Woman is proof that Chicago is the place to be for actors

‘Empire’ is giving Chicago actors opportunities they may have never had before.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - ‘Empire’ is giving Chicago actors opportunities they may have never had before.

And because of it, Chicago is quickly becoming a destination for people wanting to hit it big in the industry.

One woman is proof of that, and she's hoping young people take notice.

"I was one of the first hip hop dancers to appear in music videos and I’m really proud of that," said Jossie Harris Thacker.

Thacker has done it all.

As a dancer, she's toured and been in videos with top performers, such as Janet Jackson in "That's the Way Love Goes" and Michael Jackson in "Remember the Time", as well as Mary J. Blige in “Real Love.”

She was also "Renee" in the Lost Boys video, and a popular "Fly Girl" on “In Living Color.”

But it's her acting resume that she hopes to grow with her move from LA two months ago to the newest place for actors to be.

"I really feel like I’ve been led to Chicago. I feel like I’m supposed to be here," Thacker said.

After all, her agent is in Chicago and she was the first African American-Latino to be awarded best supporting actress by the Chicago International Film Festival for her work in the movie "Mississippi Damned".

“I moved my family here, I had no idea. All I had was my great agents. Patti and Michelle from Gil Hayes Talent Agency and a dream,” Thacker said.

Within a week, her dream came true when she was cast as a music video director on Empire.

"It was just a great experience. They’re a wonderful cast. It was great seeing Taraji. I remember as I was walking on set, there she was standing right there. We just saw each other and gave each other a really big hug,” Thacker said.

She hopes to become part of the Empire.

"What's next is uh, they're gonna hopefully bring me back as a resident video director,” Thacker said. "I would love to come back as a cougar. He needs another cougar in his storyline."

In the meantime, she plans to give back to the city that has already been so good to her.

"I really want to work with the youth. I know there's a lot of violence but my acting classes that I offer is one of the main reasons that I’m here. I came here of course for work, but I also came because I wanted to contribute to what was going on in Chicago," Thacker said.

She plans to keep kids on the right path by showing them a new one to take.

“I just feel like those of us who have been blessed, if we have something and we feel like that's something good, we should spread the love, especially nowadays,” Thacker said.

First lesson? Follow your dream, even if others think it may never come true.

"My message is you gotta go for yours. You can’t wait around for people. You gotta go, you might not want to relocate to a whole state like I did, but why not? It worked for me,” Thacker said.

Thacker is looking for ways to teach young people and wants to partner with schools in Chicago. She also wants to continue to teach acting to adults.

You can contact Jossie Harris Thacker at: JossieThacker@gmail.com and follow her on YouTube, here. 

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