This week’s Working Women Wednesday is no other than Miya Norfleet, St. Louis’s own best kept secret. Miya defines the rules of black women can and will be in production. Looking up to iconic women like Shonda Rimes, who Miya believes creates her own universe and world in front of and behind the scenes of hit shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. To Miya, Shonda embraces and embodies the fact that she is a black woman.
” For Shonda to take all these different worlds that reflect the real world even though it’s fiction…I adore that, because she’s seeking out those stories…I like that she is able to represent that”, said Miya.
From Miya’s point of view for the longest time what she saw on TV was a bunch of white people, and from this past Oscars lack of diversity in nomination, who could blame her. Female producers like Rimes and DuVernay are breaking down barriers, casting strong women and men of color, and next in line behind telling great stories that affect us and our communities is Miya Norfleet.
However, Miya didn’t always think she could go into the film production field. Her goals switched from teaching to even maybe pursuing law. It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school at Lafayette where she was nominated to participate in a new course, called the DVD Yearbook. After a successful production of the Lafayette High School DVD Yearbook, Miya fell in love with video production. From sophomore year up until graduation she was a part of the production team of the DVD Yearbook.
” I watched TV and movies, but I never thought I could be a part of that one day”, said Miya.
Being a part of the production process gave Miya a new appreciation for the actual work that goes into it. Staying late after school, for hours, putting in all that work really made her feel proud of what she was accomplishing.
After winning the Student Publication Award for Lafayette’s DVD Yearbook, that’s when Miya decided her next step towards her dreams. She was going to attend Webster University, and she did just that. Majoring in Video Production with two minors, one Media Communications and the other in Spanish; Miya was well on her to the top. However, she didn’t stop there, she also has her certificate in Film & Documentary Production.
With all of her accolades Miya is proud of everything she has done for different reasons. There are amazing stories that she had the opportunity to be a part of and just at 27, Miya has achieved major career milestones. Her long list of accomplishments include working as the Associate Producer for three years at the Nine Network of Public Media for the public affairs show, Stay Tuned. Her work also includes a documentary for the History Channel, and most recently Miya had the opportunity to help produce a local documentary on a North County step team, Gentlemen of Vision (GOV), which aired in early September.
” I’m so proud of that…I get to help tell mostly stories that involve young people of color and communities of color. Those stories don’t always get to be told. For the most part they’re not told in a way that uplifts or empowers those communities”, said Miya.
Miya’s goal when telling stories that affect us and our communities, is to inspire or used as a learning tool.
However, being a producer isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. According to Miya, those on the outside tend to believe producers have all this power, what some people seem to forget that producers have to answer to a supervisor too. They have to work just as hard to convince someone some stories deserve to be told too.
Miya’s career hasn’t stopped with producing, her newest endeavor is being the Digital Communications Manager at Big Brothers Big Sister of Eastern Missouri. She has always felt her role in life was being a part of community service. Her goal was to make her city ( St. Louis) a better place. However, back then she didn’t know how. Her mindset is, whatever skill set she has she wants to perform that in her community first, and the best way she feels she can help her community is working for a non-profit organization.
Even after leaving the Nine Network that urge to give back never went away. Miya could have worked for a variety of TV stations or production studios, but she still wanted to help young people of color and her community. Being the Digital Communication Manager, Miya can support all the efforts of the services they provide to the community.
” I don’t think people realize all the stuff we (Big Brother Big Sister) do in the community”, said Miya. And now she will have the opportunity to tell those stories on a bigger platform when she starts doing video production for Big Brother Big Sister.
Did I mention she’s a dedicated working woman, she’s also a professor at Webster University teaching students how to produce footage and direct. After a mentor suggested the position, that’s when Miya realized she has accomplished a lot.
“And that’s when I realized I did a lot of work…being able to share those experiences, hopefully I inspire someone to work in media. Especially now a lot of people of color don’t trust the media, so they don’t want to be a part of it”, said Miya.
With the TV & Film industry lacking diversity especially for women and even more so for women of color. Miya’s advice to get more women involved is to tell us we can be in media. There is a place for you in media.
If Miya could go back in time and speak to her younger self, she would tell that know it all, nosey seven year-old “keep up the good work”.
And Miya we’re telling you, Keep Up The Good Work!
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