CSULB Student Asha Kamali May Named Best Female Actress in NBC Universal’s Star Project

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Actress and CSULB student Asha Kamali May.

Actress and CSULB student Asha Kamali May.

Asha Kamali May, a veteran stage and screen performer currently attending California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) as a master of fine arts acting student, was recently named Best Actress by NBC Universal’s Star Project. The competition was held in conjunction with the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the largest and longest running film festival for African American filmmakers.

May was one of more than 2,000 performers who competed for the opportunity to be seen by casting directors, producers and executives as a finalist in New York City during the ABFF. She was one of six selected, and was flown to New York in June where she was chosen as the Best Female Actress.

“I am so excited to have been given this award. It was an amazing experience for them to fly me to New York for the festival, and to audition at NBC’s 30 Rock building was amazing,” said May. “NBC and the American Black Film Festival has a long history of helping to develop diverse talent, and I’m honored to be in this legacy.”

This year ABFF partnered with NBC Universal, among other entertainment powerhouses, to create showcases and competitions for up and coming actors, comedians, filmmakers and television hosts. These platforms provide exposure for tomorrow’s rising stars and leaders in television and film.

“The opportunities for minorities in Hollywood are still marginalized, and it’s as necessary as ever to push to promote diversity throughout the industry, from the images projected on screen, to the creative forces behind the scenes. We work with our partners to help advance talented newcomers with their careers,” said ABFF Founder and CEO Jeff Friday.

May has starred in national commercials, television, independent films and theater and has been an on-camera personality, hosting red carpets for Soultrain.com and BET.com. As a dancer and choreographer, she has worked with several artists to develop their career. Her most recent choreography work was with Keke Palmer, choreographing music videos and national tours. Currently, she is the co-creator, writer, producer and actress of a digital series, Milk and Honey.

“I was referred to Hugh O’Gorman, chair of the CSULB’s theatre department by a television director who was also my teacher at the time. She was adamant that Hugh was someone I should continue my studies with. I initially wanted to further my craft, and get a deeper understanding of acting and the teaching of acting. But in my first year I have received so much more,” said May. “The MFA program has challenged me and expanded my understanding of acting as I have gotten to perform, teach and be a student all at the same time. Like a student of any field, the goal of obtaining my MFA is to reach the highest levels of study in my craft and continue to work as a professional in the field.”

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