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Meet Given Sharp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Given Sharp.

Given, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began acting in local theatre productions as a kid as a way to come out of my shell. I ended up really developing a passion for it though and was eventually urged by a castmate to look into acting professionally. After getting an agent, I began working in film and television in Atlanta as a teenager. Since turning 18, I’ve had the pleasure of working on numerous shows, including The Vampire Diaries, Marvel’s The Gifted, and Star. Last year, I booked my first recurring role as Shawna Sunderland on DC’s Swamp Thing. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working on two upcoming Netflix projects that are set for release later this year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At the time I was shocked and confused, I had always thought that RA was something that only elderly people could have. Turns out you can be diagnosed with RA at any stage in life. The first few years were tough, I was constantly sore, swollen, and in pain. I had to try many different medications before finding the right fit and dealt with awful side effects like fatigue, depression, and hair loss- all while also trying to deal with the normal trials and tribulations of High School. This was a blow to my self-confidence, and I began to feel that I was going to be limited in life due to my chronic pain. In time, I’ve learned to live with my symptoms and even grow from it. I’ve also learned a valuable lesson in that you never truly know what someone could be going through. Everyone is fighting their own battles. I’ve learned to use my own health struggles to better empathize with others. I truly believe I’m a better actor and person because of it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Right now, between the global pandemic and the protesting of police brutality and the systematic racism that has plagued this country for years, I decided that I could no longer stay silent on such pressing issues on my public platforms. Since I could not attend large protests due to having a compromised immune system, I decided that I could weaponize social media apps like TikTok and Instagram to help spread knowledge and, hopefully, change minds. I created videos, as well as webcomics, relating to both the pandemic and Black Lives Matter. I was not expecting such a large response, but I was happy that as a cis-gendered white person, I could use my voice and privilege for good. I never spoke up about pressing issues because I always figured no one would care about what I had to say. Since then, I’ve realized that each of us have the power to make change. I think we’re all beginning to wake up to that, and I think social media plays a huge part in it all.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of luck. Chance, maybe, but mostly just hard work. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m just now starting to make tangible progress. I’m just now beginning to have something to show for it. As an actor, for every one-hundred auditions, I go out for a maybe book one. You have to be patient. It might be a cliche, but the most important thing is not giving up. Once you start something, stick with it. You’d be surprised how far you can go if you just put yourself out there. That being said, I am incredibly blessed to have a great support system. My family has always been very supportive of my dream to pursue a career in the arts. Not a lot of people have that, so I’m very lucky in that regard.

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