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IN THE LIFE Lala Thomas
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-12-12

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Lala Thomas' life has been shaped by working hard, fighting for what she wants and speaking her mind on a myriad of issues. All that has translated into her personal and soon-to-be business brands—Talented Lala.

"Talented Lala is also to let people know that I am multi-talented and can do whatever I put my mind to," said Thomas. "This includes acting, dancing, writing, directing, radio hosting and being an entrepreneur."

One of the ways Thomas is doing this is through her pinback button business called Talented Lala Buttons. Thomas has created over 120 buttons depicting LGBTQ and women's empowerment messages that she calls "funny, shit talking and motivational."

"I even have my own collection called Talented Lala Merch," said Thomas. "This includes a hat, keychain, button and a shirt. Talented Lala Buttons has been doing so well with sales and people even bought my buttons from other states and countries which I did not expect."

Thomas is selling these buttons to raise funds for a performing arts center she wants to open in Chicago—Talented Lala Performing Arts Center. Her desire to create this space is rooted in the fact that she was not always welcomed into other people's performing arts spaces. Thomas wants everyone to have access so they can "reach for the stars."

"My center will be a big change for Chicago artists," said Thomas.

Another way Thomas has expanded her brand is through her internet radio show that she started a month ago—Talented Lala Radio. Thomas has interviewed local artists Noiramad and FurGuson and has a segment where she talks about trans issues, equality, the state of the world and changes in music over the years as well as what has happened in her life that week.

Recently, Thomas wrote a screenplay called "Life Problems" centering on six young adults with various life struggles.

"Some characters try to hide these struggles while the others are reaching their breaking point," said Thomas. "I wrote it because the situations they are facing you see in real life including teen pregnancy, abortion, navigating life as an LGBTQ+ person, homelessness, drug and alcohol use, raising kids as a single parent, bullying, suicide and love."

Thomas is currently awaiting financial backing to produce the play and said everyone should "be on the lookout for it."

Stats

—Age: 22

—Preferred pronoun( s ): she/her

—Sexual orientation/gender identity: Trans woman

—Profession/day job: Program Support Specialist and High School volleyball coach

—Favorite TV shows: Chicago P.D., Quantico, Criminal Minds and SWAT

—Favorite movies: Hunger Games 1 & 2, Avengers, Halloween ( 2018 ), The Parent Trap ( 1998 ) and The Other Women.

—Favorite musical artist: "Nicki Minaj is my idol and always will be. She taught me so much because of her boss personality. She made me realize I should not be afraid to get called a bitch. Because of her, I know my worth."

—Favorite thing to do: Play volleyball

—Personal mantra: "People are so scared of a woman's success and especially a trans woman's success."

To make a donation to Thomas' arts center, visit ca.gofundme.com/TalentedLalaPerformingArtsCenter.


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