TAKING THE LEAP:
November 23rd, 2019
"If this is truly something you’re passionate about, don’t give up."
From Germany to the Netherlands, to New York City and now Chicago, Tamisha Arrendell, 34, has been on a long and wild ride full of adventure and stardom. Whether it’s landing a dance internship in New York City, performing with Grammy-nominated artists, modeling for Maybelline or appearing on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, her extensive history in the entertainment industry has made Tamisha an extremely valuable Director of the Chicago Performing Arts Academy.
Growing up in a military household taught her plenty of useful life-skills, but it also hindered Tamisha’s ability to explore her dreams of becoming a performer. Art and music have been running through her veins for as long as her can remember and after moving to the United States at 14, Tamisha was finally able to take the leap.
Some of Tamisha s earliest memories were of her making up dances in the mirror, but without access to the internet, social media and other tools available to today’s youth, there was only so far she could go by herself. Tamisha had expressed to her parents her interest in joining a local performing arts school, but they were hesitant and told her no. Nonetheless, she persisted and was set on proving to her parents that this was something she truly wanted.
“I’m going to do this,” she said. “With or without your help.”
Using her weekly allowance, Tamisha enrolled herself into dance school. She said that this was the defining factor towards her parents turning towards the idea of allowing her to enroll into a performing arts academy. She stayed persistent, kept her grades up and used her own allowance to show her parents that this is not only what she really wanted, but is what she deserved. At 19, her parents allowed her to join a local academy where she took dancing and acting classes.
“If this is truly something you’re passionate about, don’t give up. There are so many resources out there today that can help you, but nothing beats a classroom connection. Even though YouTube and social media is great, there’s no one there to actually tell you you’re doing it right,” says Tamisha.
“Singing and dancing is part of your body, how do you get feedback when you’re acting in a mirror? You can do so much and definitely get a head start, but you’re definitely going to have to take classes if you want to do this at a competitive level and be taken seriously in the business.”
At 21, Tamisha was admitted into a 6-month dance internship in New York City where she “danced all day, every day.” To help with the cost of living in The City, Tamisha became a wedding singer and was able to sharpen her skills as a professional performer.
Shortly after, she was signed by an agency that propelled her to land commercials for Maybelline and Pure Grown Diamonds, as well as landing on-camera roles in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Step-Up 3D. Tamisha also formed a girl-band under Sony RED Music that appeared at several festivals and performed with Grammy-nominated artists, gaining extremely valuable studio experience and allowing her to make professional connections in the music industry.
After her band parted their separate ways, Tamisha re-entered the music industry as a solo-artist and created a new music networking event. Her goal was to play independent artists’ music and interview them onstage to give them the exposure so many were desperately seeking, while educating herself as well as others. The networking event traveled around the East Coast of the United States, stopping in cities like New York City, New Orleans and most importantly: Chicago.
Following her Chicago show, Tamisha was approached by the President of Chicago Performing Arts and was offered a position as the Director of Admissions of the academy. She gladly accepted the role, excited to share her experience with students and express her passion for education, coming full circle to her humble beginnings.
Now, Tamisha has transitioned from hosting her networking event to creating a podcast and is currently reaching audiences even larger than before. Tamisha is able to utilize the Chicago Performing Arts Academy’s sound studio where she dives deep into self-awareness in the music industry, gratitude, the power of now, being present, and enhancing your mindset.
Tamisha is continuing to pursue her career in the music industry and will be releasing new music throughout 2020.
A STAR IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
August 15th, 2019
"Chicago Performing Arts helped my modeling career ... it benefits my everyday life by showing me confidence that I didn't know I had."
In April 2015, Judith Valdez came into the Chicago Performing Arts Academy studio to interview and try out for one of our Talent Directors. With hopes of being accepted, she paraded down the runway, eager for a spot in our prestigious Modeling program in order to embark on her journey as a high fashion print and runway model.
The following October, Judith graduated with a clear path, taking the necessary steps toward her career in the fashion industry. As a senior a high school, she walked the runways of local designers and did test shoots with photographers throughout the city.
Judith photographed with one of the country's top photographers, Alina Tsvor, who is known for her work with prestigious clients such as Adidas, Nike, American Express, Beats by Dre, Coach, Hilton Hotels, AT&T, and many more.
She is the prime example of what training, hard work, and most importantly, the proper support system can do! Check out Judith's editorial with Tsvor for a premiere vintage line in Chicago.