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Elijah Bowden

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Bio

Hi! My name is Elijah Bowden. I'm an African-American & Italian student whose ultimate goal is to unite people worldwide through the power of writing. I'm very intent on creating a book that can remind people worldwide of what it means to be human. I desire to create a series of novels that all can relate to humanity and remind us to be kind to one another. I look around the world and see so much hatred from my personal life to the world. This is why I wish to go to college to hone my craft in creative writing and be able to use college as a platform to skyrocket my career. I want to travel the world and bring this remembrance of our humanity to places around the planet while learning new languages and the intricacies of world cultures to craft the fantasy cultures of my novel to allow underrepresented minorities to have a form of representation. I want to take my novel idea to the next level and use it to remind humankind of our shared humanity. It's a significant dream, but I wouldn't dream it if I couldn't believe it. I'm most passionate about writing since I've been writing fanfiction online for the past five years and have grown even slightly notable in fan forums. I've been writing since a young age and creating all sorts of fantastical worlds in my mind that I know to prove me a worthy candidate for any scholarship so that way I can elevate myself to a higher level in my career field without having to worry as much about the financing of it all.

Education

Burbank High

High School
2022 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • English Language and Literature, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Writing and Editing

    • Dream career goals:

      Author

    • Sales Associate

      Hot Topic
      2023 – 2023

    Arts

    • Village Christian Schools

      Acting
      Something Rotten, 2020, Bye Bye Birdie, 2019
      2019 – 2020
    • Burbank Unified School District

      Acting
      One Act Festival, 2024 (Wrote & starred in play), Grease 2024, Disneylogue Festival, 2023
      2023 – 2024

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Burbank Unifed School District — Speaker of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech
      2024 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Burbank Unifed School District — Time Traveller/Actor
      2024 – 2024

