For years, I told people, “Just watch – you’re going to see my name, Tiauna Clark, in lights,” while never knowing how or when, and secretly scared to death of it not coming true.
I had to move around for most of my life, learning to get comfortable anywhere – and fast – helping my mother the way she always worked hard to support me. It was seeing my mother struggle that made me go hard on life. As a child, I swore to become great and to make it.
Then, in 2008, I was 18 when I won the Scenarios USA REAL DEAL writing and filmmaking contest while collaborating with eight other student writers in my New York City classroom.
Scenarios USA changed my life – and the lives of so many other young writers, with as many complex life stories as mine.
Since winning the contest, I have worked with Clark Johnson (The Wire) to create our beautiful film, Misunderstood. I still have a great relationship with him as one of my mentors. I was chosen to become a Tribeca Film Fellow. I co-taught an after-school film and television writing program. I interned at the Mayor’s Office of Film Theater and Broadcasting. I am currently studying at one of the nation’s most prestigious film programs at the School of Visual Arts.
Because of Scenarios USA, I have connected with countless caring adult mentors outside of my family to help me navigate the often treacherous waters into adulthood every step of the way.
Because of Scenarios USA, I know there are people – sometimes strangers – who are here to help prepare us to live with integrity, to speak with confidence, to become our best selves, to become great.