Born: September 4, 1978, in Tacoma, Washington — I’m a Beyoncé Virgo; only those born on her day get that title.
Educational Background: Film degree from Howard University
Current Computer/Mobile Device: All Apple. I love the iPhone 6S and my MacBook Air.
What do you do for a living?
I am a content creator. I create short and long-form content for film, digital, mobile and TV. What I do that pays the bills is an unscripted (reality) TV producer. I am currently producing a show for Bravo presently called Mexican Dynasties. When I’m not producing compelling fights between reality stars, I write and produce and pitch my scripted and unscripted projects.
What do you love about your work?
I love being creative.
What was your childhood dream?
I wanted to be a writer before I knew what that even meant or that you could make money from writing. I won writing contests at school, and I still have notes I wrote to my mom and friends when I was in elementary school.
How do you keep track of what you’ve done?
I don’t, but I need to. Sometimes I look on IMDb or just read my old journal, and I’m like ‘Oh damn; I forgot about that.’ I want to create a journal starting from birth to my current age (40), remembering everything that happened in the world or that I did that year, month by month, because sometimes we get so busy we don’t even document our history. Journaling is something I want to do to keep track of my successes, failures and even conversations.
How does it feel to be 40?
It feels good to make it to 40! Like what a ride. I feel grown and know myself more than ever. The day you turn 40, you feel like no one can fuck with you or say you don’t have any experience or try to discount you because of your age. I hate that it’s harder to lose belly fat, though.
What movie(s) made the biggest impact on you?
School Daze, Kids, All About Eve. and The Color Purple.
When you make sacrifices for your work, do you tell people or keep it to yourself?
When I make sacrifices, I usually keep it to myself – mostly. I will sometimes do a humble brag on Instagram or Facebook.
With whom do you most want to collaborate?
Larry Clark (director of Kids), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Todrick Hall and Beyoncé!
What do you do to recharge yourself?
I like to hike and hang with my friends. A nice date night with a friend reenergizes me to the fullest. I am lucky to have people around me that I love.
Who do you most admire in your field?
Charles King is the person I admire most. He is the founder of MACRO and is a genius creative and businessman.
What has been your biggest disappointment in life, and how did you handle it?
My biggest disappointment in life has to be not going to my father’s funeral; I’m still handling that.
Why didn’t you go to your father’s funeral?
I never had a stable relationship with my dad since he divorced my mom, and I thought I’d resolved all the resentment I held for him by claiming he was already mentally dead to me. But when he died and my sisters told me that he kept asking for me on his deathbed, I witnessed humanity in him for the first time.
What is your most significant accomplishment?
My most significant accomplishment has been writing and producing my first web series, Love Handles (along with the dope Crystle Roberson). Maaaaan, creating something from scratch – from script to screen – is a beast! The only thing that gets you up every day is pure passion and drive. It was the most exhausting and also the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done. It has paid off because now that series is being developed as a TV show. Also, registering for classes at Howard in 1996. That’s a close second accomplishment.
What are your favorite apps/tools that help you do what you do?
Tinder and Google Maps! I also love Google Drive and Dropbox, anything to transfer files. And, of course, Final Draft. My alarms are important, too. I set an alarm for every meeting and phone call; it works better than a calendar event.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
I would have to say my mom, Carolyn Mack. She’s always been my biggest cheerleader and encourages and believes in me more than I deserve. She has read every script that I’ve written, and she gives the best feedback. My mom also moved to Los Angeles seven years ago to become a filmmaker at like 60 years old. She reminds me that it’s never too late to dream.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I suffer from social anxiety, which is tough when you’re a filmmaker. I have to do a lot of work to go to an event or group setting with a bunch of strangers or even associates. Breaking out into sweats is never cute. I have gotten dressed, driven to an event and sat in my car the whole time trying to convince myself to go inside, never entering and returning home to watch Netflix. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a while, but I’m learning to manage through meditation and different techniques to get out of my head. It’s funny; when I attend a function, people are always surprised to see me: “You never go out!” If they only knew. Also, weed helps A LOT!
What do you feel your impact is on those around you? What would you like it to be?
I feel my impact is my hustle. You will always see me working on something and taking every moment to create. I think people see that and are inspired by my work ethic. I would like my impact to be more about how people feel when they are around me. There’s a famous quote that says, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” I keep that in my mind a lot. I want to walk away from all interactions and have people feel better about themselves, although that’s especially hard to do in LA!
For what are you most grateful?
I am most grateful for favor. Man, throughout my journey in life, in LA and even in D.C. as a film student at Howard University, favor with other people has been the main thing to keep me alive, employed and surrounded by great people. Favor is also something you have to earn, which means you also have to be a good-spirited person.
What inspires you?
