Arts Maven LaQuanda McCoullum Talks Self Discovery & Giving Birth to Passion

Being a Philly native, survival and perseverance are things that LaQuanda McCoullum is all too familiar with. She grew up surrounded by a family of ministers, including her mother. When LaQuanda was 18, she found out her mother had breast cancer, and unfortunately just 3 years later, her mother lost that fight. Battling grief seemed an insurmountable task, so she engrossed herself in church, family, performing arts, work, and service for other people. As a young wife and mother, it wasn’t easy to find a space for herself.

Despite her challenges, with God, she was able to do the hard work to rediscover who she was and created her brand, I Do 2 Me, embodying her purpose and journey. LaQuanda stands today as an Emmy nominated producer and 2x published author.

LaQuanda is a motivational and informational speaker, as well as a creative director for brands and projects that nourish and align with her purpose. — Today, she creates purposeful content through books, productions and On-Camera Coaching for Professionals. She also hosts events and workshops for various professionals and creatives.

The things LaQuanda has endured and overcome with the help of God’s love and grace, have given her the position and ability to help other people rediscover what God invested in them.

We love what you do and the energy you bring!!! — Would you say that your personality and character is an asset to your experience in the creative and performing arts industries?

I would definitely say that my personality and character is an asset to my experience. I’m silly. I don’t think people know that about me at first glance. I always say there is a group of people that know I’m funny and then there is a group of people who don’t know I’m silly or funny. But When I’m in a creative zone I’m completely uninhibited and that silly, funny, quirky personality makes people feel super comfortable and it’s realized when working with me on set.

When did your passion for this kind of work begin and how did you nurture it?

I would say my passion was unearthed in kindergarten, so 4 or 5 years of age. I talk about it in my book. I didn’t recognize it then but in hind sight, I clearly see where the fanning of the flame began.

What does self discovery mean to you?

HMMMMM I talk about this EXHAUSTIVELY in my book, I do 2 Me. But self discovery to me is the stripping away of all the crap life layered on you in order to be reconnected to the person you were created to be from the beginning of time. There is a scripture when God was talking to Jeremiah that said before you were in your mothers womb, I knew you… So that allows me to know that who we are is already there when the seed was planted into the womb just like a apple seed or or any seed for that matter… All the stuff is already in there, it just needs to be cultivated. Another scripture says, you have everything you need to live a Godly life. We are complete at conception, we just have to figure out what kind of tree we are so we can be planted in the right environments and circumstances to promote the greatest productivity.

Were there any notable challenges for you along the way? How did you manage to overcome?

I have SO MANY notable challenges in my life…. I would say one of the first and most substantial was losing my mother… I will be brave, honest enough to say that 22 years later, I have not overcome it. I’ve learned to live with the idea that I lost her too soon. Grief is one BIG pill that I’ve had to swallow many many times and I think I manage, but overcome… Not so much. But I keep living with the grace of God. So having that solid relationship with God helps me tremendously.

Was there a pivotal moment that happened to cause your shift, leading to creating I Do 2 Me?

The pivotal shift was when I lost my grandmother. My mom was a single parent for the most part and so my grandmom was like both our mom’s… So when my mom passed away my grandmom really became a mother to me. When my grandmom died, I felt the urgency to finish.

Tell us about your book! — What was your mission when writing and what can readers expect from your new release?

HMMMMM where do I begin. When I first wrote the book being a young wife and mother, the book was more about creating and making space for your dreams but this new release is evolved slightly. So yes, it still talks about making space but it also includes truly and authentically knowing and spending time with who you are because although making space and time is important is it much better use of time and space if you actually know who you are.

How do you enjoy connecting with audiences through speaking and hosting?

I absolutely LOVE people. I love the energy of people. I love groups. I love working in teams anything having to do with being together with people, there you can find me in a truly happy space.

What are some habits you’ve adopted to keep you in alignment with your goals and purpose?

I don’t know if I would call it habits that I’ve adopted, but there is something burning on the inside of me that won’t allow me to burn out. I kinda feel like Jeremiah when he said it was like fire shut up in my bones. The idea – the knowing that I haven’t arrived to places God showed me through dreams and imagination. Additionally, I’ve experienced a TON of loss in my life which amplifies the idea that I don’t leave this world without having at least giving birth to the passion God created me with.

Share something that you feel makes you special, that helps you stand out from others doing work in the same spaces?

What makes me stand out, I would say is my willingness to be myself regardless of my environment. A lot of people mask up (not covid mask, LOL) but wear a different mask for every room they enter. I have learned to bring my entire self into the room with me. That wasn’t always easy and still isn’t all the time but I’m striving to be me at all times. But I do think that’s what makes me stand out.

If you could share advice with the woman of color who feels stuck, what would you woman who feel stuck...

Hmmm. I would simply say, YOU ARE WORTH it. Do whatever it takes to dig yourself out because you, your children, your cousins, your brothers and sisters, your coworkers – the world in in desperate need of your light.

Photography: @allmoneyshots