“I was lucky enough to find my purpose at a young age, and I feel like when you live and walk your purpose, the ups and downs, the triumphs and failures, are not as trying.”
When Niketa got hold of a microphone at a young age of 5, it was the moment where she immediately felt alive. From tap dance, ballet, hip hop to jazz – Niketa started dancing at Regina’s School of Performing Arts a year later. This was also where she started with acting and voice, and jump-started her acting career. In today’s Host Spotlight, meet Actress and Career Coach, Niketa Calame! With a rich experience in the entertainment industry, Niketa continues to share her expertise through her classes for aspiring artists-to-be. Keep reading to learn more about her story and how she is inspiring individuals today!
Hi Niketa, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?
Hello my name is Niketa Calame! I am a 2nd generation Los Angeles, California Native. Career wise I am most noted as the voice of Young Nala in Disney’s 32nd Animated Film The Lion King. I received my Masters of Fine Arts from The Actors Studio Drama School @ New School University (from Inside The Actors Studio with James Lipton) and my BA in Theater from University of California, Santa Cruz. Currently, I am a working actor and career coach http://inmotion2017.wordpress.com. My charity work is as a project ambassador for the American Diabetes Association and I have been accepted into the Call to Congress in Washington DC lobbying on capitol hill for prevention and management health funding and initiatives.
Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?
When I was about 5, my mother tells the story of setting up a photoshoot for me. When the cameramen came, I was not having it. I was sitting in a corner waiting for them to leave. She got this idea based on my normal play around the house to put a mic in my hand. As soon as she did that I came to life and from that moment on it was a no brainer of what I wanted to do in life.
Coming to life during that photo session all those years ago, opened the eyes for my mother to put me in dance class. I started with ballet and tap and that started my performing career in kindergarten. My first acting class was with the legend Juanita Moore from Imitation of life and Lynn Hamilton form numerous of tv and film shows. My godfather was Lester in 227 and the cop in Sanford and Sun so growing up around the stars of those times kept me in the spirit of the biz. In elementary school, I became apart of Regina’s School Of Performing Arts where I took art classes all day on Saturdays. Ballet, Tap, Voice, Acting, African, Hip Hop and became apart of the company.
What does your passion mean to you?
To be able to say I have been pursuing my purpose in life since the age of 5,6 means the world to me. I have been able to pursue my passion with a supportive loving family helping me along the way.
“An actor takes on the characteristics of a person place time thing in order to reveal the story through drama or comedy and begin the conversation with the audience to make them think, feel, empathize, love hate or move to action on themes being presented.”
What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
There has always been a spirit of giving back as well since a young age. When Lion King first came out I would be brought in by elementary schools to do career talks at the tender age of 12. Fast forward into adulthood that has grown into conducting workshops at Universities and private coaching for young artist as well as the adult artist.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
I have been focusing on the business of acting which is a gap I feel is very present in arts education as well as in the community. As an artist, you are the CEO of you.com and an agent only gets 10% so you can’t expect them to carry or make your career for you. So in addition to coaching for auditions or actor training, in general, I coach my clients with the business side of things. Parents with young actors especially, I have insight into them having been a child actor.
How long have you been living in LA? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I was born and raised in LA. Went up north for college, overseas in London for my junior year and to the east coast for grad school As a newbie to LA I would suggest my mentor coaching with the business side of acting http://inmotion2017.wordpress.com and on this site, I offer one on one coaching classes for your craft. We focus on audition technique, character development and other tools needed to stand out from the crowd.
Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
One of my favorite moments is when I was coaching this young actress a while back. Her mother started her out with me for tap lessons but we moved into acting and singing. Little did we know we were prepping her for her first professional theater acting gig. I got a call from a casting agent looking for kids for a LA production of The Color Purple. I submitted my student because I thought she was ready and she booked the gig. First professional audition and she BOOKED IT.
Share with us a favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your students when you were hosting your classes.
Another moment was recently when I was conducting a Business of Acting workshop at University of California, Santa Cruz. In the middle of the session, I pulled a student to the front to do an assessment right in front of the class. We narrowed down her “actual” goal and made some realistic action plans for her to follow to accomplish it. By the end of that demonstration, the rest of the students were able to see in real time just how getting specific and intentional about their business can have large payoffs.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to grow my coaching and mentoring business to help actors young and young at heart accomplish some major goals. As well as continue to grow my own acting career and receive an Academy Award one day 🙂
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal is a platform for experts to give through service to the community at large. People are able to go on the platform and find ways to be assisted in accomplishing their a variety of things from small tasks, to big dreams and to bucket list checks.
Do you have a quote that resonates with you the most? Share it with us and tell us what it means to you!
My Mantra: “Uplift One Higher Than Yourself” which simply means it’s bigger than you. Have a heart of giving and you will receive 10 fold.
If you are a host on Verlocal and would love to feature on host spotlight, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short paragraph about why you want to be featured!
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