Tribes to Thrive
We have seen him in TRIBES, the critically-acclaimed comedic short film, and on a trip to Bali, working with Karmagawa (a non-profit that utilizes social-media channels to fight racism, serve meals, recycle plastic, save endangered species, and build schools), to unveil a new school for underprivileged children. Nurturing a career in content creation since 2016, Adam Waheed now sits among the best in the game. “When I first moved here, I wanted to act, but I couldn’t get an agent or manager, couldn’t get an audition. So I made my own stuff. Then I realized I’m not just an actor, I can write it, shoot it, produce it, direct it. I didn’t know I was able to do that. I’ve learned so much about how to rely on teaching myself,” the comedian-influencer recalls. “There were a couple points where I couldn’t pay rent, where I would post something and it would perform horribly, and I’d doubt myself. I had a college degree, and my mom would be like, ‘What are you doing with your life? Get a real job.’ She didn’t really get it.” Yet despite it all, things took off (and his mother quickly became his biggest fan).
Thanks to the popularity of video-content platforms like TikTok in this current global pandemic, Waheed’s career has skyrocketed this past year. He says that the pandemic has put him in a box, but the challenge has also made him a better creator; making jokes relevant to the current times “takes the seriousness away for a second and lets people come together and sit back and laugh about the times they’re in. I focus on trying to lighten things up and bring humor to the situation. They say some of the best comedies are the biggest tragedies.” Comedy, he says, is a means of connecting people that doesn’t always require proximity.
Discussing his own experiences, Waheed wants to offer unwavering positivity to those who need inspiration amid uncertain times. “Positivity is so big. A lot of the reason why I’ve gotten to where I’m now is because I’ve always stayed positive, no matter how bad the situation was. I’m a big visualizer,” he says, adding that he writes in a journal at the beginning and end of every day. While writing down goals for the future, he does so as if he’s already achieved them. Naturally, I ask him which so far has been the most satisfying to cross off. “Build a school,” he responds. With the help of his followers, he was able to raise money through his social-media channels, and build a school (called The Adam Waheed School) in Bali from the ground up. “It’s in a community where they don’t have any buildings. When you go out to those communities, sending clothes or food is great, but it’s [like putting] a BAND-AID. I’m a big advocate for education,” he asserts.
Writer: Jacqueline Kirk
Photographer & Videographer: Haldane Morris
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)