Your Personal Board of Directors: Mentors | Why You Need Them & How To Get Them [heragenda]

When on the career path, typically the magic word is internship, but the true magic word is mentorship. Getting a mentor opens you up to a world of experiences, valuable advice, and countless opportunties for growth. He or she is someone you touch base with when a major decision arises, or when inspiration for a new idea comes upon you and you’re unsure of what the next step is. He or she is often where you want to be when you get older–either personally or professionally. And, ideally, you are who they were when they were your age– wide eyed, bright eyed, ambitious and full of potential.

For more on mentorship, and tips on how to establish and maintain a mentor-mentee relationship check out the full post on

Tips For Time Management [guest post]


Eden is a rising star in the performing arts and made her professional debut last year playing the part of Raynell alongside Denzel Washington in the Broadway production of Fences, but she didn’t stop there. She’s now playing Young Nala in The Lion King on Broadway and has aspirations to continue growing her career as an actress. As an honor roll student, professional actress and daughter she is learning to juggle the multiple roles in her life and decided to shed light on how she deals with time management.  It’s the top of the year, and for most people making every moment count is on the top of the priority list.  Check out how this young actress manages her time.

You heard already by now. It’s official. I am in the Lion King on Broadway as Young Nala. I mean I am really in it: performing four times a week at the Minskoff for close to 2,000 people a night. And needless to say, I am loving it!

It truly is a dream come true.

My process has been nutso to put it mildly. After my amaaaaaazzzzing run as Raynell in the Tony award winning (love the way that rolls off my fingertips) cast of Fences, it seems before I could get the perfect mani-pedi, I had a new job. This one bigger… more acting… more singing… more dancing… basically more me. So one wonders if I have changed.

Well a little.

Now I am in the sixth grade and school doesn’t come as easy as it did in the past. Mostly because my work load is insane. But I am doing pretty well and getting mostly A’s. But I am also spending a lot of time running from one place to the other. So I’m realizing how important it is to be organized and focus. Today I want to give you all some tips about being neat, organized and focused or how to encourage others to be neat, organized and focused.

Building neat work habits takes time- You have to talk a lot about neatness to people. My mom always says “What you say is what you do!” It helps the other kids who might not care too much about neatness think its cool. You also have to feel comfortable talking about how it feels when you look at a piece of work and know that you have put forward your best effort in completing it.

There are a lot of ways you can be organized too. You don’t have to be super-duper tidy. Everyone is neat and organized in their own way. The goal is to develop basic skills that help you take care of stuff and stay on top of your work.

Assign one Place for Everything to Go – Whether at home or at school, its hard to be organized if there is not a place for everything. Find a place for everything in your room or in your school binder. Clearly identify where everything should go and put it there!

Make Sure You Can Get Your Stuff– It is easier to stay organized if you can reach things yourself and not in some insane place that requires you to get someone to get your stuff. Sounds silly but I know that people do it. I mean I do it sometimes and it never works for me. Like I was reading about a girl that had this coat hook in her room. Very smart eh? But she couldn’t reach it… So even though she had a place for scarves and gloves, a special hook for her bath towel it wasn’t at her level and so eventually she just started throwing stuff on the floor and saying… “I’ll go back and pick it up” (… ok ok ok that girl is me).

Maintain it – Keep it up. Don’t get distracted. May sure to stick to a routine. You might struggle with it but there is nothing wrong with struggling with something that will make your life better.
Anyone can learn organization skills and it is not a guarantee of being neat and tidy for life.

Behind The Scenes: Time Out New York Magazine x HairRules [Guest Post]

Eden is a rising star in the performing arts and just completed a successful run of playing the part of Raynell alongside Denzel Washington in the Broadway production of Fences, but she’s not stopping there.  She was just casted as Young Nala in The Lion King on Broadway and has aspirations to continue growing her career as an actress.  Check out her behind the scenes recap of her recent photo shoot with Time Out New York, and her visit to the famed hair salon “Hair Rules.”  Her hair was styled by the famed Anthony Dickey, who specializes in natural hair and has put his magic touch on the manes of the likes of Kelis, Alicia Keys and more!

I could get used to this!
Like most girls there are four things I love to do: getting my nails done, going shopping, getting my hair done and then taking pictures. SNAP, SNAP, SNAP… The paparazzi loves me.
Well what could be better than to get all cutsied up for a photo-shoot? I can tell you. Getting the star treatment every step of the way.
On Monday, I went to DuoKids’ showroom to see the Fall 2010 line of Tiny Pants Kids… now I know it sounds like a baby line but they have the coolest stuff for big girls like me. While I was checking out the Tiny Kids Stuff and pulled a nice plum velvet jacket with a satin ruffle trim (so cute you can detach it and everything)… I spotted in the corner of the showroom something that looked like rainbow clouds.
What were they?

