The Becoming of Yonathan Elias
Why are the arts important to our culture?
The arts are important to our culture because it’s a way for us to express ourselves in a world where we weren’t able to tell our own stories in the past. I think back to the days where Nat King Cole who would got put out of town in Alabama just because girls swooned over him or how Hattie McDaniel won her Oscar in 1940 and couldn’t even sit at the table with her white cast. Today, we are so fortunate to be able to showcase our talents and not get punished for doing so. We have the opportunity to reap the benefits of what our brothers and sisters worked so hard to get us and I don’t take that lightly or for granted.
Why keeps you motivated in such a competitive industry?
Honestly, I ask myself this question all the time. This industry can get very tough and competitive, especially with the birth and growth of social media where it’s more about numbers than talent. I think it’s so unfortunate that this industry is heading that way, but still have faith that the talented will prevail. I have been in this industry for 20 years now and have gotten so many NOs, but over the years I have learned to turn that NO into motivation to get a YES for the next opportunity. I can’t see myself doing anything else but be in this industry. I’ve gone through way too much and sacrificed a lot to get to where I am today. So to me, competition just comes with the territory and I’m here to win! That’s my motivation.
Tell us about your project that you are most proud.
The project I’m most proud of may not be my biggest project, but the most rewarding to me. I created a music video countdown on an Ethiopian network called Ethiopian Broadcast Service back in 2011 and it was aired all over Africa and Europe. I was young with a dream and pitched it to the biggest Ethiopian network and they were sold. I ended up hosting that show for 8 years and became one of the biggest media personalities in Ethiopia and still to this day when I go back home to Addis Abeba, I get swarmed by fans! The reason I’m so proud of that project is because I saw how proud it made my family. The fact that I was able to take my passion and represent for my culture in such a positive manner, really touched their hearts. My ultimate goal is to make my family proud, so that’s why this project means the most to me.
Tell us about your unique skills to work on the red carpet.
Oooh. Y’all have me telling my secrets huh? So here’s the thing…my unique skills to work on the red carpet is just being ME. I am unique and I own it. I love to see people smile and make them feel good, so I put that positive energy and vibe on any red carpet I do. And the thing is, the public figures/celebs feel it. That good energy bounces to them and they enjoy it. I take my job and career very seriously, so with that being said, I come prepared. I create an experience for everyone that walks passed me on the carpet, but the secret is being yourself!
Tell us about your new projects/business ventures.
I am super excited about one new project I am working on with some TALENTED brothers and sisters. I wrote a script and have put together a team of amazing talents to tighten it up to prepare for pitching to different networks. I have gotten amazing feedback and for this to be my first TV series I created, that really excites me. Of course you will see your boy acting in it as well so it’s going to be a treat for everyone. I can’t say too much about it, but know that it is FIRE. Can’t wait for the world to see!
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