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Zola Mashariki

Mashariki spearheads the creation of scripted and unscripted programming for BET, including “The Game,” which recently ended its nine-year run. “I got into this business to make great stories and to empower creators to tell the stories they believe in. I think having a true passion for the work that you do will inspire the type of groundbreaking material that resonates with a critical mass,” she says.

 

What’s the most important aspect of mentoring?

Opening doors for others to have access to the entertainment industry is very important to me. I try to highlight that there are many careers in entertainment, not just writers, directors and actors. There are cinematographers, editors, executives, gaffers, grips, the list goes on and on. I encourage my mentees to try different things until they find something they love.

 

What/who inspires you at work? What/who inspires you outside the office?

I got into this business to make great stories and to empower creators to tell the stories they believe in. I think having a true passion for the work that you do will inspire the type of groundbreaking material that resonates with a critical mass and so I encourage that level of passion from everyone that I work with. I’m inspired by current events, I’m inspired by the people I work with, and I’m inspired by dreams of a better future. Outside of work, I really love to travel. I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of the world both for personal travel and while making films in different countries. There are so many places that felt at home to me and it has been a joy to bring those stories to life.

 

Best trick for maintaining the personal-professional life balance?

I’m not great at maintaining the balance because I give 1000% to everything I do but I think it’s important to set aside time even if it’s only an hour or two where I’m with my family and loved ones, totally focused on them and giving them all of me. I also have a rule with friends that when we finally are able to sit down for brunch or dinner we don’t gripe at each about how long it’s been since we last spoke–we just fall back in, no worries, no judgments. Why waste time together feeling guilty about missing a phone call? We jump right in where we last left off and it is spectacular.

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