What inspired you to work in the entertainment industry?
This is such a funny question because most people don’t know, I was supposed to be a doctor. Being that my mother is from Eritrea and my dad from Nigeria, there’s always that joke and true Africans understand that you’re raised to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. So I was in the medical academy all 4 years in high school and even started taking classes in college to become a doctor, but ever since I was a young kid, the entertainment industry always intrigued me.
Once I got the courage to tell my parents at the age of 15, they looked at me with a blank stare. With that being said I had to work to earn enough money to buy my first car at the age of 16 so I could take myself to auditions because they weren’t going to do it. They didn’t understand the industry so I had to prove to them that this was my passing and I was going to be successful in it. Trust me that was not an easy task!
Why did you feel that your education was important to your career?
if we’re being honest, I did not think my education would be as important to my career as I do today. I honestly went to school and continued higher education to please my parents and make them proud. But today as an adult, I’m so thankful for my parents because if it wasn’t for them, I would not have went to Howard University to get my Masters. They both taught me that no matter what you do, education always has to come first. Today I feel like my education is very important to my career because not only have I learned discipline, but I have the brains and book smart to back me up. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to rep the most prestigious HBCU in history?
What are some of the skills needed be successful in your industry?
Currently I am Ebony Magazine’s lead correspondent and a correspondent for many other media outlets. My responsibilities consist of attending big events and representing for these amazing brands on the red carpet and interviewing the most phenomenal people you could think of. Depending on what media outlet I am a reporter for, sometimes I actually have to write an article on the celebrity that I interview as well. I am also a TV host and just finished an 8 year run hosting my own music video countdown that was aired in Africa and Europe called ‘Sound Pulse’. These are the beginning steps to my goal of being a Multi Media Mogul.
What does success look like for you?
This is such a good question. Anytime I get ask this question, it re-lights my motivational flame. Success for me is simply making my family proud and being able to take care of anything and everything they desire, like they did for me growing up. My family are immigrants and sacrificed their entire life just to make sure the kids in our family had a better life than they did. They have succeeded beyond all measures and it honestly would mean the world to me to be able to pay them back. Money and fame is cool, but seeing a smile on my mother’s face, my father’s face, my aunts’ and my uncles’ faces, is more than riches to me.
What advice would you give someone younger who seeks to work in the entertainment industry
I always give the cliché answer “Never Give Up”, but with an actual story to back it up. Coming from someone who didn’t necessarily get the support of being in the entertainment industry from his family at first, I worked my butt off to make sure my family backed me up. Today they are so proud and so excited to see where my talents will take me tomorrow. Growing up in this industry, I had to learn so much. I heard NO waaaay more than I heard YES and it honestly used to affect me terribly. My entire day would be ruined, sometimes I would cry, but I really had to learn to turn that NO into motivation to get a YES at the next audition. I’ve slept in my car, I’ve slept on couches, I’ve flown across the country on my own dime for an audition without even having enough money to eat. The grind I have put into this career, many wouldn’t be able to handle. Don’t be that person who can’t handle the grind and find that want to persevere! Just DON’T GIVE UP!
Instagram TikTok & Twitter: @YonathanEliasTV
Yonathan Elias is an Eritrean/Nigerian TV Personality, Actor, and Model from Inglewood, California, who has been stealing the spotlight in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. This Howard University Alum and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. uses his brand of being 1st Generation in the United States to uplift other 1st generational men and women, in their hopes and dreams of following their passion, just like he did.
Elias first became known around the globe as a viral sensation after he produced a YouTube video named “D.C. Metro,” which received more than 700,000 views. Today, Elias is considered a YouTube sensation with more videos counting up to 2 million views. He increased his fan base even more after co-hosting BET’s number one rated music video show, “106 & Park.”
Elias is also known for being a principal cast member of BET’s HIT REALITY SHOW ‘Grand Hustle’ alongside T.I. while hosting popular podcasts and TV programs aired globally!
Yonathan Elias is currently Ebony Magazine’s Lead Correspondent/Media Personality and is storming the TV/Film and Commercial scene. So keep your eyes out! You might just see him on your TV screen!