Level up, V1

Get in BossMode with actress Pepi Sonuga

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  • Who: Peppi Sonuga
  • What: Actress
  • Where: Instagram / Twitter
  • About: Nigerian-American actress Pepi Sonuga has moved mountains, or countries, to do what she loves. Actor, singer, and dancer, Sonuga loves to perform. Although a newcomer in the industry, she can be seen on Freeform's popular drama, "Famous in Love" portraying pop star Tangey Turner.
  • Styling – Chris Horan
  • Make-up – Paul Blanch
  • Hair – Alexander Armand
My motto is “let my work speak for itself.”
— Pepi

It really does take a long time to become an overnight success

That’s important to know for anyone who has any kind of dream. There have been many moments through my journey where I felt discouraged, crazy, and wanted to give up. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. When I began in the industry, my worries changed, but I still persisted. You worry if you’re talented enough, if you’re pretty enough, or if you’re too pretty and should rough up a bit if you’re smart enough… there’s so much to worry about if you let yourself. What helps me keep fighting is reminding myself of how far I’ve come. I always tell myself “you haven’t come this far only to go this far.” I’m also aware of how different each of our paths can be, and I try never to compare myself to the next person. What is meant for me can never be taken away from me and I believe that with all my heart. In general, I’ve learned that there will always be a new set of problems. You’re either praying for your first audition to come, or for your show to get picked up to series, or your multi-million dollar budget movie to be a box office hit. As soon as you reach a new level, the bar just keeps getting higher, so I figure it’s easier to just enjoy the ride.

My motto is “let my work speak for itself.” I believe if you show up on time, give it your best shot, put your heart out there for the role, are polite, attempt to be an anchor on set for the crew, and try to have some fun… you can never go wrong. Everyone likes working with their friends, so just become someone that people like being around. This art is a personal one, but the business is a very social one. I’m not saying to make yourself uncomfortable in order to mingle (some of the most brilliant artists were introverts), but instead be a positive and collaborative addition to any environment you find yourself in.

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When life hands you lemons, get into BOSSMODE. Life obstacles can weigh heavy on your mental and physical wellbeing. How do you stay uplifted, motivated or even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness?

Daydreaming is the biggest thing that keeps me motivated. A daydream is like saying a prayer, meditating, and watching a film about your future... all at once. It’s entirely spiritual if we’re being honest. When I feel down, what gets me up are glimpses into my future. I made a vision board that’s divided into 3 sections: the life I want regarding my career, the life I want personally, and some vague ideas of who I want to be after 50yrs old. It’s filled with photos of Oprah, fancy old Hollywood parties, films I wish I were in, charities I want to start, Beyonce (of course), dream houses, travel destinations, Rihanna magazine covers (of course), and various African superstars. Whenever I start to lose a sense of myself and the reasons I do what I do, I just look at this board, and it’s an instant mood booster. Also, it sounds silly, but when I feel deficient, on my saddest day, the only thing that makes me feel better is watching a cartoon or an animated film, preferably one with a female lead who fights against the odds to achieve her dreams: Mulan, Zootopia, etc. It might seem immature, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over cartoons; they’re so inspiring… why are they only for kids?! Adults need to stay motivated too! We should also believe anything is possible! That message shouldn’t be exclusive to children! shaking my head

It's important for young kids to have vision and hope. A child has to be able to envision a world bigger and brighter than the one they currently live in. That’s what made my childhood so colorful. I saw the world as my playground even before I had ever left my home… each country an experience waiting to happen. People say “stop dreaming” and "stay on the ground, be realistic.” But sometimes dreaming saves you. You must never stop dreaming about your better future. Hold onto that image tightly and never let anyone take it away. That will get you through hard days. Just remember to put in the work after you’ve woken up because a dream without action will remain just a dream.