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Minecraft Forever Fan Scholarship
    It's bold to call myself a minor celebrity, but it wouldn't come without merit. Suppose you had joined a community filled with thousands of pre-teens all applying to get into a YouTube series inspired by Joey Graceffa's "Escape The Night," only to get on and experience all of the love and hate of internet fame. In that case, you'd call yourself a minor celebrity as well. I had an avid internet presence. I had been on the social platform Discord since the age of 11, which isn't an age that any developing child should be on a platform overrun with adults who post gore or NSFW. However, I managed to avoid that for most of my online life and delighted myself in minor "gore" in the form of Escape The Night. Most of my personality formed from cast members such as Nikita Dragun, Lele Pons & Matthew Patrick, and YouTube stars who appeared on the web series, leaving my impressionable mind impressed by their wit. Now, you could color me surprised when I discovered that the random game I'd play with friends also had a version of this show with similar popularity, just with regular teens like me. After all, since the only requirement was a Mojang account, I jumped at the opportunity to be close to the show that raised me. After many years of trial and error, I finally got on one of these shows during one of the worst times of my life. My second year of high school. As expected with a mentally unstable, insecure, and desperately fresh teenager, I had a mental breakdown after thinking that I could strategize my way to the top in a similar style to Heather from Total Drama, had a gaggle of adults up my rear when they found out, panic attacked and ran away from online for a year before the project got scrapped and had to be re-recorded. When re-entering the Minecraft ETN community, I had to get a better reputation. So, I tried my hardest to make amends over months, learn new Minecraft skills, and finally, make things well. I gained lifelong friends in community veterans such as my darlings Kimmi and Natalie, who both related to me in their struggles of being a minority in this community and grew together in a Siblinghood. Once the series released and I reached the Top 8 cast members, getting brutally run over by a train with one of my best friends in the cast, I received not only love from the many people calling me misunderstood and robbed, but I also received hate from the onslaught of people who thought I was an evil 16-year-old who deserved to be lynched like every other black person. However, if I looked only at that, I'd fail to answer the prompt. My favorite aspect of the game isn't any part of it to do with mining, PVP, or Redstone programming, all of which were skills I had to gain when applying for these shows. My favorite part is the community and the growth it fosters in and out of the game. Yes, I had growth in my player skills, but I've also gained lifelong friends. I've gained a thicker skin by having to experience such scrutiny. I've gained emotional maturity by having the space in the game to grow to be better and to realize the error of my ways. If it weren't for a series like Mista Pizza's Minecraft Escape The Night, I wouldn't know the true meaning of Minecraft—not in Mining & Crafting. It's in creating a community that's mine.
    1989 (Taylor's Version) Fan Scholarship
    It's hard to fall out of love with someone you never had. It's even more complicated when it's your first time thinking that you can genuinely have a romance. However, 1989 (Taylor's Version) has helped me get through that. I'd have to look at some of her most genuine lyrics to craft a playlist to reflect on my year so far. After all, "I'd known it from the very start. We're a shot in the darkest dark." I don't think we would've ever worked out, using my hindsight. He had just moved to the USA only a year prior; he had barely spoken any English and only hung out with a homophobic crowd of people similar to his race. We only spoke in person, alone, twice. We hadn't hung out with one another; we only texted till midnight hours through Instagram, and even worse, I'm a black gay man. That's spelling out excommunication for Russian immigrants to even associate with me. "I'm holdin' out hope for you to say, "Don't Go." That was what I kept thinking every time I opened up his DMs. I knew he was terrible for me, asking me not to speak to him in front of his friends. He'd ignore my presence even if I were standing before him. However, even when I stopped trying to talk to him, I kept hoping he would return to me. It was wrong, but I wanted him to have a bipolar mood swing where he'd finally realize his wrongs and tell me not to leave him. It never happened, though. Yet strangely, after abandoning his bipolar bouts of using me as a therapist, a punching bag he'd hide in the dark when needed, I opened my vault through the vault tracks of 1989. Like Taylor, it was as if I had pried myself open, releasing parts of my life hidden under years of instances beforehand. "Remind myself the more I gave, you'd want me less. I cannot be your friend, so I pay the price of what I lost. Now that we don't talk." Months ago, I would've thought that the worst thing that could've happened was that I'd separate myself from him and that my life would be over. But I had to realize that I had given so much of myself to him, so much aid, that I'd have to bring myself back to me. Like in "Now That We Don't Talk," I've slowly realized it's been for the best without him. I don't have to pretend that I like wrestling, like how Taylor pretended she liked Acid Rock. I don't have to pretend everything's fine when he treats me like a friend shouldn't. I can't be his friend, so I have to pay the price of severance. Yet I've gained so much more from it now that we don't talk. It's been like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. The heavy iron bars of the vault that locked behind all my feelings have now been released, and with that, the space for more things to fill that vault can now enter. To end off my playlist swiftly, just like Taylor, I'd return to my past. Returning through the album, I can only think of one more song to encapsulate my feeling of choosing to love myself after giving so much love to another and washing free of the attachment to another and attaching to myself. "And by morning, gone was any trace of you. I think I am finally clean."
    Adam Montes Pride Scholarship
    I am a shadow. I was comfortable being a shadow. I was ignored but acknowledged when needed by the person or object by which a shadow was required. I'd stand in for your regular black shape, reflecting what people wanted of me. I'd be in the classroom, minding my business and cracking jokes, and people would accept my presence. Only when they saw my big shadow would I be recognized. People would change when they'd see me. The shadow. It could be during pride month or when they wanted to make a homophobic joke. They'd cast a color on the wall and there I'd be, shining it right back at them. If anyone questioned my reflection, they'd retort with, "How can I be homophobic? I hang out with the gayest guy ever; look at Elijah!" The worst feeling was that they wouldn't cast any color at all. I'd stand behind them—a black shadow—the absence of light. They'd claim, "Oh, I'm not racist—look at my black friend, Elijah!" Without them being there, I wouldn't exist. Even then, my humanity was absent. All that was there was, once again, a new shade. One they'd prescribe to me. It felt nice most of the time to be referred to at all. Teachers commented on my coats of many colors before asking questions. "Elijah," they'd say, fantasizing about what enlightenment my answer could bring. "What does rainbow pride signify to you? What does black lives matter mean to you?" Truthfully, I never liked being called Black or Rainbow at all. I wouldn't say I liked color because it was all I was, but it was all around me. It was like that was all I'd ever be, just a color to them. So, my ideal response would be, "It's just a color." But that wouldn't be enough if I said that I just saw colors. I'd have to open up a Pandora's box of experiences, releasing the demons of Homophobia and Racism to feed their desire for a teaching moment. To feel like they set off the catalyst that'll change someone else's world for good, while mine is left wrecked with a box unable to be closed again. I'd keep that box open daily, let the colorful demons swirl around me, and enter whenever someone needed me. I was a mythical creature sighting, one that people could finally say they'd seen but afterward would only fade into legend and into the brown colors of the pages they'd write on. So, I continued to detest color, associating every color I'd known with the idea of myself. That I was nothing more. I wasn't an interest, I wasn't a hobby, I wasn't a hope. I was just a color. One day, while shopping with my sister, Amaria, surrounded by the blinding colors of Forever 21, I saw what she gravitated toward. Honestly, she went toward every color in the store. However, she kept returning to black, and I couldn't understand why. I asked her, "Why do you like black? It's the absence of color." She laughed and shook her head. "No, Elijah. Black goes with everything. Every color fills black." Since then, I've learned I am a shadow—a reflection of all colors. When Red gets reflected, it shows my power. When yellow is reflected, it shows my happiness. Now, when my black shadow appears, I know that it is the combination of everything. Every color they've seen me as is in there, regardless of what's associated with it. My uniqueness is that I am a combination of every color—a beautiful shadow.
    Eden Alaine Memorial Scholarship
    I lost my older brother, Ryan, when I was seven years old. Truthfully, I wasn't old enough to understand the concept of death. All I knew was that my brother, the one I had never been around since I had lived with my mother in Illinois while he lived with my father in California, was now gone. It was the first time I ever saw my mother cry. She was on the floor, wailing and shrieking as I saw his actual mom on the other side of the line. She wasn't even his birth mother, only the new wife of his father, but she loved him as if she came from her womb. Seeing my mother break tears for the first time wasn't something I was ever prepared for. The funeral wasn't anything that I expected. Thousands of people showed up. Some claimed they had known me, some I had never met before--all telling me that they were so sorry for my loss but refusing to tell me how I lost it. I didn't know how he died for years when he died, etc. It was all blocked out of my memory if I was told; I only remember sitting in the front row and looking at my brother, not smiling for the first time. It was chilling, feeling like he was sleeping, yet everyone told me he wouldn't wake up. I didn't break into tears until I reached the coffin, begging for him to wake up and refusing to leave. For a 7-year-old, I cried like I was 70, having known him for years. Consistently, he served as a reminder of mortality for me. He was the one thing I couldn't get off of my mind. When I turned 13, I received his red watch and Adidas jacket from my father, which made me sob. I saw fractions of this man's life, realizing that I never had the time to know him and remember him as the loving brother he was. Everyone told me how much he loved me, yet I could only feel it when I was holding the pieces of his past life. The worst part of it all is that as I grew older and my mental health deteriorated, I was going into the same mindset as my brother. I guess it was destiny that I would always find out eventually. Regardless of the information my parents refused to tell me, the tears they continually choked back--they didn't tell me until I came close to death myself. After telling them about my suicidal thoughts, my desire to kill myself and be free from the world, and the burden I placed upon them, they finally told me what he had done. Knowing that my brother committed suicide by shooting himself in the head was bad enough, but knowing that he was only two years older than I was made it worse. I was looking my father in the eyes, telling him all that made me see it in his eyes. He almost lost another son to the same fate. Truthfully, for a brother that I have no memory of, I remember him through how he's helped me in spirit. Since that moment, he went from a grim reminder to a fond memory. I can relate to him and his struggles and yet be determined to live the life he never got to. I want to cherish every moment and have him enjoy life as the angel over my shoulder. He's watching over me, and I want him to spend every moment with me. To truly live.
    Disney Channel Rewind Scholarship
    Between my favorite Disney Channel series, I believe the perfect combination of two Disney Channel shows would be "My Babysitter's A Vampire" and "Dumbo's Circus." Being someone proficient in Lost Media, I think that blending a modern show and the shows of the past would be best to harken back to Disney's Channel's varied past in an episode titled "Circus Freaks," a special 40-minute special. The episode would be in the middle of the first season, beginning with Ethan's parents installing a new television in their house after Benny and Ethan broke the former set. They gain it from their grandmother, who gave it to their parents from an old television set they had as kids. However, unaware that this television set was imbued with magic, they invite Sarah for a vintage film night. Of course, being unable to resist the temptation of a simple night with friends after their various supernatural encounters, she humors them and attends. The TV turns on, turning on to the original subscription-based Disney Channel of the 80s. However, the television begins to go haywire as the house begins flicking, starting up on an episode of Dumbo's Circus from the vault, before Dumbo eventually turns to the camera and the episode turns off alongside the lights in the house. Disappointed, Sarah leaves, leaving Benny and Ethan disappointed that their plan has failed. Generally, things come undisrupted as a traveling carnival comes to their town, promising grandeur. Determined to impress Sarah, they invite her out to this traveling carnival. However unsure, she brings along Erica as a double to deal with Benny as she handles Ethan, with Rory tagging along out of his natural fear of missing out, which he displays in the show. They attend this carnival, having a night of fun until they come into the titular circus tent, being disrupted by the act of characters they saw on Dumbo's Circus. The characters find them within the audience, and the group is unsettled, with the older population of the townsfolk, such as parents and grandparents being in the building since they saw the advertisement for a revival of Dumbo's Circus. They watch as the audience members begin to revert in age as the show progresses, with Ethan calling up his grandmother to find out that TV unleashes the souls of the actors into the present world, needing to feed off of their living energy to stay around, giving them a special ritual to place them back inside of their television world. As they try the ritual in the actual circus, the circus acts begin to run off, leaving the entire gang to go off and try to collect them. Erica goes off to find the koala "Fair Dinkum," only having the Koala try and jump on her face before she places it inside a cage after going to the animal sanctuary, using his fear of heights to have him fall into the cage. For Benny, he traps Barnaby, the dog, inside of his magic act, trapping him in one of those magician saw boxes. Sarah cuts Lilli's tightrope as she falls into a pile of jewelry, with Sarah using a net to trap her. Benny traps Dumbo after setting up a trap to catch him while he flies toward them to steal their energy, getting trapped as the gang drags them to a salt circle prepared by Ethan. Completing the ritual, the carnival fades as all parents wake up as adults again. Ethan vows never to try to impress Sarah again and demolishes the TV, ridding its magic.
    Eras Tour Farewell Fan Scholarship
    I have always been a Taylor Swift enjoyer ever since I would sneak into my sister's bedroom in the late night hours and crawl onto her porch, watching the music videos for "22" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" with the volume at it's highest; that way we could get the best scope of the actual music. However, I didn't become a fan and do a deep dive into her music until the Eera tour started. I grew away from my roots of listening to Taylor Swift, and honestly, it somewhat saddened me. I needed an emotional reset regarding my life since I mainly listened to a lot of music that wasn't the best for me. They say that music heals the soul, but what I was listening to wasn't healing. So, when she announced her "Speak Now, Taylor's Version" album, I had to listen to it. It was my favorite album to listen to on our family's CD when I was younger, and I thought it was only appropriate to visit it so many years