Rooting for the Next Generation: An Interview with Tyla Anne Harris

Photo courtesy of torreyallenphotos

20-year-old Tyla Anne Harris already has such an impressive resume that it’s no wonder she is such an inspiration to any young woman who knows her story.

She was a part of the National Beta Club from fifth grade through twelfth grade and was the president of her chapter, learning about service and leadership. In high school, her Spanish teacher recommended she join GIFTS (Girls In Focus To Succeed) based on her leadership skills and involvement in choreographing her school’s Black history play. GIFTS was instrumental in how Harris came to view herself as a young woman and taught her how to help other women see themselves in the same light.

Also in high school she joined the debate team and spent three years better understanding policy debate and law. She is even looking into joining the debate team at her university. Recently she joined Saving Our Daughters, an organization that increases outreach for young girls who can connect and look up to others from multicultural backgrounds with interest in the arts.

“I’ve had girls reach out to me to mentor them before, but this organization made me realize how much power and impact my voice has on the next generation of girls and how important it is to root for them,” she said.

Then there’s her acting career. From Coca Cola print ads to ABC’s For Life, she has been honing her craft since she was a child. She currently plays Jasmine Wallace on the television series based on lawyer Isaac Wright Jr.’s life, portraying a pregnant teenager who never gives up hope of seeing her father’s release from prison. She not only prepared for the role by learning more about Wright’s criminal case where he was wrongly convicted on drug charges but researched statistics and studies on pregnant Black women and teenagers.

“I took a moment for myself to settle into the realities of a situation where a family is torn by the justice system and the mental obstacles a young woman would have to overcome,” Harris said.

The story of Wright is incredibly important, especially with the current state of the world, and Harris hopes viewers take away as much knowledge and understanding as possible.

“I very much so believe to move on from your past, you have to understand it and make [an] effort for mistakes to be corrected,” she said. “In today’s society, many people are running from the realities of what minorities have to face without even opening their mouths. For Life sheds a bright light on obstacles on both sides of the justice system and prison system, and it humanizes those going through these situations today. I would hope viewers would want to see and understand those they cannot relate to, and they would be moved to stand by those that need support in times like this. Also, I would love for viewers to recognize the rehabilitation that is needed within the prison system, as opposed to punishment, and have empathy for it.”

This brilliant-minded young woman has found a way to excel in everything she sets her mind to. She also has goals, both big and small, that she hopes to accomplish in the near future. She hopes to receive another 4.0 semester and continue to shape herself into an exemplary young woman. She hopes to intern with a law firm or district attorney. She has plans of attending law school after she receives her undergraduate degree.

Having the pleasure of knowing Tyla Anne Harris, working alongside her or hearing her story is like seeing a glimpse of the future. The future is strong, the future is powerful; the future is remarkable young women with a passion for kindness and equality.