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Seeing More of Maura: How This Girl Boss Created Her Own Creative Agency & is Rocking all the Hats

"My outlook on life has always been so positive that I don’t see many things as trials."

"My name is Maura Chanz (@maurachanz across social media), I grew up between Chicago and LA, and currently reside in LA. I am a creative for self and hire: writing, producing, and designing under my name, Maura Chanz. Additionally, I have a t-shirt line, By Chanz and am the founder of YouNeedTRIBE, a community dedicated to reigniting tribal community amongst women of color."

"Following my heart inspired me to do what I’m doing now. I began my career at the age of 13 as a professional actress. I took a “hiatus” from the entertainment industry and went to college. It was while at Spelman College (’12-’15) that I began learning other facets of entertainment (PR, Marketing/Advertising, production, and more) via internships. Upon graduation, I didn’t have a desire to return to acting and I knew without a doubt I didn’t want to 'work' for anyone."

"I opened a creative agency and began putting myself and my work out there. Although we began slow, I garnered clients such as Mannie Fresh, Live Nation, and The Vibe Ride, to name a few.  Around this time (early ’16), I was “discovered” by Janee Bolden, who was Managing Editor of Bossip. She asked me to audition to host a daily digital series and I would have my return to television after that digital series became Bossip on WEtv in the summer of 2017. While on-assignment at Essence festival in 2017, I reconnected with famed-producer, Mara Brock Akil (also known for Girlfriends, The Game, Love Is___, etc.) and caught her up in my life. Remembering my background and love for entertainment, she mentioned an opportunity to be her apprentice while serving as a personal/creative/executive assistant. I applied for the job and in September of 2017 I relocated back to Los Angeles."

"While with AKIL Productions, I worked heavily on the pre-production of Love Is___. After my leave in early 2018, doors started opening. I was booked as the 3-day host for ATT’s activation at BET Experience, began working with Jesse Williams and his team on his apps Blebrity and Ebroji, and took a part time position as a creative assistant and associate producer for my mentor, Tai Beauchamp, where I have associated produced activations at the 2017 Essence Fest. When I’m not wearing one of those hats, I was writing and developing my own projects. All of my accomplishments form my early days as a commercial actress to most recently assistant producing at Essence and everything in between are valued. Every accomplishment has been a domino into the next valued accomplishment."

"My outlook on life has always been so positive that I don’t see many things as trials. If I had to speak on trial I’ve been through, it’s been overcoming impostor syndrome. Starting a career at the age I did and really doing incredible work at a young age, all eyes have been on me for so long. 'Am I as good as they say I am? Am I really a little Oprah, Mara, Issa?', these are the questions I have been asking myself for so long which has stifled me as a creative, sometimes even disabling me from being able to release projects for fear of how they’d compare to my older work. In addition to that mental trial, I also have displaced patellar syndrome (aka my knee caps often dislocate). Since discovering the syndrome in 2015, I have had lapses of excruciating pain disabling me from really being active and sometimes even daily functions."

"I’m letting my journey unfold. I AM hard at work, developing my first show with a phenomenal executive producer. That’s my current focus and slinging this creative work to support myself. Additionally, I have been rebranding and restructuring YouNeedTRIBE for a large return."

"If people are looking to be successful in my industry, I recommend doing three things:

1. Build their network to the best of their abilities

2. Study various avenues so you can hone your passion (there’s sooo much to do as a creative, especially in entertainment)

3. Always create. When you’re working for others, it can be hard to get your own ideas out, but never never stop creating – that separates those who have just worked in the industry from those who have gained real success.

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