Today we’d like to introduce you to TaKiyah Wallace.
TaKiyah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My career traces a path like a connect-the-dots game, you can follow the lines between a Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Liberal Arts into a fifteen-year career as a gifted and talented educator.
I’ve given up saying no to ideas, so when my daughter was born, I didn’t hesitate when I started playing with the camera. Eight years later, I’m traveling around Texas as a photographer for cool kids and families as Some Sweet Photography.
When my daughter turned three, she wanted to be a ballerina. When she began to look around to find role models that looked like her, we realized there were few around. Curiosity peaked again, and I picked up my camera and started searching for what I knew had to be the many incredible dancers of color across the country. 2017 celebrates the third year of the non-profit Brown Girls Do®, our solution to this need, with dozens of scholarships for classes and intensives awarded thus far, and a growing ambassador program with exemplary, talented women developing a tight-knit community through mentorship and leadership programming.
Built through dynamic experience, my company 86 Consulting is the result of matching this desire to action through coaching and strategy services. As a teacher who didn’t want to let go of her day dream, my work with two blossoming movements that celebrate the beauty of diversity has led my desire to match people with their passions that better their community.
In 2017, things grew even more with the birth of Trilogee Foods our family owned and operated restaurant business that houses our fast food concept Daddy Mac’s Chicken in Oak Cliff and a 2nd concept cafe that will debut in 2018.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been many struggles but the one that jumps out to me first is the learning curve of industries that I’ve chosen (or rather the industries that chose me) to work in themselves. When I began the Brown Girls Do Ballet Photo Project (now Brown Girls Do Inc.) as a photographer, I knew nothing about ballet. I had to study and immerse myself in a world utterly foreign to me. I find myself going through the same thing now with Trilogee Foods. The restaurant business is not for the weak, and you practically have to live in the brick and mortar to keep things together. These things were all new to me. Even when you feel as though you’ve gained enough insight to be successful, trends change, people change, the market turns, and you have to regroup and relearn during these struggles.
Some Sweet Photography and Brown Girls Do Ballet – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I launched Some Sweet Photo in 2009. Some Sweet Photo is my Dallas lifestyle and portrait photography company for kids, tweens/teens, and the families. In 2013 I took on a personal photography project in an effort to highlight girls of Hispanic, African, Asian, East Indian, and Native American ancestry in Ballet programs that I decided to call Brown Girls Do Ballet. The tiny photography project went viral and has now grown to be so much more than ballet images. The mission of Brown Girls Do Ballet® (now Brown Girls Do Inc.) Brown Girls Do Inc. is a registered not-for-profit 501c3 dedicated to promoting diversity in the arts by providing annual scholarships, a mentor network, and community programs to empower young girls.
I am especially proud of Brown Girls Do® because it was truly created (by accident) with and from the heart. The arts, kids, and education are all very important to me and being able get combine so many of my individual interests into one organization that directly impacts young people is perfect for someone like me.
Everything I do, every job I have, every business I start is created and crafted with legacy in mind. What do I want to leave behind? What do I want to leave for my own children, and how can I impact yours?
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Great question. This is it. Being acknowledged by people “at home”. I can say my work has been featured in many major press outlets around the world but to me, there’s nothing better than having the people close to you say “good job!”
- Website: somesweetphoto.com, browngirlsdoballet.com
- Phone: 2143029603
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: somesweetphoto
- Facebook: facebook.com/somesweetphoto
- Twitter: @somesweetphoto
- Other: browngirlsdoballet.com
Image credits: TaKiyah Wallace (all ballet shots) Esther Huynh (rasied in Fort Worth and Horizontal shot at table with camera) Keda Sharber (girls with backbacks) Angelica Johnson (image of photographer on the ground with dancers in the distance) OJoy Photo: images of fundraiser event