Chocolate! You ever want me to go somewhere or hangout or be more productive? Have chocolate around at all times, and you’ll see me there. Besides food, I’m inspired by creativity in all forms. When I see something out of the box, against the grain, abnormal — I get inspired.
Who is your favorite person to follow on social media?
I love Joy Reid. Especially when she’s reiding folks! (See what I did there?)
What scares you most?
The fear of not having a place to sleep at night, or not knowing from where your next meal is coming. That scares me the most because there was a time growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I had to ask myself that on a regular basis. If you’ve ever been homeless and hungry like I have been several times in my childhood and adulthood, that fear is always in the back of your head. But it makes me hustle extra hard and always have a plan B, C and D. Because I never want to go back to those times in my life ever again.
What do you love most about yourself?
I love that I can make people laugh. I get so much joy out of it.
What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?
What’s the next big step you need to take?
I just finished writing, directing and producing my web series Poz Roz, so putting that out into the universe is a huge step for me.
What piece of literature has influenced you the most?
I’m torn between Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Conde and Makes Me Wanna Holla by Nathan McCall. Both I’ve read multiple times and get a new perspective every time.
What are you currently reading or is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I am currently reading June Gemini by Kofa Boyah.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve read online recently?
I recently read an article that Trump most likely won’t make it through his full term without being impeached. I’m hoping that is true.
In conversation do you tend to talk or listen more?
I talk a lot because it helps me calm down when the anxiety kicks in. But I am learning to listen more. It’s amazing what I learn when I STFU.
What are you looking for when you have a conversation with someone? What topics do you want to discuss?
I love pop culture and politics. I could talk about filmmaking and pop culture all day, and I love to discuss politics, but it has to be some hand clapping, some yelling and screaming, a few reads, some shade throwing, and at the end of the day laughter. I like my conversations to be a mix of ratchet and education.
If you were guaranteed honest answers to two questions, what would you ask and to whom?
“What are my greatest character flaws.” I would ask my mother that because she’s known me the longest. And “Why did we stop being friends?” I’m not putting their name on here, though; you know who you are.
Where is your favorite place?
Whole Foods Downtown Los Angeles.
Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a while? If so, what is it and why haven’t you?
Traveling around Africa. My friend Kim Williams described to me her recent African excursion, and I have been dreaming of doing it for a long time now. I haven’t done it yet because I’ve been waiting for travel buddies who want to go with me or at least a boyfriend that wants to travel. It looks like I’m going to have to go alone at this point.
If you could take a one month trip anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go and what would you do?
Oh, this feeds into my last answer. Africa. Specifically South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Morrocco, and other African countries I can squeeze in.
Do you have a favorite restaurant? If so, what is it?
My favorite restaurant in LA is Bottega Louie.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Chocolate. Anything chocolate.
What is your favorite food to prepare?
Y’all don’t judge me, but I don’t cook at all. But I love making eggs and cheese with English muffins. My favorite food to eat is lasagna, so if you’re out there and can make a bomb lasagna, let’s get married.
What is a song, album or playlist that everyone should hear?
Everyone should hear Cardi B’s album and anything by 6lack.
When is the last time you cried and why?
The last time I cried was — fuuuuck. I can’t remember. Oh yeah, there was a breakup that made me cry a few years ago. I rarely cry, though. Most of the time movies or music will make me cry. Put on early Mariah and tears will flow. One song that is guaranteed to make me cry, and I don’t even know why is BeBe Winans “In Harm’s Way.” Oh, and Brian McKnight’s “One Last Cry” and Mariah Carey’s “Vanishing.”
What is happiness to you?
Happiness, to me, is waking up every morning, inspired by life, regardless of my circumstances.
Do you have a mantra or quote that guides your life?
“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
Tell more people you love them before you lose them.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
Patience! The greatest lesson as a filmmaker is patience and to learn to keep moving and let things go. I used to be in such a hurry to succeed and be successful, and now I’ve learned to be patient and not rush the process. I ran into Ava DuVernay at another favorite spot of mine, the 101 Cafe in Hollywood. I remember congratulating her on her successes, and she said something super profound to me; she was like, “It’s just my season. You will get yours, too.” Being patient keeps my blood pressure down, and I am learning to live in the NOW and be grateful for my present season.
What is the most recent dream you remember having while sleeping?
I’ve been dreaming about cats and squirrels chasing me and biting the fuck out of me since I was a kid, and that dream comes to me on a regular basis even as an adult. So I’m sure that’s the last one I had; I need to find out what it means.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who is a disruptor, a creative genius, and a great kisser.
Who would you like to answer these questions?
I would love for Crystle Roberson, Aundrea Posey, and Kofa Boyah to answer these questions. Oh, and Janet Jackson. In that order!
Connect with Carlton Jordan
Visit Carlton Jordan’s website.