Versatile artist Brittany M. Baker, aka B.Marie, was always an ambitious kid.
The 20-something artist says she literally wanted to be every profession under the sun (except the president, a math teacher or a stripper, even though it takes great upper body strength to be a stripper).
When she thought she wanted to be a lawyer she invested thousands of dollars in a political science degree but still felt something telling her she was on the wrong path. Eventually, her inner artist was triumphant and now she boldly resides in the world of art.
She recently sat down with rolling out to discuss her artistic endeavors and how the strength of women inspires her.
Did you always have artistic ambitions as a child?
Most definitely. My parents got me involved in the arts very early. It started off with dance and acting classes. I performed in my first major play at the age of 4 which was The Sound of Music and I’ve been active in the arts in one capacity or another ever since.
Was there a moment that confirmed for you that you could make a living in the arts?
I knew I wanted to have a career in the arts once my parents enrolled me into the ETA Creative Arts Foundation, a performing arts school on the south side of Chicago. That built the foundation for me. I’m still trying to figure out the making a living part, [laughs].
Along with your comedic acting, you’ve made a name for yourself on the improve circuit in Chicago. What’s the most important factor in succeeding at improv?
The improv community in Chicago is full of such amazing talent of whom I could only wish to emulate. I will say the improv troupe I was involved with, The Freshmen, made some great strides particularly in the African American community. That troupe got me into comedy and changed my life for the better. I’d say the most important factor in succeeding at improv is trust and support. Trusting your partner and yourself. It’s like a successful relationship…you have to have trust and support for each other’s vision. The outcome will be great and hopefully even funny.
In what way does the strength of women influence the artistic pieces you create?
I was raised by strong women and I have been honored to see their journey and I have learned a great deal from them. Their impact has been huge on my life and that is why I believe I love to center my work around women. There is so much beauty in our stories, whether it’s good or bad. I also was raised by my amazing father and uncles but of course, as a woman myself, I’m going to take more to the women.
(B. Marie’s “Sorrowful Summer”)
How do you balance being an actress, makeup artist, and creating art?
[Laughs] I’m honestly still trying to gain that balance. It’s hard to be in love with different (but not so different) fields and giving them all the attention they deserve. Let’s just say acting is my husband and creating art (whether it’s on a face or canvas) is my fun time on the side. One day I’ll get this pimp thing down. But in all honesty its all the same…I’m still creating art.
How do you use social media to your advantage?
Our world is so driven by social media. I love it and I hate it, but its great for free promotion. You are able to reach so many people with one simple post. Instagram is my favorite because people can get a closer look at my work. It can definitely bring in business.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
Getting my MA at Columbia College Chicago. Education is very important and the program allowed me to grow as an artist. I find myself to be more fearless. Some things still scare me like standup comedy for instance. That’s a different beast but hey…you never know. I tend to surprise myself a lot.
Who and what are you inspired by?
When it comes to my art I feel like God inspires me. There are things that I believe God wants me to see and pull from. In regards to acting, I’m inspired by my peers. They are all doing such great things and I’m just honored to know them. My dad is also a great inspiration in my life. He had a very successful career as a judge and in the United States Marine Corps, and since his retirement from both of those fields he is now a working actor with a pretty impressive resume. God has surrounded me with amazingly talented people and I couldn’t be more blessed.
Any favorite affirmations?
Honestly, I don’t have one. I pray and I meditate and that seems to work for me. Keeping positive people around who also motivate me keeps me going as well.
What do you do to unwind?
Drink wine and laugh … with other people, of course.
Name a book that you recommend young professionals read?
Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist because it’s perfect for those who are trying to find their way in life. You can’t be afraid to be the person God designed you to be. You have to follow that path even though it may be hard. The reward of the career that was made for you is well worth it.
Do you have a golden rule you rely on in your business dealings?
Always give quality and keep it fabulous. That is what I would want as an consumer.
Any advice or words of wisdom for young business professionals?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s never too late to go for what you love.
What’s next for Brittany M. Baker?
I’m praying for some new major acting opportunities, a gallery of my own, and a whole lot of love. That sounds perfect to me.
Any final thoughts?
Love wholeheartedly in everything you do. That’s what I’m learning.
For more information on B. Marie or her art you can follow her on Instagram: @B_Marie_Collected or visit www.bmariecollected.com.