We love movies! As Americans in the Twenty-First Century it has become one of our favorite past times. If you do not think so then just watch the fury and anticipation anytime a new Marvel movie drops! Still, whether we are watching our favorite comic book characters come to life or find ourselves relating to a drama that hits a little too close to home; Tinsel Town has not lost its magic. It has however, slowly, but surely, realized it has a lot of work to do to diversify its ranks. That means more minority actors, actresses, producers, and directors—a new wave of talent that can only embolden and beautify that illustrious place we call Hollywood. Tressa Azarel is a big part of that new wave as a woman who has years of experience in the industry and is producing some amazing movies that people not only want to see, but can relate to! “Movies are more than just entertainment they’re the latest forms of storytelling and people need to see those stories…I’ve been in the game for well over twenty years now and it’s had its ups and downs but I’m still here and doing what I love! How many people can say that?”
As the producer, Tressa oversees the finances of the production, assists with casting, and makes connections to getting what is needed. This may sound simple enough, but when what the production needs can cost thousands to millions of dollars, it is no laughing matter. “It’s more than a full time job when you’re producing a film. It kind of takes of your life, it’s like a newborn baby—it needs feeding, changing, attention, and love to grow. But it’s my passion and I’m happy to do it!” Tressa’s latest film is none other than Secrets, an amazing film that shows the dissolution of what seems to be the perfect couple and marriage after a husband is found cheating. The wife, however, and in return, is ready to play the field too. The drama, the shade, and the commentary on the double standards of adultery are tantalizing! You can see the trailer below.
As you can see, former Single Ladies star, Harold House Moore, stars in the film. As you may recall earlier this year he was indicted for allegedly molesting a teenage girl. With most projects this would have cast a dark shadow over the entire production, but Tressa assures us the show has gone on. “When the story first came out I was kind of shocked by the headlines of it. I think Gwinnett County reported on it first…and I was like it wasn’t totally true. The only true part is that he definitely was convicted, but everything else wasn’t true like the story, and you know I can’t go into it for legal purposes but the reality is when I found out that the accuser’s mom and grandmother were on Harold’s side I was like ‘oh wow, this is so not true.’ You know it’s one of those things where the judge in his sentencing was like this is a case of ‘he say, she say’ and I hope that he can appeal. It’s just really sad that someone would have to go through all of that. You know I’m a mother first so when I hear a case like that I’m not with it at all, but when they’re grandmother and mother aren’t on their side it really opens your eyes. I just pray justice will prevail and be served for all parties involved…and that’s all I have to say about that…”
Still, Tressa is what many may describe as a unicorn in Hollywood. Not only does she produce movies, she is also a publisher (Grown Folks Fiction) and accomplished author and the CEO of Life Changing Books. However, the number of African-American producers in the industry is slim; and the number of female African-American producers is so minute that there literally may be just a handful of them out there. This low representation not only speaks volumes, but shows just how desperately they are needed. “It [representation] is very important…people will try to say or insinuate certain people can do certain things and that needs to change. Anyone can do anything they put their mind to and heart into.” One would think that Mrs. Azarel is Wonder Woman the way she juggles her man responsibilities in her life. “My husband is very supportive. Whatever I need to do he’s there for me and has my back. We’ve been together for over twenty years and we’re a team. I have two daughters and they understand mommy has to work, but that when they need me I’m there for them. My kids are also entrepreneurs…you have to start them early on teaching them how to be financially successful and independent, especially as young women…”
Mother, wife, businesswoman, CEO, and movie producer—is there anything Tressa Azarel cannot do? That is the question she leaves you wondering. True enough she is only human, but she is divinely resourceful and adept at getting all her jobs done. She does not just wear many hats, she makes them work for her in a beautifully entangled web she calls life. You can be sure she has more amazing work coming our way. In fact, she has a number of books ready to become movies—124 to be exact! We can’t wait! Be sure you catch Secrets in theaters November 11th!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning