AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Kiara Iman is an actor, singer, educator, and content creator, who now has the opportunity for her talents to be seen on the big screen.
A John S. Davidson Fine Arts graduate, Kiara Iman will soon be seen nationwide in the next Will Packer film, Praise This, which stars Chloe Bailey (“Grownish”) and Tristan “Mack” Wilds (“90210”, “The Wire”).
WJBF News Channel 6 Digital had the privilege to sit down with Kiara Iman for a one-on-one interview as she discusses her humble beginnings and what’s next for her bright future.
How did you get started acting?
“It’s a story that follows me since I was a little girl. It was definitely something that I was always interested in when I was still living in Ohio at the time. At about the age of 8, I really started doing research and getting with a mentor, and then, I started to get involved in camps. I really started taking it serious when I came to Augusta when I was 14, I made this complete faith step to leave my high school that I was attending at the time. I auditioned, and I got into Davidson Fine Arts. And then when I came here, my path was acting, and I focused on theater, and I got to work with amazing educators such as Betty Walpert and Heather Davidson. And then from there I went to Kennesaw State University for about a year and half, and I studied theater. And then I transitioned back to Augusta, and I finished my degree with communications. So acting has just been that path that has always followed me, and even when I felt like I’ve always wanted to give up on it, it’s crazy how your purpose always comes back to you.”
How did Davidson Fine Arts prepare you for what you are doing right now?
“I always have to start with that I’m so grateful to my dad especially because he was the one who actually told me about the school, and it has been foundational for the person that I am now. The professionalism that I gained going to that school, and where it set me up as an artist, as an entrepreneur, as an educator myself, it was really something that was the catalyst to my journey. And getting to work with different students from all different backgrounds, but the best thing about going to a school like that was that it challenged me and exposed me to so much. I was always so grateful for the field trips that we always got to go on and to be involved in the competition shows. Not only was it artistic, but the education that I got at Davidson Fine Arts set me up, and I am so grateful that I got that opportunity.”
You are currently a part of the new Will Packer film “Praise This.” Can you tell us a little about the film? What is it about, and what is your role in the film?
“Praise This comes out in 2023 so there are a lot details that are still exclusive. Praise This follows the journey of youth choir competitions, and one thing that I like to always tell people now is: ‘Be prepared to laugh!’ It is comedy; it is artistic. From there, you’ll be able to see more of what the film involves, but I’m so excited for people to stay on the journey as we get to release more as far as the time of the release for the trailer. I think that it will showcase everything. As far as my role, there is only so much that I can reveal, but I am a part of the ensemble as far as one of the main youth choir. Basically, you’ll get to see me do some singing and some dancing, which is exciting because I always like to tell people I’m an actor before I’m a dancer. But that’s the great thing about the entertainment industry because you get to challenge yourself just like I did at Davidson.”
Will Packer has produced a lot of films including “Girls Trip”, “Stomp The Yard”, “This Christmas”, and “Think Like A Man.” What was it like working with him?
“First, I was like ‘What? I get to work with Will Packer?’ That is a dream for so many people especially for me. He is such a sweetheart; he is very kind. I got to personally experience his gift of taking unknown artist and making them become more than what they even thought what they could be. I absolutely loved working him; he was always so supportive. He would always greet me with that really great smile. Even working with Tina Gordon: phenomenal director! Getting to see her in her lane and her element on set especially as a woman calling the shots, it was very exciting and thrilling to work with her. And the team goes on and on between my cast mates and crew.”
How has the arts in the city of Augusta influenced you and pushed you to where you are today?
“Augusta is definitely the breeding ground of what I believe that I can do as an artist. Getting to work with all different types of organizations even starting off in high school, I got to intern with Westobou and work with people such as Kristi Jilson and Bethany Marshall, who really groomed me on the aspect of behind the scenes and working with other artists in the community. I was involved with organizations such as Augusta Jr. Players, and I even taught at Jessye Norman and MTW, which is where I am currently a drama teacher. Every organization I’ve been a part of, including going to Davidson, has taught me that Augusta has my back! And that’s what I love about the Augusta community. The people who are mentors in this community, especially in the arts community, are really about bringing out the best out of you. There were a lot of different things I got to launch as an artist even when I was just in high school and even when I came back and even attending Augusta University with working with Dr. Melanie Kitchens O’Meara. I was always able to branch out. For example, meeting the people that I have met in the community, I got to release visuals for my own original EP called “Beloved: Bits & Pieces.” I got to work on short films, and I just constantly am being poured into by this community, and that is why it is so much easier for me to pour out. That’s why I love the fact that I did the opportunity to go and film in Atlanta, and then, all the nuggets that I gain there as I’m working in the entertainment industry, I get to pour it back. I am just really grateful; I really am!”
If you could give any advice to anybody who wants to get involved in entertainment, i.e. acting, singing, what advice would you give them?
“The first step is always to start. I think so many people feel intimidated because we feel like ‘my gifts aren’t enough’ or ‘my resources aren’t enough.’ But just like I was that girl who left Ohio and made that faith step just to get started and to audition, I always believe in if there isn’t an opportunity, make one. When I first got here, I was the new girl, and everybody was like, ‘Who is this girl from Ohio?’ I had to be able to reveal to people slowly who I was. So, in order for me to make an opportunity, I remember I launched an original showcase fundraiser called DIVERSE, and I got some of my peers involved. From there, that was a great lesson for me that as long as I reach out and involve other people and make the step to start, other opportunities will come because more people got to see what I can do. So, if you feel like you have to wait, you really don’t. If you have access to a phone, you can share your art online, You can research YOUTUBE UNIVERSITY is the one! If you cannot afford classes right now, look up acting classes and look up artist classes, i.e. how to sing. Most importantly, Augusta is enriched with artist culture so I would encourage people to even look at the Arts Council and see what they can find.”
Before we end this interview, what is the one television show that you are watching or what show do you think everyone should be watching?
“I have to support my castmates, and even though the season has transitioned around, I have to say Grownish. With me just graduating from college, I love supporting that. I love supporting that Chloe [Bailey] did that especially after getting to work with her. I would say a show like Our Kind Of People, not a lot of people know too much about it. I love what it does to showcase African-American culture like the roots of our hair; I really love shows like that.”
Praise This is expected to be released in 2023.
If you want to read more about Kiara Iman and stay on track with her journey, you can check out her website, kiaraiman.com.