The rave “it” item that everyone from Ming Lee to Dakato Fanning are rocking this year that’s what! Kaiya Eve pettiskirts in every color you could imagine.  Robin Wilcher, the best leading gal over at Duo pulled the bag down and dumped them all over the floor and was like “what do you think?”
I thought I had died and went to MIDDLE SCHOOL HEAVEN! Shout out to Mark Twain!
In the pile of fluff, I saw every color imaginable. But the tourquoise one grabbed my eye. So we decided to pair it up with this really cute Mini Boden Fun Girl shirt in Tourquise and purple. I also snatched up a lovely colored pair of tights from We Love Color and used my Purple rainboots from my own closet. My mom got those for me from one of my favorite stores Zara Kids.
I knew I would be ready for Tuesday’s shoot with Time Out New York.
Maybe I should have said this in the very beginning. I was being shot for TONY Kids because of my work in Fences and my new role as Young Nala in Disney’s Lion King on Broadway. They asked 2 kids from Broadway, 2 kids who modeled and 2 kids on TV.
Before the shoot I went to get my hair done.
I went to Hair Rules-New York. Hair Rules is the salon for celebrity stylist Anthony Dickey who is a master hairstlyist. He specializes in curly hair. He has worked with Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Kelis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Estelle, Alicia Keys and now moi!
He was so cool and so was his assistant. He taught me how to take care of my hair. If you go to his website he has a video of how to do the basics but to really get the d.l. on your hair you have to go to him. He made my hair look really cool and showed me how to maintain the look with his products especially designed to work on naturally curly hair. I am trying to get Rhonesha to try him with me when she gets back to New York. I know she will love him just like me.
From Hair Rules, we went to TONY Kids office and waited to meet up with my stylist Sonya Magett and my friend Nayilah Biamby. We got there a little early.  It was raining so my momma got there like a whole hour early… she is so lame in a like official way…. but anywhoo….
Once Sonya got there, we started to get dress and met up with the photo editor Cinzia Reale-Castello (I LOVE her name!) She made me so comfortable. She told me to smile, jump, be free and whatever came to her mind to get the picture just right.
She let my mom take outtakes too with her camera… which was really kind of weird considering my momma’s camera is slow and was barely getting my jumpshots… get it… oh never mind it’s an inside joke with me myself and I.
Oh I almost forgot, Sonya brought her son Cody and he is a handful and after I was done with the shoot and we were saying our good byes… Cody didn’t want to go so he shot down the hallway and started hiding.
It was a wonderful experience and that is a glimpse of what my life is right now. Crazy. Cooky. But fun! Stay cool y’all and grab on to life. Dream big and then make it happen.

From my star to yours… Eden Sanaa Duncan- Smith.

Save This Young Star’s Life: Shannon Tavarez


We have the power to turn Shannon’s story into a miracle.  Eleven-year-old Shannon loves to sing and dance and even performed on Broadway in The Lion King. But right now her only dream is to have the opportunity to grow up because she has leukemia.  It’s a deadly disease and she needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life.

Shannon is of African-American and Latino decent and would likely find a match within her own ethnic groups. Minorities make up a very low percentage of registered donors.
“If I wasn’t in this situation, if I would look at someone else and if I was old enough to actually get swabbed and donate my bone marrow, I would definitely go for it because I want to make a difference and help other kids. This battle is a tough one, but I’m going to get through it.” – Shannon Tavarez.
READ more/expand this post for information on a drive happening today at the LION KING THEATER.

Register as a bone marrow donor and you could be the ONE to save SHANNON’s LIFE or a patient just like her.


Friday, July 23, 2010
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

The Lion King
The Minskoff Theatre
200 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036

You can also register asap on line to become a donor @ -or- (promo code match)
**a mouth swab will be sent to your home w/ a prepaid return envelope**

Society: The Forgotten Age TWENTY Y.O.

13, 18, 21, 30, 50…they’re all milestone ages, marked by special cards in the Birthday aisle and new privileges. But between those numbers is a missing piece. It’s an uncelebrated milestone in everyone’s life: the end of the teen years. Turning 20 seems to be the age no one remembers, a marker that actually seems to serve mostly as the beginning to the countdown to age 21.

