-to-be author. I love this, especially because it’s a reminder that BIPOC women are layered and beyond talented. How have you sustained such a career, and how do you take care of yourself while busy?

Self-care is something I’m still learning. I have to be honest; I have trouble relaxing and not working. I’m a work in progress, and I’m working on it. With mental health, all is possible. And I do put my time into that. I love therapy, and I love hypnotherapy, which I know scares so many, but it’s not what you think, and it’s pretty awesome. As for sustaining my career, I think it’s adaptability. I’m never afraid to change with the industry, try something new, or learn a new skill. IT CHANGED EVERYTHING when I realized not to sit by the phone waiting for others to make moves in my career. I realized I wanted to create and get myself out there, and if I didn’t know how to do it, I would learn.

Anastasia Washington, Photo Credit: Ben Cope

What social and cultural issues have you touched on in your current and past work? 

Well, I feel like, especially with comedy, it’s essential to have hard conversations with humor and empathy. I talk a lot about being Biracial, BLM, Colorism, Anxiety, Disordered Eating, and body issues in my work. I feel like so many of us suffer alone and are afraid to talk about these things. When I make a joke about it, I’m permitting you to discuss it with me through the exploration of film and content. And hopefully, that continues those conversations in your life. 

What changes do you hope to see in the industries you work in regarding discrimination and equity? 

I hope that we have empathy for each other instead of defensiveness. There are a lot of changes that need to be made, and I think if we are ready to admit it, or deflect, or not take responsibility for our parts in things, we never grow. These changes are more than a hashtag; they are people, we are people, and the more we see that about each other and walk with empathy and are unafraid to have done wrong and grow, the more changes we will see.

Anastasia Washington, Photo Credit: Ben Cope

To learn more about Anastasia and her current projects, you can visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, her upcoming shows can be found here.

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