Her advice to other young people: “Do what you love and learn a skill. It may seem insignificant now, but who knows you may be able to earn a dollar off of it. And never think to yourself that it seems too far-fetched. There is no limit to your strength and imagination, and if you can have a little faith and believe in what you’re doing, you will exceed and succeed.”
WHEN Guyana opened the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama (NSTAD) in 2013, Natasha Azeez was among the first batch of students who enrolled. A young mother, who worked in the media at the time, Azeez held a childhood passion for public speaking and had big dreams of pursuing a career in the creative industry. It was, therefore, no surprise that she outshone her peers, and graduated top of her class in the areas of Research, Designing and History of Theatre Arts.
But how lucrative is a career path in such an industry, in a country like Guyana, one may ask? To Azeez, it’s the doorway to endless opportunities for individual and professional growth. Now at age 29, she is not only a well-known and talented actress and artist but a storyteller, designer, media personality and young entrepreneur who has successfully managed to merge her creative talents with a high degree of professionalism that ensures her economic and personal advancement.
Owner of ‘Customised and Traditional Creations’, Azeez has earned a name for herself in the theatre world as the Guyanese folk character of ‘Janie Gyal’ alongside ‘Ole’ Man Pappie,’ played by famed Guyanese artist Michael Khan. In 2011, the pair started ‘Saturdays with Brer Anansi and Friends’ at the National Library and ‘Tales, Myths and Legends of Guyana’ at the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology in observance of Amerindian Heritage Month.
The young woman, who grew up at Vriesland on the West Bank of Demerara began working at age 16, immediately after graduating from the Patentia Secondary School. She subsequently pursued studies at Global Technology and later secured a Diploma in digital photography and video editing at the Kuru Kuru Cooperative College. She is now pursuing a Degree in Public Communication at the University of Guyana.
Previously, Azeez worked as an accounts clerk, trainee reporter, television/radio producer and emcee before she launched her own business in 2014 based on skills acquired at NSTAD. She described how the design class helped her to develop ideas, product development and concepts for marketing. Her business involves the creations of customised items for any occasion; birthdays, anniversaries, launches and interior and exterior designs. From candles, floral décor and centerpieces to wooden creations and other artistic paraphernalia, Azeez markets her products on social media and at various events and expositions. She participated in Business Expo 2015 and Sonia Noel’s ‘Women in Business’ Expo 2016.
She is hoping to explore the design of Mashramani floats and more wooden creations, sculptures and crochet items in the future.