She lives a life revolved around the arts. That’s what life is like for Gekayla Telford, or as her Facebook profile says, Ya’amani Anaeshii Telford. The name Ya’amani means peace and joy. Interesting lead.
Gekayla is an actor, writer, and artist all while being a student at the University of Milwaukee. She is an English/Lit major and will be graduating in Spring of 2019.
She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at St. Joseph’s hospital in 1993 along with her twin sister Shakayla. “And yes, I was first!” She playfully says as she starts to talk about her childhood and growing up in Milwaukee.
“I think the best memory of my childhood was learning my craft because I learned that I wanted to act and be a star when I was a kid.” She says she dived into the arts as a kid and started doing shows. She was a self-proclaimed “diva” at 5 years old.
She also remembers spending most of her time with her twin sister, Shakayla. “My twin sister is like my best friend.” Gekayla describes having a special relationship with her sister that only twins can have. “I can be thinking something and she says it,” “We do have twin powers, we have our own language, too.” When asked to describe the language, Gekayla explained that if she said started using her twin language, I wouldn’t know what she was talking about.
Shakayla agrees with Gekayla when she says they are best friends. She says, “We spend most of our time together, even now that we’re older. I appreciate the time we spend together and it helps that we’re both into art”
Gekayla loves acting and hopes to make it on the big screen one day. She recently participated in Sister Act at the Sunset Playhouse. Other plays that she’s been in include, Annie, Confessions of a Butterfly and Cats and Grease. Move this up to your nut graph, which I highlighted in yellow. It tells us why we should read about her.
Even though her relationship with her twin sister has always been good, there has always been competition between them. She says, “When it comes to acting, I always wanted the leading roles.”
Shakayla stated, ” Sure, we have competition but it’s healthy. I wouldn’t want to do this without her.”
Gekayla and Shakayla decided to go separate ways when it came to high school. Gekayla stated that she originally wanted to go to Rufus King High School with her sister, but she wasn’t accepted. After thinking things over, her sister decided that going to a different high school would allow her to be an individual. Individuality is something they didn’t get to have as kids. She says high school showed them who they were as individuals.
Gekayla grew up living with her mother in a one-parent household. She said that not growing up with her father affected her adult relationships. “I felt like if I had my dad in my life, in those years when I needed him a lot of the things that I went through in my relationships I wouldn’t have gone through.” Today, their relationship is rocky. When asked about her relationship with her mother, she lit up and said, “I love my mom! I’m giving my mom the world. When I become a star, she’s getting everything.” Powerful quote and interview
Gekayla is definitely on her way to becoming the star she’s always wanted to be. She has been doing a lot of acting, modeling, and writing lately. She hinted at the possibility of a book but stated that it will be happening soon. Gekayla and her sister are also writing plays that they will eventually put into production. She describes herself as a goal driven person. “I like that I can inspire people. I am that light for people and that makes me happy.”
She enjoys creating everything from jewelry to centerpieces and graduation caps. “It may not be a lot to some people but anything that I can do to touch somebody with my magic, I’ll do it” she says. When she’s not being a star she likes to do Pilates. But in the end, everything falls back to her art. Interesting
Art is her life, her hobby and also her coping mechanism.
She was in a troubled relationship that changed her as a person. She began to not know herself as a woman and started to forget everything that she had ever known for herself. According to Gekayla, it took another person entering her life for her to find herself. He called her, Ya’amani, that is where her Facebook name came from.
“To me, it wasn’t just a nickname.” “Every since then I’ve led with that and doing my artistry, I felt so empowered as a woman.” To someone else, she was their light and peace but they didn’t know that they were doing the same thing for her.
For now, Gekayla would like to keep most of her focus on school, but as in artist, her mind will always be on creating. She hopes to one day be able to be fully dedicated to her craft.