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Last Thursday, October 20, 2016,  Howardwood had its  annual Black Entertainment Television Genius Talk in the School of Communications with notable HU alum Laz Alonso and Simone Missick. Both were able to share their struggles and successes as entertainers and answer questions directly from the students.

Missick, who currently stars as Misty Knight from the new Netflix and Marvel Series, Luke Cage, was an English major, theatre arts minor while Alonso studied marketing in the School of Business.

Alonso has starred in popular films like Jumping the Broom, Avatar and This ChristmasNeither of the two started in acting right after graduating from Howard.

Missick described how she spent her first five years waiting tables and being exhausted, all while figuring it out and hanging out in California. She said she had no clear cut plan on how to make it as an actress.

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On the other hand, Alonso was in New York working on Wall Street and decided he would do theatre on the weekends, since both Wall Street and Broadway were there.

“I can utilize my major to get me to New York, where I can work on Wall Street. Make money. And then I could just do theatre on weekends…that was my strategy,” Alonso said.

Alonso went into detail to say how important it is to have a five-year plan to start executing it, although it may not work out.

His work days consisted of 90 hours a week, which made it would be impossible to become an actor.

Alonso and Missick share their advice.

Missick: Reach out to the people who you are inspired by.

“Have a specific mentor. Read books about what those people did to get to where they are and reach out to them… the world is so small right now,” Missick said.

Missick joked how a girl has instagrammed her and asked how she got her twist out and she shared her process.

Alonso: Take time more seriously.

Alonso told the audience some advice he was told that changed his focus. He said, “Up until the age of 25, you are judged on your potential. After the age 25, its all about results.”

Alonso: Spend a quarter for every dollar you make.

“Live in a manner in which you can float in the slow times. The money you spend now should be the money you made two or three jobs ago, if you want to be in a position where you’re not in that room desperate for that job,” Alonso said.

Missick: Seek God first and Pray.

“Recognize that God sees something in you that other people don’t see and you don’t even see in yourself and that he is greater than your small mind,” Missick shared.

The Genius Talk was moderated by the award winning journalist, Jeff Johnson.

Howardwood is a student organized event that is a collaboration between BET Network and May Sister Entertainment. This is their seventh year bringing “Hollywood to Howard.”

Watch the recap video by Brianna Jenkins:

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