School: Florida International University
Major: Journalism & Mass Communications
Charles Swindell once mentioned “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” When Soraya laid in a hospital bed suffering from Crohn’s disease, she vowed to herself that when she gets healed she would pursue her career in journalism wholeheartedly. In fact, it was during those painful times that she found writing in her journal therapeutic. Fast forward to today , it is quite obvious that she didn’t let her setback become her reality.She’s been recognized as one of the top 19 “Women in Media” by iHeart Media & Power 105.1 (along with xoCEO Necole Kane), and was the youngest on the list. In her own words, her hustle can be summed up as: “Writing, hosting, and doing the most-ing!” Lets find out more about Soraya.
Where were you six months after college?
Life after college was a bit dry. I moved to NYC the next day after graduating with no jobs prospect. However, I ended up contributing to a lifestyle blog called “Friends With Benefits” and was working in the retail and restaurants industry. However, my friends from BrklynStickup noticed my writing and asked me to be their publicist. While I was pitching them to a popular Hip Hop website, that same website ended up offering me a salaried position. I was excited, I thought this was my big break until they had to let me go 4 months later because of budget cuts. Here I was again, back to square one applying for jobs.
What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?
- This is just temporary.
- There’s no testimony without a test
- No matter how lonely you may feel, you’re never alone. God is protecting you at all times.
What is something that people don’t know about Soraya?
I have an appreciation for the medical field. Most women in my family are nurses including my mother. Despite my love for journalism, I hope one day to acquire my nursing degree.
In a recent article you wrote about spending 8 hours everyday at Starbucks while applying for your dream job. What was the drive behind that?
It was passion but also purpose. You see passion is for yourself and purpose is selfless. When you start believing that what you’re doing is not for you but to help and inspire others that becomes your purpose. I started using my passion for writing and transparency as a responsibility. I love to help people and I know it sounds cliché but if being transparent and honest is part of that journey then I will be that. When you realize your purpose in life it’s a different steam that fuels you.
What does the phrase “freshman year of life” means to you?
My Freshman Year of Life means to me the two awakenings that I had.
My freshman year of life began in college where the name Sojo was birthed because I was social, cool and about my business. However, people didn’t know that I was hospitalized throughout my high school career for Crohn’s disease and how dependent I used to be on the hospital nurses and my parents. A few months before graduating from high school I went as far as telling myself that I was going to live a comfortable life and that my best day would be a day where I had no pain in my stomach. So when I got healed by the grace of God, I had this fire inside of me, I felt like I was given another chance. I was determined to conquer the journalism part of me by participating in the school newspaper and student clubs. I want people to know that God wants you to be Great and not just good.
My second awakening was when I quit my job and moved back home to Florida for 6 months with my mom. I felt I was back in the process of applying for jobs, however I was never discouraged because I knew I was ready for whatever opportunity that was coming my way. Although it looked like I had nothing but I knew I had everything.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a journalist in the entertainment industry?
It was the same exact time that I decided that I wanted to be a journalism major in college. I always enjoyed reading a great personal piece about a public figure. I just thought it was so fascinating that someone could personalize their stories, especially when I felt they were untouchable and almost unreal. It felt like they were bringing the dream a little closer to you.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
As the Creator of CThaGod.com, sometimes I would find myself afraid of coming toward Charlamagne with ideas and that my persistent might be confused as annoying. So he told me “Do not ever be afraid to be persistent around me or with me. Because if there’s one thing I know, is that when I want what I want I am the most persistent motherfucker out there. Better to ask for forgiveness then permission, cause what if that shit works.”
If you were to write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell her?
Baby girl you are beautiful and everything you set your heart in life to get; including being cured from Chromes will pass. Life will be tough, scary and sometimes hurtful but you will get over it and that will be one of the hardest gains of your life. By being cured from Crohn’s, you have physically overcome the hardest thing in your life. You are a warrior not to be confused with a worrier. Also, if you come across someone who tells you that you’re anything less from bright, that’ s someone who is unworthy of being around you.
Complete the Sentence…
My drop everything and dance song is: Juvenile- Back that Ass Up.
The person that keeps me going: Parents, God and my brother.
First Celebrity I interviewed: Rita Ora Power
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