At YouthMundus & Inner Voice Artists, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them.
Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process.
This week, YouthMundus is beyond thrilled to announce a special edition of Artist Spotlight featuring IVA client actor-director-writer-producer extraordinaire: LaVon Wageman!
“Enjoy the ride, because it’s a crazy one!" -LaVon Wageman on advice she’d give to future artists
Born in San Diego, California, LaVon’s passion for the arts manifested itself in the form of ballet at a very young age. At San Diego Junior Theatre, the oldest youth theatre in the country, LaVonformed a strong support system of young, fellow creatives. Quickly, LaVon mastered ballet, tap, modern, jazz. As she delved further into her craft, a ballet teacher from the Junior Theatre innocently suggested LaVon audition for the musical. After some resistance, LaVon relented, auditioned, and fell in love with beauty of theatre and, predictably, with the allure of New York.
“My parents took me to see 42nd Street when I was ten, that was my first Broadway show” LaVonsaid, a reverence in her voice. “My mom let me wear my first pair of high heels,” she giggled. “It was pouring rain when we saw the show, but it didn’t matter… it was electrifying! It lit up a whole world for me!”
It was physical, dance-heavy theatrical productions like 42nd Street and The Lion King that fascinated and inspired LaVon to analyze how bodies interacted, dominated, and moved through different artistic spaces and spheres. She describes the human body as “the ultimate truth teller”, its many ticks and habits serving as intimate, subconscious glimpses into someone’s wants or needs.
LaVon’s passion for the physical aesthetics personified itself in the form of photography, and later, filmmaking. “My love for film always made sense to me, because, in a way it was always there. I always loved to bring a full picture together, and that’s what a film essentially is: it’s just a group of moving pictures.”
After attending the CAP21 program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, LaVonpursued her love of the moving picture in the land of moving pictures: Hollywood! While reflecting on her move between major cities, she explained that, “Moving to LA was the right thing for me, in a way, it taught me to love theatre and film equally.”
When asked what her biggest obstacles were as an artist, LaVon lacked any hesitation in her answer: “I had to learn as both a performer and a creative that I need to create from a place of joy.” As an artist with years of rigorous conservatory training, LaVon was exposed to various teaching styles, including ones she equated to those of J.K. Simmons’ intensely perfectionist character in Whiplash. “When it comes to acting training it’s a fine line: you have to show up, take your space, and have confidence but it needs to originate from a healthy place in order for it to ultimately work in the long term. The work we do, as actors, as performers, as creatives, its delicate, so we have to treat ourselves that way. In order to succeed you have to be confident in not only your work, but yourself."
LaVon stressed the importance of generating quality work through genuine human connection. Be it present in her stand-up set, her short films, or the sketches she does on her YouTube channel, the most rewarding aspect of her role as an artist is when she shifts her audience's point of view. In LaVon’s feminist film, Touché, the protagonist, Ella, navigates the complexities of a “sugar baby” relationship, including struggling with the personal quandary of identifying as an empowered and independent woman while simultaneously getting everything paid for by a man. “Actually,” LaVon said wryly, “I was insipred to write Touché by people I met after I graduated college."
We asked LaVon if any real-life events had inspired her to create any of her most recent works, and she pointed immediately to her upcoming sketch Millenials Aren’t Having Babies: “It's an ensemble comedy piece about the suffocating pressure that our generation has faced from previous ones about having children."
“Morally, as an artist, I want to tell stories to promote understanding, kindness, and compassion,” the positivity in her voice was infectious, and after years of working within such a strenuous industry, we asked if it was her secret to resilience. “Acting isn’t like any other job. You make it what it is. As a creative, curious person who deeply values education, the nature of an acting career has been challenging in all aspects.” LaVon laughed to herself, “Acting isn't just a sprint, it’s an Ironman Triathlon!”
Keep an eye out for LaVon’s sketch, Millenials Aren’t Having Babies, which is scheduled to be released in the Spring!
LaVon’s new dark comedy, Roleplay explores the nuances of a couple’s first exploration into roleplay and the downward spiral they face when things go terribly wrong. Make sure to catch its release on April 1st!
Check out LaVon’s upcoming stand-up comedy show with the LA-based comedy group “Pretty, Funny Women” at 7:30 PM at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank!
Follow LaVon’s Instagram!
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Thank you for your continuous support and love,
Lots of love,