All POWERED up
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Alumna reaches out to community through her passion for performing arts
Microphone in place, spotlights ablaze, all eyes are on you as your heart pounds and your mind fumbles for words. The frightening reality of this scene is something we don’t see while seated in an auditorium. And when there are no written lines, things can get even more unpredictable.
For Shayla Love Washington, it’s just another Monday.
Washington, a host on Gospel station Power88, has her fair share of experiences in entertainment, making herself heard to audiences far beyond theater walls.
Shayla Washington, born in Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Las Vegas when she was just 10 years old. Washington discovered her passion for performing arts in middle school.
She joined her middle school’s drama club and went on to attend Las Vegas Academy as a theater major. A new talent emerged upon entering high school, as Washington began performing poetry at age 14.
Washington later auditioned and was accepted into the University of Northern Colorado. But she soon realized diving head-first into theater alone was not right for her.
After rethinking her college plans with the help of her mother, Washington decided to attend UNLV at the last minute.
“I was kind of bummed at first,” she said, “but I don’t believe in coincidences.”
Washington used her signature go-getter mentality to make the most of her college experience. She declared a major in broadcast journalism but also became highly involved with organizations on campus like Students Organizing Diversity Activities, the Black Student Organization and the Black Graduate Student Association.
She had a work-study job as a receptionist for CSUN and also performed in plays like “The Bluest Eye” and “Just Another Lie.” She continued to perform poetry and hosted talent shows.
Washington joined UNLV TV in 2007 to contribute both on and off camera. It was through her work as a pulpit coordinator in her church’s teen ministry that Washington found the magic of reaching out through entertainment.
During her college years, Washington began interning for Carlaya of the Juice Up Morning Show on Power88.
“Radio never crossed my mind,” said Washington, who credits her friends for many of her endeavors.
After graduating from UNLV in 2009, she was offered a position to go back to the Juice Up Morning Show, which she gladly accepted.
Working at Power88 and being an entertainer in general has posed some challenges for Washington that doesn’t always show on the air. Radio requires a great deal of improvisation, creativity and serious skill.
When merely given bullet points to entertain a large group of people, Washington must find her own transitions to engage her audience and make everything she says flow.
“With radio, you can’t read your audience. I never know what to expect. It keeps me on my toes,” she said.
Washington must also stay up to date with politics and current events. But her job comes with another set of daily obstacles.
Ironically, Washington said she is a night owl, not a morning person, and she believes time management and balance are the biggest issues for her.
Being on the radio has been life changing for Washington.
“I love meeting people,” she said.
Washington has definitely met quite a few of them, having interviewed celebrities like Bill Belamy, Kisha Campbell of “My Wife and Kids” and intellectual Cornel West.
Most of all, Washington loves reaching out to people and she does so successfully with Power88 as a historical staple for the black community.
Those close to Shayla Washington believe she will help other females in the radio industry and beyond through her passion and charisma.
“She commands attention; people feed off her energy,” said Jania Braggs, her best friend. “She is really there for others.”
“She is an outstanding young lady and a great spirited person,” said Craig Knight, general manager of Power88.
Washington continues to work with UNLV TV, hosting events and working on a video blog for her Web site. She even contributed two of her own works to a recent spoken word event for Black History Month. But it doesn’t stop there.
Washington has many dreams for the future. She hopes to open a spoken word venue on the East Coast, produce her own TV show and possibly even do some standup comedy.