Bette Davis, Lynn Whitfield, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eartha Kitt. These were my role models as a young girl growing up on the Southside of Chicago. Ever since then, they have remained women whom I aspire to be like. Since I was a little girl, I have loved to perform and entertain. I began with storytelling and improv as a child; I would go around making up stories and then perform them for my family. My grandmother gave me the nickname, “Little Bette Davis,” because I was so dramatic. As a kid, I took acting classes all over the city and when it was time to go to high school, I knew what school I would attend. I attended the Chicago High School for the Arts and majored in theater. You see, I’ve known my passion since the age of 6 and I have been setting goals for myself since the age of 13. If that’s not determination, then I don’t know what is.
After four amazing years of being surrounded by talent and cultivating my own creativity, I entered the real world of boring college. I was told that studying theater in college was a waste of thousands of dollars and I AGREED, so I chose to attend community college while also attending the renowned Second City Chicago. My decision allowed me to work on two different forms of education: the general one that I did not care about and theater, which is my passion. When I graduated from Second City’s improv program, I felt lost and afraid because I did not know what the hell was next for my life. I had not secured any opportunities that would take my acting career to the next level, so I fell into a depression that ultimately stole my confidence. Not knowing what the heck to do with my life, I transferred from community college to the University of Illinois. I had no idea what I wanted to major in (go figure), so I thought to myself what am I good at? The answer came to me quickly- storytelling! This realization brought me to my current position, as I am currently studying journalism and will be graduating in the spring. THANK YA JESUS!
Being a college student has been the most challenging experience of my life. In the world of journalism, it is essential to complete internships in order to secure the bag after graduation. Every fall and spring I would apply to over 20 internships and I would not hear a darn thing back! I told myself this summer that I would not be working in anybody’s restaurant serving folk that’s rude to me! It was not until this summer that I secured not one, not two, but THREE amazing experiences that would change my life. I was a Video Production Intern at 247HH, a digital entertainment company, a Promotions Contractor at ESPN 1000 Chicago, and the Arts and Culture Editor at Free Spirit Media. On top of all that, I continued my education at Second City with acting classes. The moral of the story is that when your plan A does not work, come up with a B, C, D, AND AN E! Goal set, write down what you want, and strategize to make that ish come to life. I worked 7 days a week this summer and I am currently traveling from state to state pursuing my passions because that’s what I live for. Last week, ya girl spoke on a panel with Free Spirit Media at the Connected Learning Summit held at the University of California Irvine. No one will ever be able to say that Armani Baker did not try. Even when I hit a point in my life where things just weren’t happening, I could still dream. As college comes to a close, I am getting ready to step into the nerve wracking transition of graduating from college. However, I know that I will always find a way to fulfill my passion, because of my vision for my life.
If you can see your vision, then why aren’t you working hard for it? A dream won’t come true without action. That’s it, and that’s all.
Written and Lived by Armani Rekea Baker
October 23rd, 2019
Want more from Armani? Find her one her website as well as social media!