On The Other Side of The Pen – Interview with Itopia Mills

Welcome to our blog! For you first timers- we say howdy! To those who have been here before, we also say howdy! Today, we are going to share an interview with you we had with a very special lady. She graduated from high school with numerous distinction all related to the unselfish work of volunteering. She is considered a leader in her community- a great honor for any young person to recieve. Now in college, she is pursuing not only her studies but changing tomorrow by using today and learning from yesterday. We are proud to present: Ms. Itopia Mills.

Q&A With Voice4Society                           

  • Can you give us a little background information of who you are?

    I am nineteen years young and I am an upcoming sophomore in college. I am from the suburb of New Rochelle, NY in Westchester County. I was born and raised there. I graduated from New Rochelle High School in Spring 2010 and now I am in Tallahassee, FL at Florida A&M University just trying to make a hustle. It’s a struggle to become a successful Journalist.

  • Describe your journey from humble beginnings to where you are in life now.

    My journey hasn’t been too long but it has been a minor struggle. When I first got to college I was a History major. All throughout my prior education I was a history bluff and I ate and breathed anything History related. I am a huge JFK fan (a little fact about me)! Anyways, I had my mind set on becoming a museum curator but when I got to school, saw the course career for my major, did research on the career and had a reality check. Becoming a curator is a difficult task. Not that it wasn’t achievable but after talking to my parents, I realized it wasn’t what I “loved.” They always told me “If you are in a career that you love, it won’t ever be a job.” I knew that I always wanted to write and after doing research in the Journalism School, I found my home last spring. So, that’s my journey so far. I’m excited on what I have ahead of me and I know that the future is bright.

  • What sparks your creative flow?

    Any and everything! I could be listening to music and something will pop in my head. Drake, J. Cole, Frank Ocean, Colbie Caillat, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Adele and Bob Marley always help me start an idea! Or it could be a simple conversation and I will get an idea for my next article. That’s the beauty of being a writer; you never know what lies ahead for your next piece.

  • Biggest learning faux pas?

    This is quite embarrassing but I honestly had to “Google” what a “faux pas” is! One faux pas that I learned the hard way was “Yes sir, no sir” and “Yes ma’am, no ma’am.” Living in New York, those aren’t the natural words as people aren’t generally too nice. But, being down South I learned quickly that those are the right words to say when talking to an elder. I guess that’s my biggest learning faux pas!

  • Who inspires you and why?

My mother, Charmaine and my older sister, Nefertiti inspire me every day. They’re the two most beautiful Black women I know. I grew up with a single mom and a sister four years older than me. It was always a struggle but my mother never let us see her pain. All I knew growing up was that we were “The Three Musketeers.” I never knew that my mother fought for her life so we could have a safe, normal childhood. My mother is my superwoman. She did things for my sister and I that are the definition of motherhood. She’s just a beautiful example of a strong, black woman. My sister, Nefertiti, growing up I wanted to be just like here. I followed her everywhere and tried to go everywhere she went. When you have an older sister, you mirror everything she does. It’s hard not to. She has all these freedoms, cool outfits, she listens to good music, she has hip friends; and I got stuck at home with my mom watching Disney movies and doing kid things. She was like my idol. Also, my mother always surrounded us with strong black women. We learned by example and that’s how I grew to be who I am today. But, there are some professionals who inspire me as well. Soledad O’Brien, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, & Anna Wintour. These are all brilliant people in the world of politics, Journalism, and Fashion who inspire me!

  • Who do you want to inspire?

    I want to inspire girls who grew up like me. When the odds are against you, you don’t always win. But, I want them to know, you owe it to yourself to win! I want to inspire my younger brother, nieces and nephews also. They’re all still so young and have so much to learn. I hope that by the time they’re in their teenage years, they can say, “That’s my sister” or “that’s my Auntie.”

  •  Are you currently working on any projects related to your field of interest? What are they?

    Almost everything I do is related to Journalism. I love to write. It has sort of become my life. My lifestyle is centered on writing, magazines, fashion, style, editorials and books. You can learn so much from a simple sentence. I escape in music and art but writing, as always been a guilty pleasure. As of now, I’m working on a script! Mr. Kronovet, my script writing teacher from my sophomore year in high school inspired me and I’ve been working on it ever since. It has come along way and still has a lot of growing to do. Academic wise, I work with my school’s magazine, Journey and I am trying to get involved with the FAMU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Those are the two most important projects to me right now. Building my portfolio and being inspired from other upcoming Journalists is so important for growth.

  •  What does Itopia like to do when she isn’t saving the world?

    When I’m not saving the world? I think that’s pretty far-fetched, I’m doing anything but that! I’m just taking a God-given talent and exercising all its abilities. When you have a gift to use your voice in language and text, you don’t sit on it. Benjamin Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” But, when I’m not writing my little fingers off I’m just trying to enjoy life. I’m young and in college, at times I have to remind myself of that. My mother gave me a sewing machine a few years back so I’m trying to get that back up and running. I’m working on designing upcoming projects for myself.

  • Share your thoughts about Voice4Society 🙂

    Thoughts? I have so many! I would like to thank Ms. Tiffany Chase for the opportunity. This is an odd experience, as I’ve never been on the other side of the pen before, I’m usually the interviewer. I would like to congratulate her on her baby, Voice4Society. It is a brilliant project that I heard her talk about for years and I’m glad she finally birthed it! I know this is only the beginning. And I hoped I encouraged someone with my words. I know I ha,ve a habit of talking a lot. But, thanks for reading! And remember, you are everything they say you can’t be!

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 *Awesome interview! Thank you Ms. Mills!! *

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