At this years American Black Film Festival, Kimberly Young took home the award for the Best Web Original for Two Self Help Books Away From Being Perfect. She wrote, executive produced, and stars in the series as a young woman living in New York hoping to find love through the direction of self-help books. She partnered up with director Lopez Williams for the series who in which she co-produced the 2014 thriller short film The Vapor.
In real life, Young isn’t enlisting books to lead her to her destiny, but instead finding strength and power in creating her own opportunities. As a former New York University drama student and student at the Upright Citizens Brigade, she continues to stay motivated in her work. She does this by remembering her journey and the reason behind why she loves doing what she does.
Two Self Help Books Away From Being Perfect also stars DJ Cipha Sounds, Carmen Lynch, Nate Gill, Sharron Paul, Jared Prudoff-Smith, Jourdan Guyton, Lauren Besser, Gibran Saleem, Godfrey Taylor, Jr., and Sue Berch.
“A lot of times people will ask, ‘Do you have what it takes? Is this something you really want to do? You sure there’s isn’t something else you want to do?’ And there’s absolutely nothing else. This is it . . .that’s what pushes me.”
BGW: So what is it that made you want to be in this business? To work in this business?
KY: As a young person I’ve always had an affinity towards performing. I always loved singing, dancing, and acting. I’m originally from Los Angeles, but I always wanted to live in New York. So I applied to NYU, I got in, and I went to the Tisch School of the Arts for Drama. And once I graduated I was able to see how this industry really is. You know people will tell you, “It’s hard! It’s hard!” And I’m like, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I know it’s hard. I’m prepared. Starving artist. Okay!” But once I graduated and was pursuing it, it was extremely hard. Hard to get an audition. Hard to get an agent. Just getting off the ground was extremely hard and at some point I realized that I need to create my own opportunities. And that’s how I went from acting to writing to producing.
BGW: So your character in the series thinks that self-help books are her key to finding love, but what do you think the key is if there is one?
KY: The key to finding love is loving yourself. Once you accept who you are and everything about you. Your flaws and all. And you accept them instead of trying to change them, trying to fix them, or trying to improve them. When you accept them, that’s when you’ll meet the right person who can accept them as well. Because sometimes when your chasing something you could meet someone that loves and accepts you for who you are, but because you’re not ready to accept it you are blind to that persons love or you are resistant to it because its like, “Uh! Why does this person like me?” You know? And when you are able to look in the mirror and look inside yourself and feel good about who you are you can accept it when other people can love you for you are as well.
“people can’t see your vision . . .and no one’s going to give you the permission or the pat on the back to go for it. You have to go for it. You have to believe in yourself and you’re going to have to push and stay committed to making it happen.”
BGW: Okay so if you were to read a self-help book what would it be about? Like what kind of self-help books would you need to be two self-help books away from being perfect?
KY: Funny I was looking online like just looking at lists because sometimes they have these lists of 10 best self-help books and I’m always looking at them. I haven’t read this one yet, but its by Shonda Rhimes and I think it’s called like Yes I Am or something like that. Like where I’m at right now I would say books that talk about standing and owning who you are. That would be the self-help section that I’m in right now.
Photo By: Karston “Skinny” Tannis