In the film Hollywood Chaos, Vanessa Simmons plays a celebrity reporter who has to decide between divulging the secrets of her famous friends or advancing her career.

In real life, Simmons had to make a personal sacrifice to follow her dreams by moving from the comforts of the East Coast to relocate to California. While honing her skills as an actress, Simmons also became a mother.

During a recent interview with rolling out, Simmons discussed her new film Hollywood Chaos, motherhood, and unplugging from social media.

What intrigued you most about the film, Hollywood Chaos?

I really liked the message. My character is a very nice girl who has worked really hard and has [had] little progress over the years and she’s tempted with an opportunity to expose her Hollywood friends for a promotion. She takes it. What I thought was really cool about this script was the message because when you’re working toward your dream, it’s just a fact that everything is not going to always work out the way that you planned. But I think that the key is to keep going and getting better and keep pushing until you get better. You can make it happen. You don’t necessarily have to sell out. I can definitely relate to Alexis in a lot of those ways in my own life, but the key for me is to just keep going and learning and growing and getting better, without the temptation of selling out or having to take the low road. I think that in life, you should always take the high road as much as you can and that’s really what I took away from the script.

How challenging was it to relocate from New York to California?

It was difficult leaving all of my friends and family behind. For 22 years, that was my safe haven. That was my home. It was definitely an adjustment moving here without knowing anyone. I had my sister in the beginning, but after a few years, she was like “you know what Vanessa I’m out. I’m going back to New York where we grew up.” So it’s just me here. It’s really scary, but it’s definitely a challenge that I had been looking forward to doing my whole life. But it wasn’t easy. I’ve run into a lot of challenges over the years being so far away from my family. Just recently, I had a baby and it’s wonderful and she’s honestly the best thing that could have ever happened to me. But it’s hard not being so close to my family. That’s definitely the biggest adjustment just leaving that safe haven and being in a completely new place and starting over.

What have you learned most about yourself after experiencing motherhood?

Take it day by day. For me, when I was just turning 30 years old, I still felt like such a little girl inside. My child has definitely allowed me to grow more. It’s just been an awesome experience for me. She is a little miracle in my life and she’s come along and helped me restore faith in myself and confidence in myself. She [teaches me] something new every day. Which is not something that I expected when having a baby. I didn’t expect for her to come along and teach me things, but she did.

How have you been able to balance motherhood and your dreams of performing as an actress?

It’s definitely a huge balancing act and takes organization. But my daughter comes first in all of it. When I put her first, everything else is allowed to flow. I’m more organized than I have ever been. That spills over into my professional life as well. It’s most important for me to keep her at the top of the pyramid and let everything else happen as it may.

You decided to unplug from social media for a while. You’re back now, but why was it important for you to pause from Instagram and Twitter?

I did leave for a little while. I was gone for a little personal journey and was finding myself. Like I said, moving and being out of my safe haven for so long did take a toll on me over the years. So I did delete all of my social media accounts a few years ago. But I am back now. There are some times when I’ll be all up in my Instagram, scrolling through my timeline for way too long. Then I’ll be like, “Vanessa, you have to chill like what is this?” I do think that sometimes we do need to take a breather and unplug from all of that Internet overload and kind of enjoy the simple things that we used to enjoy growing up before there was social media. Try to go to a dinner and not pick up your phone. Regular human interaction is good for the soul and stimulation for your mind. I think it can definitely be healthy just to disconnect for a bit.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.