later. Listening to it for the first time, I began to cry. I began reliving all of the fantastic memories of my childhood and singing all of the songs I would've never known I knew all the words to. I felt a rollercoaster of emotions as I returned to a simpler time. So, during the eras tour, I shifted my sound to Taylor Swift completely, and it changed my life. I was feeling much more confident when it came to myself and my life again. Listening to her music, I began to think that reinforced belief in true love all over again, going through all her music and listening to her songs. Going through Lover, 1989, Speak Now & Fearless was part of the reason I found this man I honestly believe I am in love with. It was part of what allowed me to trust myself and be vulnerable with others again. Seeing her perform through Instagram Live and announce different surprise songs gave me something new to listen to every night. I had something to look forward to when I got home. Other than my little world, I felt a sense of community while seeing all those people in their lives who were just like me, all wanting to hear Taylor sing. I felt a sense of belonging and reconnecting with myself when I listened to Taylor again. I still love branching out to new kinds of music, but I learned to be nice to myself and what I listen to. I don't have to listen to sad or angry songs 24/7, and I can change my mood depending on my music. When it came to my teenage years, many things helped me realize that I wasn't so different compared to my classmates. That we were all just teenagers trying to make it through life. Whether it was because of anime stupid video games or even Taylor Swift, there are certain things that I feel have linked me together to my generation more and more and Taylor allows me to feel a connection to them and myself. Taylor is what kept me tethered.
    Anime Enthusiast Scholarship
    I can repeatedly watch Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai without ever needing to stop. When it comes to that show, it hit me at a critical time in my life. I was at the peak of my teenage years and struggling to find where I belonged in the world. I had friends and people around me whom I appreciated, yet I felt entirely invisible at the same time. I felt like Mai Sakurajima, someone with such boundless talent who so many people had seen, but nobody had seen the real me. I felt like I had to flaunt an exaggerated version of myself for the slight chance that people would see me. Unlike Mai, it worked for the most part, but I didn't quite know how to put a finger on that feeling of loneliness that came from being like Mai. I felt like Rio, lacking absolute confidence in my appearance. I didn't feel handsome, so I relied on humor and smartness to carry me through high school. I didn't treat myself like I was particularly anything much to look at. Because of that, I, too, turned to online circles for attention from all sorts of people on the Internet, craving that feeling of being loved by others in spaces like Omegle. I, too, felt like Nodoko, feeling inferior to your siblings, who are so great. It's hard to have siblings who are successful in modeling, entertainment, filmmaking, and all these other avenues of entertainment, and then be a high schooler who doesn't have a job, barely knows anything about the adult world, is trying to catch up--trying to fill in the shoes of my siblings. I felt like I was inferior to them like I'd never be them, even though I placed so much mental importance on being like my older siblings. It wasn't until I watched the show that I found a way to purge all these emotions. While watching the show, I realized that it relates not only to my own life but to the lives of so many teenagers. There were so many unsuspecting characters that I wouldn't ever fathom having endured similar situations. They were suddenly so alive and honest whenever I watched the show. They understood my pain, even in heightened places. They come alive whenever I watch the show because, to me, they're little pockets of myself. I watch the show, and I not only look back on where I used to be, being able to recognize where I was back when I felt like them and not only feel hope for the future but feel pride in the fact that I have grown to be such a better human being for myself in that way. Adolescence Syndrome is the atmosphere in which the personal issues of an individual manifest in physical and supernatural ways. Although having never experienced Adolescence Syndrome myself, I can relate to some parts of feeling like an atmosphere is influencing you and feeling that choking feeling of never being able to escape your current circumstance of never being seen, of never being enough for yourself or others. However, I believe that whenever I return to that show, I know I don't need to let the atmosphere influence me. I need to continue being me.
    GUTS- Olivia Rodrigo Fan Scholarship
