This month, for my podcast: https://bit.ly/3GD8BAU I had the pleasure of interviewing Juanita Ingram; an award-winning attorney, filmmaker, author, fashion philanthropist, and actress. She is the creator of THE EXPATS: INTERNATIONAL INGRAMS which chronicles the international adventures and struggles of a black American family living, working, and learning abroad. The 20 episode series covers everything from navigating new cultures, schooling, health scares, Black Lives Matter abroad, and even COVID-19 as experienced in Asia.
When I discovered Juanita on Instagram, I really wanted to interview her because I was just blown away by what this wife and mother of two living abroad had accomplished. When you see all things she accomplished you think how on earth was she able to do all that and where did she find the time?!
As a first-time mom, having a child and living abroad totally changed everything. I am trying to achieve the same goals but with half the time. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to navigate living in a foreign country, running a business in that country, taking care of your family, and trying to take care of/have time for yourself. Often, it seems like there is not enough hours in the day. You can quickly feel like you are everywhere but not going anywhere. It can get even harder to enjoy the process because you are so busy that time seems to just disappear.
We can all get caught up in peoples’ lives and their accomplishments on social media. It can look like they have it all. There are lots of things Juanita has done that I would love to do, such as write a book or have a show on radio or TV. I want to give dedicated time to my other passions outside of my career and family, but getting all of that in on an everyday basis can sometimes lead to physical and mental exhaustion.
The best quote I’ve ever heard is, “You can have it all but not all at the same time.”
This quote really spoke to me when I became a mother. I wanted to keep my career and be a parent. It occurred to me during the conversation I had with Juanita that she is the living and breathing version of this quote. It’s easy to look at all of her accomplishments on her website and think that all of it happened just yesterday, but as you will see from the podcast it was a journey of over ten years of work. Each of her talents had a season. She wasn’t doing all of these things at the same time. There was a time she was a lawyer, a wife, and a mother in the States. When she moved overseas and couldn’t be a lawyer she tapped into her other talents. She started writing a series of children’s books and inspirational books for women.
The children’s book series, The Wonderfully Made Pals Presents, are multi-cultural, Christian books with a mission of introducing the word of God to kids. The series currently includes six books.
Juanita has published three adult reader books. Two are Christian inspirational books for women entitled Winning with Christ – Finding the Victory in Every Experience and Beauty for Ashes – Transforming Testimonies for Every Woman. Her third book, Fabulous, Faithful & Free (inspirational and for women, too) is an 8-week comprehensive guide to a journey of self-discovery and reflection and comes with an in-depth workbook. (Find all of Juanita’s books here).
As if this was not enough she also decided to follow her passion for acting. Juanita grew up performing in local theater productions. She starred as one of the principal actresses in the TV series, Save My Soul, a modern-day depiction of the Biblical story of Job. She became the Executive Producer for season 2 of Save My Soul. She was the creator and eventually, the Executive Producer of the legal talk show Legal Notion, which is distributed on Facebook Watch Mommy Talk Live Channel.
Then she founded her own production company PURPOSE Productions, a non-profit that focuses on producing positive media content for women. Here, she funded her first short film, BXAUTIFUL NIGHTMARX, starred as the lead, and was the Executive Producer. She was recognized by Actors Awards in Los Angeles and awarded Best Actress with a stellar performance review. The latest short film, TABLXS, addresses bullying, diversity, and inclusion and represents deaf actors and those affected with autism.
While living for four years in the UK, Juanita auditioned and signed with an acting agency in London. In 2016, she made her feature film debut as one of the lead actresses in the film, Residential, at the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) receiving the Best Actress nomination for that work. Around the same time, Juanita created the online talk show, Inspire, which included segments on fashion, current events, and legal issues affecting women. Just to keep the party going Juanita is now acting and producing The Expats: International Ingrams. (Find it here).
As a fashion philanthropist, Juanita founded Dress for Success Greater London and Dress for Success Chattanooga (U.S.). The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
Obviously, with a list of accomplishments like these, she has become an international speaker at conferences and on radio and TV. She covers topics regarding female empowerment, beauty, fashion, legal issues, and self-worth.
And folks she is not finished there! You can look forward to season two of The Expats: International Ingrams which is currently in production. This woman is the inspiration that it is never too late to follow a passion. That even if you don’t have room for that passion at this stage in your life, a season will come when you do and when that season comes you cannot be afraid to use whatever other talents live inside you! You never know what wonderful journey it can take you on.