May 27, 2016

Living NAOMI: Not Afraid Of My Imperfections

Photo by Uh-Droit Photography

By Mike Orie of

Think of your biggest fear or insecurity. Take a deep breathe. Now imagine what it might take to not only embrace it, but to in fact proactively work towards overcoming it. This is what Stacy Ike is working on. She calls it, “Living N.A.O.M.I.” N.A.O.M.I. is an acronym for not afraid of my imperfections.  It’s an idea that she embraced several years back, but recently decided to re launch through her blog after overcoming a tough stint in LA.

The 25-year old Houston native relocated to LA to pursue her dreams as a host and actress. “I believe, everyone on this earth has a God-given purpose, and I also believe God doesn’t make mistakes. That said, all of those “imperfections” we try and perfect are actually what make us qualified for greatness.” But LA proves to be a difficult and lonesome environment for many African Americans pursuing careers in the entertainment industry. Earlier this month, she hosted a re launch brunch for her website titled “Mirror Mirror.” And while I caught the very tail end of it, I heard enough to resonate with her thoughts. The struggle to find a strong community of people pursuing similar goals was something that Ike and I both shared in common.  This is probably what made the intimate event so successful. Of the group of 18 women, many of them shared personal stories of their own. I, the lone male, along with my frat brother who served as the events photographer and her publicist, had the rare opportunity to hear women share their honest, vulnerable thoughts about success. It allowed me the ability, to even if just temporarily, breathe a sigh of relief, knowing everything would be alright in due time. I believe Ike to be a young influencer in the making. These days, it’s not always just about how many people you’re reaching, but about how you make people feel when they’re around you.  At one point though, Ike had the potential to live a complacent live that many of us are all too familiar with.  

College days swiftly pass, and before you’ve got it all figured out, you find yourself back where you started, home. “I knew eventually I would move to LA but I didn't have things together yet so I came home to TX after moving back from Australia,” says Ike. Sometimes though, moving back home can provide good opportunities. But opportunities will often prove unfulfilling if it doesn’t align with your purpose. “I started working at a retail store I previously worked at in high school because there was already a good relationship there. After a few months, my boss offered me a promotion and instead of being happy, I went to Barnes and Noble in front of the performing arts section and cried!” It was at this moment that Ike realized that this wasn’t the dream she once saw for herself. Her degree in Broadcast Journalism from Mizzou would go to waste if she didn’t do something, and fast. “I called my parents and told them I had to quit and a few days later I put in my notice. My heart was in LA.”

Too many times, we tell ourselves that we have to maintain this sort of a façade. A façade that doesn’t allow us to openly express our challenges, embrace our fears.  Stacy Ike is very open about it, and that is what she would describe as “living N.A.O.M.I.” It was through our exchange for this interview that I realized we have something very important in common, our biggest fear. “My biggest fear is not fulfilling my God-given destiny and potential. It literally haunts me sometimes. Why? Because I have experienced how crippling fear can be,” says Ike.  Her website, will serve as an encouraging and uplifting space for fellow dreams. As seasoned African American journalists and actresses began to pass the torch over the next few years to developing talent like Stacy Ike, I’m confident. I’m confident not only in her ability to represent Black millennials in the proper light, but succeed at achieving that dream we all have, the intersection of passion and purpose. Tune into the journey, because Stacy Ike is going places, and if you’ve ever once doubted yourself, you too can certainly relate.

Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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