After speaking with Ava Justin, no one could rightfully say there aren’t any focused pre-teen professionals in the entertainment industry. This hardworking actress, model, student, athlete and entrepreneur-extraordinaire is a phenom on the rise. With a strong support system of family and friends, Justin claims to conquer whatever crosses her path with prayer, gusto and tenacity.

As a child actress, Justin has already tucked an extensive resume under her belt. She recently starred in No Regrets with Brian White and Sharon Leal, appeared on Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards, and is currently filming on large features. During her growing (yet expansive) acting career, Justin has worked with heavy-hitting actors such as Loretta Devine and Laurence Fishburne.

An actress by trade, Justin has other passions that fuel her love for life as well. She is a straight-A student, an expressive model, a fastpitch softball pitcher with a mean arm, and she even has a line of cosmetics she proudly crafts with love and care.

I recently spoke with Justin about her many current projects and life in general. I was moved by the eloquence, wisdom and purpose of this brilliant, young force. It is evident that she is on a mission to make the world a better place in everything she says and does.

Watch out, world! Ava Justin is coming up.

ON HER LIFE AND MINDSET

KJ: Actress, entrepreneur, young force on the rise… What and how would you describe yourself at this point in life?

AJ: I’m Ava Justin. I’m 12 years old. Modeling and acting are my passions. I’m also a social media influencer. I have a page on Instagram that is growing. I’m currently in a movie called Brother’s Keeper with the Laurence Fishburne and Milo Gibson (Yes, Mel’s son!). I am so grateful and blessed. God is leading me in so many awesome directions!

KJ: What have been some of your favorite hats to wear?

AJ: Out of everything — out of all of my passions and activities — I really love acting and modeling the most. I love being in front of the camera and performing. I also enjoy reporting local stories as a television journalist with KMSP Fox 9 here in Minnesota. Oh, and I enjoy playing softball as pitch.

KJ: You are so talented and gifted. I am impressed.

AJ: Thank you so much. I thank God in everything I do. I try to do my best, and I always pray and ask God to help me. Before auditions and whenever I do anything, I ask God to get the role or whatever it is. If I don’t get the role, then I know something better is coming. I just try to stay focused, and ask God for direction.

KJ: As awesome, fun and glamorous as acting seems and sounds to most people who are not in the entertainment industry, I’m sure there are some drawbacks to acting. What are some drawbacks to acting full time?

AJ: Audition rejections are discouraging. I know that it’s a process to getting the next roll. You have to continue to work hard… continue to audition, but it’s hard when you don’t get a role you want. I just believe the next role I get will be better and meant for me. I just keep working at it, taking acting classes, and doing my best going for it.

KJ: On the positive side of acting, what advice would you give to anyone who chooses to pursue acting as a full-time passion?

AJ: Ignore fame and money. Truly enjoy it and have fun. I love acting. Don’t do it if you don’t love it. Put in the work, and everything will work out. Really, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, there’s no point in doing it.

KJ: You can apply that to life overall.Time is valuable. Don’t waste it on doing things that don’t work for you. Let’s double back to you as “Ava the Entrepreneur”… What inspired you to launch your new line of Ava’s Luxury Cosmetics, and what is the vision for your brand?

AJ: Ava’s Luxury Cosmetics lip balm is my line, and I sell it on Etsy. I’ve always loved lip balms. I started experimenting with different ingredients, and I am really proud of my products and brand. Its page on Instagram is @avasluxurycosmetics. I feature new products there.

KJ: Do you have a secret sauce for juggling all of your responsibilities — especially being a young woman moving and shaking into young adulthood?

AJ: I try to go with the flow and prioritize. Even though I love acting, school comes before everything. You have to be educated in life.

ON HER PERSONAL INSPIRATIONS AND INTERESTS

KJ: What inspires you and why?

AJ: I have a mentality to strive for improvement. Watching others’ hard work is a motivator for me, and I know I can reach my success, too, when I work to get better.

KJ: Who inspires you and why?

AJ: Lena Waithe. She is killing it. She is so inspirational and motivational. She’s a writer, producer, actor. She’s just amazing.

KJ: You have to find some time to relax, though. How do you chill? What are some of your hobbies?

AJ: I really love having a swim with friends, going to water parks, spending time with my family and going to the cabin. Reading a good book is relaxing, too.

KJ: What are your favorite subjects to study?

AJ: My school year just ended, and I really had a fabulous year. I got all As! What I learned is that I really like math. (laughs.) Yeah, I had to improve in some areas of math because while I was learning new concepts, I was challenged to work harder. The hard work was so rewarding, though, because I achieved my goals. The whole experience was a confidence booster.

KJ: We’re down to the last question. Is there anything else you want the world to know about you?

AJ: I just want people to have the right mentality in whatever they’re doing. Keep your head up in bad circumstances because it — the situation — can only get better. You can always learn from your mistakes. I try to always learn to improve in life, and that is everything.


This exclusive feature was published in The Connect’s Summer 2018 issue. You may purchase the full issue here, or download the digital version here.