    "And I try to ignore it, but it's everything I see. It's on the posters on the wall, it's in the shitty magazines. It's in my phone, it's in my head, it's in the boys I bring to bed. It's all around, all the time, and I don't know why I even try." I grew up around models for my entire life. Not just fantastic role models but actual models. My sister has been modeling since she was a teenager and aspired to be one of the iconic Victoria's Secret Angels. My sister, whom I hold no blame for, idolized these women in magazines. She had collections of Vogue stacked against the walls, entire walls covered in magazine shoots from some of her favorite models. She had America's Next Top Model and RuPaul's Drag Race playing on the television every time I came into her bedroom or the living room. I grew up seeing these different beauty standards and how they impacted my sister. I assume a specific part trickled down to when I started using social media. The strange part is that although I had a particular kind of social media experience since I often interacted with EDTWT and "Twink" spaces online, everyone has experienced the same thing as I have. The mindless scrolling through post after post, video after video of men and women with these perfect bodies. They're like Greek gods, carved out of absolute marble. They have perfect chests, arms, and hairless, chiseled faces. They were exactly like what I saw on ANTM. All I envision is that one day when I am rich and famous, I will have a body like that. I would have the figure to make people want to listen to what I say. But at that moment, I didn't have the figure. I had thicker thighs, rolls on my stomach when I sat down, and a double chin that I thought practically doubled my weight. I had pants that, after a few weeks, I wouldn't fit into it anymore, and damn the Popeye's meal I had the night before to hell. I'd create Pinterest boards of my "Thinspiration," with all of these different diets used by models and just endless pictures of men with perfectly slim chests, ones that make other men attracted to them. I looked at videos of gay couples with both being in shape or the one who was attracted to the other first having a perfect body. I compared myself to them daily, like what other teenagers around me did. While I was creating Pinterest boards during my teenage years, my sister did the same with her wall of photos and collections of magazines. She would watch these shows daily, aspiring to be like them when it came to figure, although she was already blessed with being genetically thinner! We both placed so much importance on what our bodies looked like and how other people would want us based on our bodies and eventually, I saw everywhere. Teenagers around the world absorb what they want to be through the media of which they consume. Whether it's one episode of ANTM or if it's a series of TikTok videos of people at the gym, the distortion of our body image is one that I relate to. Especially when you're a teenager, and all around you are beautiful people--it captures the essence of adolescence and what Olivia is trying to capture. When we surround ourselves with these things at such young ages, it'll never be enough for us until we're like them. Until pretty is pretty enough.
    Lotus Scholarship
    One of the biggest things that has had me persevere through challenges in my life is the fact that for most of my life, I've only had my mom. My dad went to jail when I was 5, and he ended up not living with us ever again after that point due to their divorce. So, my mom took on the role of being both a mother and a father to me at an extremely young age. When it came to living with my mom, I'll say it wasn't always as easy as I wanted it to be. I was a significantly damaged individual who was subject to a lot of bullying at school. Because of that, I tried to distance myself from others, including my family. However, it wasn't until I came out of a massive season of depression during the pandemic that I allowed myself the opportunity to reconnect with my mom. She had a lot on her plate raising two other kids, and I hadn't ever considered what it would be like to be in her shoes for a day. So, I eased up some of my tensions toward her and tried to be more understanding. My mom never once gave up on me. She gave me as much help as possible, always encouraged me, and wanted the best for me, even if I couldn't see it. It wasn't until the last four years that I'd say that our relationship has grown immensely. I rely on my mom as a space of peace, my one safe space where I can talk to her about anything. She's my rock, the one person I know will have my back yet be there to ground me simultaneously. My mom is a fighter, raising three kids by herself and being a beauty businesswoman and pastor. She's persevered throughout the years, and honestly, she's my inspiration. She's taught me never to back down and rescind what the world wants me to be. We are a family of black people who have never let being black define who we are. She's taught me to always stand up for myself and seek truth, emotional security, and a confident relationship with God. She's the one who's led me down the path to loving myself again and motivated me to share that love with others. One thing she has always done is support my dreams and make sure that I always believed the impossible to be possible. That I am possible. I want to share that message of being possible to people worldwide. She's always supported my writing dreams, and I want to show her my immense love for her by sharing my writing talents with the world. I want to convince people to be like my mom- to never back down from challenges, to seek out being kind to one another even when you know your life is chaotic, and always to share love. Love is so much more than a kiss or a hug. It is the innate feeling of wanting to do something for someone out of the goodness of your heart. It's the love that she's felt for me for years, though I have done nothing to deserve it. I want to continually show that love, share my writing talents to the world, and perhaps even convince one person that they too deserve love, loving themselves and those around them.
    Good People, Cool Things Scholarship
