MY STORY: ANGELA RAY
BORN TO SHINE
I am Angela Ray; a daughter, an auntie, a soror, and a friend. Professionally, I am a multi-media artist working as an actress, author, speaker, and host. I am passionate about telling stories as well as helping others elevate their own voices. I have written three books; Blackberry Whispers, Rays of Motivation: 99 Tips for Staying Energized, Empowered and Encouraged to Create Success in Your Business and Life, and Megastar Student Leadership: Lessons I Learned as an Actress That Can Help You Lead, Achieve and Succeed. Personally, I am a believer who works on her relationship with God continually. I am also a die-hard Tar Heel fan, the mascot of my beloved Alma mater, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Lastly, I am a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
My most recent television project, Robbie, is the latest sitcom on Comedy Central. It premiered late spring and can now be streamed on the Comedy Central website and YouTube channel. I play “Sugar Stevens” a successful entrepreneur and author who makes a strong impression on the title character Robbie, played by Rory Scovel. The show also features the legend, Beau Bridges who I was also honored to work with on the show.
WHAT IS ONE HIGH-POINT OF YOUR LIFE?
I have been blessed to have multiple high points in my life. One of my more recent high points was my appearance in my first sitcom, Tyler Perry’s Love thy Neighbor. Prior to that show, I had always thought of myself as a dramatic actress. Ironically, it was one of my long-time friends and fellow actors who suggested I prepare something comedic for my first meeting with Mr.Perry’s in-house casting director. Shooting the show was a magical experience. From my cast mates to working with the iconic entertainment mogul who is Tyler Perry, I was on cloud nine my first day on set. Then, months later when my first episode was set to air, my scene made the commercial. For an entire week, I had friends, family, and classmates calling me, sending me messages, and looking me up on Facebook every time it aired. It literally aired no fewer than 100 times.
The day after my first episode aired, a picture from my scene was on the homepage of Oprah.com. That to me was almost as big as the appearance on the show. I knew there may be a lot of people who did not watch Love thy Neighbor, but EVERYBODY scrolls Oprah’s website. The following Sunday, I was grocery shopping after church, and someone recognized me from ONE appearance on the show.
WHAT HAS BEEN A LOW-POINT OF YOUR LIFE?
One of my lowest points was when I lost my only sister to breast cancer. She died in my arms. We knew that she had been in a lot of pain and the treatment was brutal, but it was still hard to let go. I immediately went into protection mode, mainly for my parents. I knew this was even harder for them than it was for me. I took over, planning the funeral, making sure everyone was okay, except me. After the funeral, I was running myself ragged driving back and forth home to help my parents with the estate. A couple of months later, I was depressed and didn’t realize it until someone described my behavior. As soon as I heard it all together, I knew I needed help.
After my sister died, I had another major loss coupled with my cousin dying from cancer a year after my sister. I was thankful that I already had a personal relationship with God. When I
prayed, I received guidance on what to do. One of my first steps was getting into counseling. I worked on my physical well being too. I invested heavily in personal development tapes, books, and conferences. Lastly, I made steps to really focus on my acting career. A change in my personal environment also made a big difference.
WHO WAS THE MOST INFLUENCIAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE?
My parents. I was very blessed to have a strong team cheering me on for my endeavors. They introduced me to church, prayer at home and building my relationship with God. And, their love of family influenced me to value my loved ones.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE LIFE EXPERIENCES?
It’s all temporary. Despite the pain of any situation, it’s all temporary. I remember how sad and angry I was after my sister died. Holidays were not the same. I hurt for my parents. I hurt for my niece. I hurt for myself.And then one day, though the loss was still there, I noticed a shift. It was like though we all missed her, we had adapted to a new normal. Ten years later, we are still adapting.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PRESENT OR FUTURE PROJECTS?
I relaunched my talk show online during social distancing. I used to tape it in a studio a few years ago and eventually that location was no longer available. I found a location right before the pandemic but then it was not safe to do it there. The Angela Ray Show broadcasts on my Facebook and YouTube pages simultaneously.
My latest book, Megastar Student Leadership is now on Amazon. It’s a great guide for both high school and college students and is an awesome gift as students prepare to return to the classroom.
More information is available at www.megastarleadership.com.