#IAmMissJessies: Dominga Martin Shares Her Aha Moment

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To celebrate the launch of Miko Branch’s Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally, Miss Jessie’s reached out to a selected group of women to help us with the #IAmMissJessies campaign. The whole goal of the campaign is to put together a wave of support by letting Miko know that although she may have lost her sister in the physical realm, she is now surrounded by thousands of Sisters who support her as she continues to move forward building the Miss Jessie’s legacy.

For those that have already devoured Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally, you know the book has a definite theme of “If we can do it, you can do it too.” The whole premise is that we have all had aha moments in our careers that have drastically changed our lives—some for the good, some for the better. If you’ve read the book already, we ask that you take a moment and share your break through moment in your career. When did you discover your purpose? And what did you do about it?

Today Dominga Martin of Creme Magazine shares a few of her break through moments in her career that lead her down the path to a success, fulfilled life she always wanted: making movies.

Source: Instagram, @domingamartin

Source: Instagram, @domingamartin

I’ve had a few “AHA Moments” in my life so far, but one of the most defining moments for me was several years ago. I partnered with an author to adapt her best selling novel into a screenplay. It was picked up by a Hollywood production company who had a great track record. They flew me to LA, set me up in a hotel on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and we work-shopped the script for 2 days to get me ready for an agent and the movie prepared to shop around town. This was my first trip to LA and I thought, “it’s all happening!”

I was so excited because a production company with movies that I liked was ready to partner/option the film and attach a well known actress. Yet, the day before the conference call re: the option and actress in mind, the author pulled the plug on the deal. It had taken 2 years to get to this point, working diligently to get the film production ready. The author decided that it was taking too long to make a movie and that she would do it herself. She was unfamiliar with the movie business and did not realize we were moving at a fast paced compared to folks who wait years and years for this opportunity.

That year the Production company went on to win an Oscar and the actress is on one of TV’s number one shows, today. I was devastated. And as I picked myself up, I remember laying in bed and I had an epiphany. God told me that I was a Producer. That I had resources. That I had vision. That I can hire crew. That I had some cash and that I can produce my own film, and that’s what I did. I Produced and Directed my 2nd short film YELLOW, which I also wrote.

My ex-boyfriend and I put our money together to make the film happen. YELLOW went on to screen at film festivals around the country, even on BET. It screened at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), and has been screening continuously for almost 10 years now including the new MIST Theater in Harlem and winner of the Best American Short at the Cape Verdean American Film Festival last year (2014).

The moment that plug was pulled on my dream to make a movie was my first breakthrough because I realized two things. 1. Yes, I had a dream to make movies, but that movie was based on a bestselling novel, about a true story, so the movie was not my own. It did not belong to me [so] I could not dictate the outcome. 2. I decided, that I would not dedicate my time to anyone else’s DREAM because I had my own.

I made a decision that I would live my own dreams when I was a teenager and had my very first AHA Moment…I remember telling my mother that I would not work for someone for the rest of my life [so] why do I have to go to college to get a degree, in order to get a job? I always had an entrepreneur spirit, and things were beginning to add up for me and my life. At the time, my mom was a national activist and through her I discovered my purpose: that I would make movies with a message. That my voice would inspire others through my art.

I had the same AHA moment when I left my very last job in 2006. Why work on someone else’s dream and make them rich, when I can run my own business? I decided that I would never set myself up to be in a position where someone can pull the plug on me and disrupt my life and career. I decided that I would make things happen for myself. It was at that key moment that I put my purpose into action. I went on to direct a documentary which was invited to screen at the United Nations. I was hired to direct music videos for GRAMMY Nominated artists and even a commercial at the top of 2015 for WALMART, which aired during the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards on TV One this past Black History Month. My work has aired on all major channels including BET, MTV and VH-1.

My AHA Moments are catalysts for me, to drive my own ship and they arrive when it’s time for me to take leaps of faith. I took a leap of FAITH last year when I got an AHA Moment to reach out to Titi at Miss Jessie’s to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring my docu-series “Diary of a REEL Girl”. I had not seen Titi or Miko in a few years, but without hesitation Titi said YES and re-connected me with Miko. I thank God everyday for that moment in my life because it was a blessing in disguise. I had no idea that only a short while later Titi would be gone. That AHA Moment was loud and clear after Titi’s passing. It’s amazing when I think about it…how I was Miss Jessie’s very first curly ad, for their very first product Curly Pudding, and that Miko and Titi both produced and sponsored my docu-series together, their last project together following their first book. It is more than an AHA Moment for me, to be part of their legacy from the very start. It is a gift from God that I will always cherish because their brand is part of my life story in more ways than one.

I discovered that when I follow my instincts, doors open, but I have to tell you, walking through those doors can be scary. Sometimes I wonder how little ole me can make the things that I envision, happen because I DREAM BIG [but] what I’ve come to realize is every dream begins with an idea, and you can only bring those ideas to life when you take a step…and all of my AHA moments begin with me making a definitive decision to take that step, to go through doors and to knock down doors that are in my way.

It’s never easy, but when it’s all said and done, it’s always worth it and more than gratifying. Because at the end of the day, I am living my life on my own terms.

It takes a lot of COURAGE and FAITH to follow your dreams and believe in ourselves but God has already given us the ability to dream out loud the moment the idea is planted in our heads. It is up to us to give birth to the dream and make it reality and to recognize an AHA Moment as a little whisper from God nudging you to go for what you know. To just do it. To just be. To believe. To Dream Your Life. God has given us all a purpose, and once you discover it within yourself, everything that belongs to you comes naturally. You begin to attract the life you want and the people who are like keys that open doors for you. I did not choose to be a writer, I was chosen to write. I am a writer. I am a director. #iammissjessies #diaryofareelgirl #missjessiesoriginal my IG is @domingamartin.

To join in on the conversation, share your break through aha moment on any social media platform (Instagram is probably the easiest) using hashtag #IAmMissJessies.