    My creative passion is creative writing. I've been doing it since I can remember when I was 5. I'd write little colorful books for my mom and bring them home, regaling her with my multiple silly stories. In Times like that, I kindled my creative mind. My mom made it extremely clear to everyone in my family to let me enjoy being a kid, which meant letting my imagination run wild. Did it lead me to believe I was a wizard for six years? Yes. However, that creativity allowed me to funnel into my writing. I feel most creative when I'm surrounded by magic. Now, it isn't like my childhood, where I genuinely believed fairies and mermaids surrounded me, yet I like to think that I create my magic in the world. If I had an extra 24 hours, I'd honestly spend it writing. I'd grab a nice frappuccino, sit on my bed with my back pillow for my posture, and open up WorldAnvil, getting straight to writing. I think that my magic is the capability of creating entire worlds. I can sit at my computer for hours creating detailed histories of countries, cities, magical abilities, and new species of flora and fauna that have never been seen before, yet my mind can picture them perfectly. I trust in myself to create these worlds and my ability to write because I've done it before. When I was young, I would create magic using my mind, and although it wasn't magic wands, the real magic was that power of imagination. When I can have that safe space in the comfort of my room to feel like I'm a magical being again, I use it whenever I can. I sit at my computer and create these worlds for God knows how long. I look up different cultures to inspire these places in my world and find myself going down rabbit holes, seeing the magic other people have created. Someone had to imagine things that had never been seen, like beautiful tapestries from South Korea or new shapes of gemstones in Africa. However, they managed to find these things in their mind. Everyone is just in their head, constantly creating. So, I like to honor that creativity and give the groups of which these countries with such lush and vibrant histories are from, and I apply that to my writing. I'll spend my time trying to create worlds that give representation to people on this earth because I believe that makes this world a better place. I want to write novels about these mystical locations that reflect modern times, give minorities of color voices that haven't been heard before, and amplify them to another level. I want to show that anyone can be represented since we are all people. Anyone can relate to anything, so making these magical worlds that even have a fragment of their culture can go a long way. I think that not only allowing people to absorb and digest these cultures but also allowing ways for them to participate in them through my writing is the beauty of what I do. It unites us. That unity is how I think I make the world a better place.
    Top Watch Newsletter Movie Fanatics Scholarship
    Out of all of the films I have watched over the years, many have stood out to me. However, I can say that very few movies have ever made an impact that aligns with my life's trajectory and goals in one sitting--except for one. If I were only to watch one film for the rest of my life, I'd watch The Devil Wears Prada for the rest of my days on this earth because it set up a massive framework of my past, present, and future. The Devil Wears Prada is a film that I associate with my entire life. Since I was a young boy, I have wanted to be wrapped up in money, success, fame, and glamour. My sister would have the latest Vogue issue in her bedroom, and when she was off doing a modeling gig, I'd sneak in and read through some of my favorite pages repeatedly and imagine being approached to wear something such as those. I would write Oscar, Golden Globe, Daytime Emmy, and Tony award-winning speeches, performing them in my bedroom to crowds of hundreds of stuffed animals at my celebration gala. I'd look out the window of my car on long trips, thinking of what it would be like to be famous, surrounded by cameras and paparazzi. When I eventually watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time, it encapsulated everything I thought my future would be. Anne Hathaway was a girl thrust into the world of fame after working alongside Meryl Streep--and the life of traveling to Paris, wearing designer clothes, flanked by people asking me about future projects was something that was so beautifully illustrated in The Devil Wears Prada that I knew that this life was for me. I used to think Anne Hathaway was silly for not wanting to fire Emily because she could go to Paris for the first time. I even got upset when she walked away from Miranda and the life she could live with her in Paris. Miranda Priestly once said, "Don't be silly. Everyone wants a life like this." Although it may not be everyone's desire, it was mine. Not because of some desperate attempt to be seen and want attention but because I knew I was meant for more. I wasn't meant to be like Anne and sit down at some desk job, working to the bone and taking orders from some random boss. I was meant to have my voice heard and to be an inspiring beacon of entertainment for others, and that's what I intend to do. I'd watch The Devil Wears Prada for the rest of my life because it'd prepare me. If I plan on having big dreams of making it big in publishing and writing, like Anne, then transitioning into the world of Filmmaking, entertainment, and fashion, like Miranda, I need to see what that world would be like. Surprisingly enough, The Devil Wears Prada shows precisely that every time I watch it. It's a cutthroat world with you stepping above other people to survive. You're constantly fighting and climbing up the same hill, and whether you're knocked down or reach the top depends on your grit. My entire life has built me with that grit, and watching The Devil Wears Prada shows me that I can survive that world and reminds me of who I am—someone with grit, determination, and ingenuity. The Devil Wears Prada reminds me who I am.