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Student Stories

Fresh Encounters: Ashara Wilson

Ashara Wilson lives her life as if she is currently in a flashback, and her future self is giving a commencement speech. She loves television's ability to not only to entertain, but also teach and shed light on stories. She's currently creating a short-form miniseries tackling the stigma of mental health and therapy...

Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? 

What attracted me to the Academy is the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Because I have a multitude of interests in varying academic fields, I appreciate the way the Academy allows me to explore most of them seamlessly. I understand better, now that my first year is almost over, that the skills I am learning here have direct application to the working world. The Iovine and Young Academy is truly unrivaled.

Describe a passion project you’re currently working? 

As both an avid lover of all things television and a self-proclaimed writer, I am in the process of creating a short-form miniseries. I am tackling the stigma surrounding mental health and the taboo topic of talk therapy. The story surrounds one psychiatrist and her patients, each revealing a personal battle that any viewer can relate to. My goal is to show that there doesn’t have to be anything “wrong” to see a therapist, but if there is that’s okay too.
I am also a writer for Haute Magazine, a new publication here at USC. In the fall two of my pieces will be published, one surrounding friendship and the other is an encouraging letter to my fellow overly stressed peers.

What inspired the project?


I have loved television ever since I can remember. I appreciate that it is more than a way to entertain - it can also teach and shed light on stories that have the capability of effecting others. Approaching a topic as grandiose as mental health in the form of quick, easily digestible episodes is something that has been on my mind lately. It is only natural that I actually do it.

Writing for Haute has been a really fun process. What inspired my short story on friendship is the idea that some friendships are born of convenience rather than mutual likes and interests. The other was inspired by my stressed-out friends who are engineering majors. They could use an encouraging reminder that things get better.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 


Michelle Obama - her continued service to the community in partnership with her grace makes her an inspiration in my eyes.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?


Except for matters of life and death, nothing is ever as important as it first seems.

What are three goals you have this year?

  1. Explore LA more
  2. Write a complete script
  3. Make meaningful network connections

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I live my life as if I am currently in a flashback, and my future self is giving a commencement speech.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

Sometimes you do things you have to do to be able to do things you want to do. It serves as a reminder for me to endure some hardships/difficult phases of life so that I am able to live how I imagine in the future.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?

I will always have a water bottle with me, for some reason I have an insatiable thirst. #hydration

Favorite app or website?

YouTube. While I have always loved this website, and have even posted a few videos, just recently I have gotten into watching niche documentaries. Some of my favorite channels include Unreported World and Broadly.

Favorite class at USC and why?

My Writ 150 has been surprisingly enjoyable. The topics surround globalization and I have written papers on cultural appropriation, Fyre Fest, and women’s beauty standards. This class feels relevant to not only what is happening across the globe, but also within my everyday life.


Favorite way to de-stress:

Oreos, Keeping up with the Kardashians

Thank you, Ashara!