Teen Movie Producer Leah Johnson: From Small Town to Big Screen
Current project: I am working on Torn as a producer, and also being the actress, model, singer [and] writer that I am, I am creating opportunities for myself. I believe in this quote from my mentor, Mel Jackson, “Create, don’t wait.” I am also in the process of preparing for summer acting camp with Blueprint Acting Studios. I will be producing and starring in the feature film that we are shooting.
What drew you to this project?
I have been mentored by Sharon [Tomlinson, Studio 11 Films] and Mel going on a few years now. I can remember when they first introduced the idea. It was very ambitious, and me being an ambitious person, I had to be a part of it. I was so excited about being in the 11Eleven11 Project I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was intimidated about being the youngest producer in the project at first, but I embraced that title, and here I am almost a graduate from the program.
Where you were born and raised:
I was born and raised in Newnan, Ga. Lots of people tease me about being from there, but I’m proud to say that I am.
Libra. My birthday is Oct. 22. I’m right on the cusp between Libra and Scorpio.
What do you hope viewers walk away with after seeing this project?
I hope that they walk away better than they came, and that they realize that love can make you do some crazy things, even under the worst circumstances.
Who are your personal idols in the industry?
My inspiration in this industry is LisaRaye McCoy. She’s talented in so many ways, and did I mention that she’s drop-dead gorgeous? I love to watch her performances on “Single Ladies” and to look at photos of her modeling career. She also inspired me to want to learn how to direct. I was skeptical about it at first, but after watching her do it, I was all for it. My other idol is Mel Jackson, who’s like a father to me. I love to work with him on anything. Any time spent with him is a learning opportunity. We also love to go to Benihana for special occasions.
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Alicia Keys. I’ve loved her since I was a baby.
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I would have to say The Twilight Series. I’m a little obsessed with it, and it got so bad that at one point I wanted to be a vampire … but of course a good one.
What’s on your music playlist?
I like listen to all types of music. My playlist includes Adele, Beyoncé, Miguel, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Usher, Keri Hilson, Monica, Nicki Minaj, Elle Varner, Drake, and Jennifer Hudson.
MAC or PC?
PC … but MAC is growing on me.
Worst job you ever had:
Well being that I’m only 13-years-old, I haven’t quite experienced that yet. And hope that I never have to.
Three things you can’t live without:
Love, which I also consider God, my parents and art
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Box Office Mojo
Last book you read:
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Last good movie you saw:
Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I love the story and also the comedic moments.
Some films you consider classics:
Of course, they’re The Color Purple, The Lion King and A Little Princess, which is my all-time favorite.
Favorite screen or commercial opportunities:
My favorite screen opportunity was a short film called Funny How Things Happen, where I played a 13-year-old girl named Trinity, who had to face her fear of people caused by an embarrassing incident from cyber bullying. My favorite commercial that I’ve done was a Disney commercial. I walked around Disney World and ride Splash Mountain three times in a row, without having to wait in line. It was tons of fun.
I have been in this industry going on three years now, and over the course of those three years, I’ve done short films, feature films, stage plays, commercials, photo shoots, etc. My most recent short film was Blank Stage Productions’ Cardboard Castles, which won the Award of Merit from The Indie Fest Competition.