MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tiana Walsh is determined to make a name for herself in the film and modelling industries.
Walsh, a 25-year-old Jamaican residing in the United States of America, has always dreamed of diving head first into the world of acting and modelling. In fact, as a youth attending Mount Alvernia High School in St James, Walsh envisioned herself on a big screen or billboard in a major world city.
That, she told the Jamaica Observer, saw her moving to Florida to pursue a tertiary education after graduating high school in 2015. While it was not the start she was looking for, Walsh knew that that opportunity would bring her a step closer to knocking on the doors she needed to be open.
“I graduated and went to Miami International University in the United States of America. There I studied visual effects and motion graphics — upon going there I actually started out in animation. My true passion was always in acting and modelling, but I felt at that time that I had to have a plan B,” Walsh told the Sunday Observer.
After completing her degree, Walsh decided to journey to New York City, where she continued to market herself as an actress and model while working as an art instructor. After a year, she decided to head back to school.
This time, Walsh told the Sunday Observer, she bet on herself by enrolling in acting school.
“I taught kids how to draw among different forms of art, and in 2021 I went to acting school at the New York Film Academy. I did a one-year acting conservatory and there I just learned more about acting,” said Walsh.
Walsh said that her next goal was to obtain a visa to legally work as an actress and model in the United States. Since then, the young Jamaican has been taking the world of film and modelling by storm. She was the sole Jamaican in the Oscar-nominated film To the Girl that Looks Like Me.
Walsh told the Sunday Observer that she has also booked numerous commercials and another role in a short film.
“I have done a commercial for Tim Hortons and Red Bull. This was my first time being the lead in a commercial. I also did a shoot for Kiss USA Nails and I was a co-lead in that. I feel really good about that because they are a big company,” she said.
“I just finished another film, which I am the lead of. I believe that is going to be submitted to film festivals in the United States and London in November. Recently, I was on a billboard in Times Square for a commercial that I am the lead of,” Walsh added.
While relishing her wins so far, Walsh stated that her parents have played a tremendous role in her achieving her goals. The young woman noted that with the financial support of her parents, she has been able to chase her dreams of becoming an actress and model.
“My parents, especially my mom, invested a lot into helping me get to this point of being to act and model in the United States. It has been a lot of steps and it takes financial help,” said Walsh.
“This year is the first year that I have actually been able to be a bit more financially independent, with my income coming in and making it work. This is a career where the work isn’t guaranteed, but I have just been blessed — God has really shown out for me. Before this, my mother helped me financially,” she said.
As she looks towards her long-term goal of winning awards for her talent, Walsh said she hopes to someday give back to her country through her love for the arts.
“I want to win an Emmy or an Oscar, but currently I am focused on booking a TV series because those are consistent and I just want to be able to act…not just for the money, but I want to be well known for the purpose of giving back and helping people,” she told the Sunday Observer.
Walsh continued, “I want to be able to help people to follow their dreams. I have a notebook with all the things that I want to do. I want to do a lot of humanitarian work because I have been just so blessed. I also believe that if you give back a lot more will come to you.”
In the meantime, she hopes to further her modelling career.
“I was in Vogue before, but I want to be on the cover in the future,” said Walsh.