Finding Success and Self-Validation as an ‘Artrepreneur,’ Actress, Singer, and Business Owner: Dorian McCorey

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Dorian McCorey’s story is a true testament to how far hard work, dedication, intentional decision-making, and the relentless pursuit of your passion will take you. While most people start figuring out what they want to do around the time they pick their majors in undergrad, Dorian has been working toward her dream of becoming an actress since she was a little girl. A recent graduate of Elon University with a B.F.A in Music Theatre, Dorian is currently an actress signed to D.G.R.W, a boutique film and theatre agency in New York City, in addition to running her own highly successful photography business, DMcCorey Photography.

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Dorian began performing at an early age, from singing in church, to putting on performances for her parents in the living room, to doing local theatre at her middle school. Before heading to high school, she auditioned for a very competitive local arts school. She was accepted, but I had no idea what I was getting into. That was the very being of her professional development as an artist, and her introduction to training and developing her craft. I attended The Governor’s School for the Arts with a focus in music theatre while simultaneously attending Oscar Smith High School in another city. Before graduating high school, the same audition process began again but on a larger scale. She auditioned for BFA Theatre/Music Theatre programs around the country, and ended up deciding on Elon University’s nationally ranked program. From there, she was in several school productions such as Chicago, Ragtime, and Working. Outside of rehearsals for shows and the classroom, she slowly but surely began to build a profitable and high-demand on-campus photography business. After graduating from Elon, she did a summerstock gig as an actress and used that saved money to move to New York.

Some of the companies that DMcCorey Photography clients work for include A Bronx Tale on Broadway, The Lion King National Tour, Ailey II, Complexions Ballet, Beyonce` 2016 VMA performers, and Fiorello Off-Broadway, among others.

I had the opportunity to chat with Dorian about where she gleans her inspiration from, and what important lessons she’s quickly learning as a young, Black actress and entrepreneur. Check out our full interview below!

| Who or what inspires you and why? |

My parents inspire me. Their sacrifice for me to have the most opportune life is enough of a motivation within itself. They both didn’t come from much, but gave me everything–That is the deepest definition of love. My friends inspire as well. All of them tour with Alvin Ailey or Complexions Ballet or are on Broadway or national tours. Our shared drive for excellence encourages me. Other “artrepreneurs” inspire me as well. I spend a lot of time researching about different entrepreneurs and artists who build a business off of their brand and take notes from them to add that to my work and process. The work itself inspires me, too. I love what I do, performing and photography, and that itself pushes me to be greater. I am lucky to say that I love all the clients I work for as well, so I want to give them my best, too.

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| What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far in life? |

I used to be so caught up in everyone else that I didn’t believe in the beauty and ability of myself. I was waiting for someone to validate me instead of just validating myself. When I stopped sleeping on myself, my life changed and the things I wanted actually began appearing. – Dorian McCorey
The greatest lesson I have learned so far in life is to never sleep on yourself. I hate to use such a casual phrase in a professional feature, but I think it’s the most accurate phrase I can use to express how I feel. It’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s success or hype, and to forget about yourself or to think that you are not on that level. My friends joke and say I’m the queen of the glow-up, but it’s truth. Not glowing up in regards to strictly physical appearance, but in regards to standards and life. I am always thinking of ways to improve, but I wasn’t always like that. I used to be so caught up in everyone else that I didn’t believe in the beauty and ability of myself. I was waiting for someone to validate me instead of just validating myself. When I stopped sleeping on myself, my life changed and the things I wanted actually began appearing.

| What does Black Professional Magic mean to you, and how do you feel you embody it? |

I make life seem glamorous online, but there’s a true hustle and a lot of work. That’s magical.
I think Black Professional Magic is a state of being and not just a status. We attribute so much excellence to just prestige and accomplishments, but it’s your lifestyle and mindset that brings you to the reward. Remaining focused, going for your dreams, remembering your value no matter what the media says. That’s magical.
I think Black Professional Magic honors the lifestyle of achieving African Americans. Those who believe that they can accomplish anything and actually put forth the work to do so. I think I embody Black Professional Magic because I think I do that. I try to put the work forth that pushes me closer to my dreams. Whether it’s struggling in New York and waking up at 5am to go to auditions or standing in 50 degree weather trying to get the perfect headshot. I make life seem glamorous online, but there’s a true hustle and a lot of work. That’s magical. Whatever “no’s” or “not yet’s” are against you, keep grinding for your “yes.”
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| What advice do you have for other Black professionals?|

Devote time to yourself. If you aren’t accomplishing your goals, don’t blame it on the universe or just let it be–analyze the why; what is the lesson, and how can you improve? Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Use these lessons to learn, and then cultivate your own standards. Stop making excuses for yourself. Surround yourself with people who don’t allow you to be a victim, but encourage you to be a champion. Use your community. Black people are magic–we should love and support ourselves on our journeys to the top. Also, take notes from people who are where you want to be. I am an absolutely self-taught photographer, from the business side to the actual art of photography, to bussing tables and singing songs on a cruise ship to use my tips to buy my camera and lenses. I have learned from seeing others and getting it for myself. Don’t wait for someone to hand something to you, go get it yourself.
/// Dorian, you truly have so much brilliance, insight and wisdom beyond your years that will continue to make you successful throughout your career and in your life! Thank you for sharing your journey with us–we all have so much we can learn from it!

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