Written By: Aliya Faust
Africa Miranda: She’s young, creative, driven, and also featured on Bravo’s latest reality show, The New Atlanta, slated to debut this month. The show follows a group of single, diverse dreamchasers’ (Miranda, Alexandra Dilworth, Emily Lipman, Tribble Reese and Jevon “Vawn” Sims) struggle and triumph in pursuit of professional success in Atlanta. And while we all know how hard it is to maintain a personal life when tunnel vision takes control, that sure doesn’t stop this fresh new cast from trying to balance both work and play in city’s budding social scene. Africa Miranda’s journey mirrors a great combination of both. Here, the “working performer” talks about her career that mends the two lifestyles, her contribution to The A, and what to expect from the upcoming docu-series.
KONTROL: At one point in time, Atlanta was just your typical southern city, but now it’s a multicultural, sort of artsy and trendsetting hotspot. How do you contribute to this new scene?
AFRICA MIRANDA: I’d say a very literal contribution is a show that I’m a co-creator of called “Lipstick Junkies.” Myself and two of my girlfriends created the show, but some of our cast and the band and musicians are really people that are some of the top musicians, not only in the city of Atlanta, but across the country. So we’ve been performing the show here since January and it’s really starting to take the music and theater culture by storm. I’ve grown up coming to Atlanta for concerts and hang out, so now to live here and be able to literally contribute to the arts is amazing.
Now, I know you’re from Montgomery, AL, which is kind of in the middle of a lot of major cities. Are the arts why you chose Atlanta?
For me, growing up in Montgomery, anything was an outlet because when you’re there, it’s one big suburb and it’s great to grow up. But if you’re somebody creative and a little starving to express yourself, you want to go out and find your platform. For me that came with the opportunity to move to New York, but when I was ready to transition from New York and move back down south, Atlanta was perfect because just like you said, where at one point I was growing up it was just a regular city, now it’s the Hollywood of the South. You can do film here, you can do television, you can be on stage, you can model, you can do all kinds of things. So it just seemed like the perfect place for me to just grow as an artist and creative soul.
Sounds good. Can you tell me a little about the ‘The New Atlanta’ and your role in it? How were you chosen?
Sure. It is the ‘new Atlanta.’ You have single, interesting people with these great lives, striving to get to that next level in not only our careers, but our personal lives. You kind of see the struggle that comes with that because life on its own isn’t easy, so when you put it under the microscope of really trying to push and achieve certain things, you just kind of see what we all go through. I think for me, my story is very much that of a woman that’s single, you know, you want your career and it’s creative so it’s already not traditional, so how do you mix wanting to be traditional with a super nontraditional life? That’s my journey on the show. The opportunity kind of came through friends—they were working on the show; they were looking for different types of people. The story that I tell, I just hope that people enjoy it and can relate to it and get the honesty that I brought.
You do the ‘Lipstick Junkies’ show and I hear you’re also a commercial model. Can we expect to see you working and doing those things during the show?
I get to touch on a little bit of everything I do. What’s great about this show that we’ve created, ‘Lipstick Junkies,’ is that you’ll see acting and dance and music all in one place. It’s kind of hard to take everything you’re involved in and squeeze it in, but I think we did a good job at giving you an idea of everything that it does that kind of makes me and what my day-to-day life is.
What are some place you’ve done work for?
I’ve done spots for Coca Cola, Mary Kay, for Curls Unleashed, Creme of Nature, for the Discovery Channel.
Yeah, I’ve been kind of busy. I guest starred last season on an episode of [BET’s] The Game. I was in the film, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. And that was shot here in Atlanta. So I’ve been able to kind of do a little bit of everything.
So you’re more of the established type, versus getting on a reality TV show as a come-up.
Those phrases are hard. If you ask me what I am, my honest answer would be that I’m a working performer. By no means am I Mariah Carey or Beyonce, but thankfully I work hard. I’ve been able to say that this is what I do for a living. I still have many levels to get to where I want to go. There’s definitely still a struggle, I’m still going to auditions. When my agent calls, I make sure I don’t miss that phone call! I used to work full-time and try to do all that stuff too. And I was finally able to get to a place where now this is how I’m able to survive and live.
Yeah, the entertainment industry is definitely hard to get into.
It’s super hard. It’s like each step you get to is like the next round on the latter. You’re like, ‘Oh gosh, this is even harder than the last one.’
What would you say your favorite part of filming was?
They filmed a lot of me in rehearsals, with my friends and we were getting everything together, working on the [Lipstick Junkies] show, and that part was fun because I feel like you don’t always get to show the work that it takes to kind of create something. You may see pictures or the end result, but I had to rehearse and I’m a person that likes that part of the creative process so I enjoyed having that filmed. And the hair and makeup stuff was always fun!
Compared to other reality shows, how would describe ‘The New Atlanta’ in a nutshell?
The biggest difference is that, as a whole, if you compare it to the other shows that are on, the cast is more diverse culturally. We’re single, only one of us has a child. You’re really seeing people trying to get their lives to that next step versus maybe someone who’s already gone to that certain place and they’re trying to reach back, or they’re married. We’re really out there living and doing it. It’s a really sexy show. It’s a lot of fun, drama, fiery personalities and it’s really a roller-coaster ride. It’s an aspirational show…It’s going to be the most amazing show you’ve ever seen [laughs].
‘The New Atlanta’ premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. For more info on Africa Miranda, follow her on Twitter @africamiranda