“When I turned 20, the weirdest thing was that I was no longer a teenager. That is how I and society had defined me for 6 years and in the span of one minute I wasn’t anymore,” said Camille Gray when reflecting on her experience.
At age 18 society grants responsibilities like the ability to sign for things without parental consent, the ability to vote, the right to buy cigarettes and enlist in the army. It’s an exciting age. Then comes 19, the last of the teen years, and finally all of a sudden big 2-0 hits, and then nothing.
“I’d say it’s more like the teasing age before turning 21,” said now 21-year-old Qiana Vincent. “You always say things like “just a few more months” or “I just wish I would turn 21 already.”
You can’t fully take the reigns of being an adult until 21. You can’t purchase alcohol or get into any of the trendy lounges with your friends who might already be 21.
Most of those surveyed said that they remember thinking that it was the start of really getting old. Many know this generation to be one of the most ambitious since the baby boomers. Young people today are jumping head first into their careers launching companies, clothing lines, and mini media hubs while still in their teens. Whether they admit it or not, part of the awe of what they do is embedded in how young they are. Thus when these ambitious young people start to grow out of their youth some serious self-reflection is forced upon them.
20-year-old Lawrence Nurse is in school and also working on his own line: Triple L Society. Turning 20 did not create anxiety for him but he did do some thinking about who he was, what he had done and where he wanted to go.
“I said to myself ‘I’m turning 20 and I have this business that I love, it kind of made me reflect on the journey that I went through and it just made me realize that I have a long road ahead of me and I’m still young.”
He didn’t feel any anxiety only a need for a shift in thinking. “I’m all about growth, so realizing that I was going to be on my own soon basically increased my drive and the passion for what I do.”
But he recalls having friends, not so sure about where they were going in life, who would express feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.
“My friend kept saying things like ‘we’re getting older and we’re about to leave college and about to be on our own…’,” Nurse recalls.
“She doesn’t really know what she wants to do and for her turning 20 basically told her it was time to settle down and find out what she wanted to do.”
Even as young as 20 can produce anxiety about what’s to come, and better yet, what hasn’t come yet. The time has officially come and gone of ever being a child star or prodigy. A different set of associations arise when the response to “how old are you?” becomes “twenty.”
“You start to think about the pressures of finding a career and being successful in life. It’s like when you have that teen attached, its like okay you’re young, once twenty comes you’re grown. So you have the feeling and responsibilities of thinking about your career and questions like what am I going to do and who do I want to be?” reflected 22 year old Rickina Brooks who mentioned that upon turning twenty her mom stopped paying her phone bill and she faced the reality of paying her own bills.
She looked forward to the privileges she would be granted at 21 but she admits that not everyone always waits until that age.
“Kids grow up fast. They’re already doing that stuff before 21, so when you turn 21 its not such a big deal, its just like okay I can do everything I was doing before …legally.”

London Life: A Peek


London Life: Just A Peek from on Vimeo.

I’ve just begun to skim the surface of what London has to offer.  I’ve been in London for a few weeks now and I am just beginning to orientate myself.  From the moment I landed things were completely different.  My first encounter in the airport was just one of many learning experiences.  The woman at the counter rang me up and she asked me “For here, or Take Away?” and I said, “To Go” and she looked at me strange and said (again) “Take Away?” and I then realized that “to go” doesn’t exist here apparently.

London’s architecture and everything about it almost makes me feel as if I am in a different time period.  From the cars, to the buildings, to the language– things are drastically contrasted to the skyscrapers and the modern sleekness of NYC.

Read more for pictures and tid bits of what I have been up to so far….

Of course, I am at NBC even when I am abroad.  It’s my home away from home!

I’ve been meeting up with so many people!  I met up with Andre Singleton, who is from Brooklyn and just happened to also been in London.  He has an amazing spirit and just went over to Amsterdam and I’ll be visiting soon!

That’s me and Damaris, another fellow Brooklyn girl who was here in London for a few weeks!

I’ve been seeing a lot of plays.  So far, I’ve seen Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Waiting for Godot, Rope and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Of all that I’ve seen thus far Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was the best!  I was invited by the producer who is an amazing power woman (will be interviewing her soon.  She also invited me backstage and I had a nice chat with James Earl Jones.

I also went to check out some local markets.

Also, had dinner at an amazing sushi place in Camden market.  It’s the first time I went to a sushi place where you actually sit down on the ground.  I loved the ambiance of the place (more so than the food).
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