The Beauty Within: Joyful Drake
Newcomer Joyful Drake is a pleasure. With her natural beauty, infectious personality and positive attitude, she’s a sheer joy to have around and talent worth keeping an eye on. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Joyful quirky spirit and overall warm demeanor has helped to make her a sought after actress landing her a lead on BET’s first scripted series, “Let’s Stay Together” as well as roles in “Beauty Shop”, “Phat Girlz” and last year’s comedy smash “Get Him to the Greek” in which she played opposite Sean “Diddy” Combs.
The 2nd oldest of 4 siblings, Drake credits her mother with her strength to keep going during the hard times. “She’s one of the most successful physicians back in Wisconsin. She was in medical school when she had us. So she was married, had 4 kids and was studying medicine at the same time. She’s from a small town in Mississippi where she has 12 siblings and for Christmas all they got was apples, oranges and one pair of shoes. So she literally came from nothing”, Joyful explains in her bubbly air. It is the resilient nature of her mother perhaps, that has kept her focused and moving towards her dreams even when things didn’t seem to be coming around. After living in New York and working as a waitress, Joyful picked up and moved to Los Angeles and hasn’t waited a table since her arrival. Knowing just how lucky she is to be working in an industry that provides so very few jobs for women of color has inspired Drake to create work for others. With one project already under her belt, a film “Glass Heels” the which she wrote, produced and starred in, she is crafting her career in the shoes of the great women whose work once kept her motivated. “I want my life to be an empowering journey that can inspire those who come after me because that’s what I had. I could look at Angela Bassett or Halle Berry and find the strength to keep fighting. I want to be that person for someone”, she explains. That fight is one that all too many times holds women of color back. The idea is that there are so few roles and so many talented actresses clawing their way to the top; however, Joyful assures other women that being a minority doesn’t always have disadvantages. “Sometimes it’s exactly what they’re looking for. That’s why it’s just important for you to stay on it. Have that faith and keep believing in yourself, you’ll get it”.
Her abundant positivity fills the entire room throughout our day with her. She’s authentically happy and refreshing. There is a familiarity in her smile and a demand in her laughter that just causes your soul to reach down inside and find the most joy it can muster in order to match all that she brings. She has the confidence of a woman who never had to go searching for love but instead always knew she’ was surrounded by it and she never tries to hide it. “I am EVERYTHING. I’m happy. I’m loved. I give love. I’m blessed. I’m pretty much my name, which works because it’s an adjective”.
See, aren’t you smiling?
Well fellas there’s still a chance to try your hands with Ms. Drake… in the future. The gorgeous sweetheart is single and not searching. “I’m kind of busy so I’m not looking for a man right now…he might be out there looking for me though”, she says with a resounding laugh tickled by her own nerve. And don’t worry if you’re not an Idris Elba clone, this woman wants you to bring your best you. “I’m all about energy. If you have good energy normally you’re at a good place in your life and you’re happy. If you lined up all my ex boyfriends they’d all look completely different but you’d understand why I was with them. I like to be me and be free and I like my mate to be free and for us to take each other to another level. If you feel like you have to walk on egg shells or you can’t really be yourself—it’s a no”. Joyful Drake’s simplicity is almost as enviable as her beauty. Her approach to life makes for a woman who is a step above just by living her life on her terms.
As we end our interview I ask her one more thing “What rules do you live your life by?” She turns her head full of curls at me, smiles and says, “There are no rules.” as she leaves the room leaving her extraordinary spirit behind.
Photography by: Ashley B. Nguyen
Stylist: Seth Brundle
MUA: Sarah Bahlibi
Hair: Rianna Devine