Trinitee Stokes ’24 was recently chosen as one of Essence magazine’s first Girls United-Future Makers Award.
Known for appearing on Disney’s K.C. Undercover and ABC’s Mixed-ish, Stokes is majoring in Political Communication with an emphasis on public diplomacy. The Girls United event, held November 8 in Atlanta, honored young women who “have continued to be the blueprint of our culture” by excelling in “education, activism, entertainment, content creation, and entrepreneurship.”
Stokes spoke to Emerson Today about the award, her entertainment career, life goals, and Emerson College.
Q: What did you think when you heard you’d receive the award?
Stokes: I was completely shocked and excited, I had just finished filming for the day and class for the day. Education has always been really important to me and my family. Being recognized as a champion for education for girls around the world was very exciting.
Q: How has your Emerson experience enriched your life?
Stokes: Oh, my gosh! It’s enriching my life tremendously. Emerson, and specifically the Emerson Mafia – I didn’t know about it when I made my choice to come to Emerson. Especially in the entertainment field, there are so many Emerson alumni. To have that automatic network of people willing to support you in any field you want to go into, makes you thankful you go to Emerson. I network with so many people and meet people from different fields, specializing in international relations, foreign policy, there are a lot of networking possibilities. Also, I studied abroad. I’m glad I got to participate in Global Pathways as well.
Q: What was it like being the closing conference speaker for the 2021 Emerson-Blanquerna Summit in Barcelona? What did you say in your speech?
Stokes: It was wild. It was my freshmen year. I really, really enjoyed it. I spoke about the important correlation of social media and mental well-being that I centered on in my book Bold and Blessed. I was able to educate an adult audience [in] the thought process of a young woman. [The conference was virtual] and I was at home and a couple of faculty were in Barcelona, so I was on this big teletron.
Q: You recently represented the college at the Annual Emerson-Blanquerna Global Summit in Washington, DC. What did that entail?
Stokes: That was such an exciting event for me. It was my first Emerson conference that I could attend this year. The night before the conference we could go and mingle with the employees of the British Embassy. I got to engage with important international relations with people from the UK. [At the conference] I got to listen to a lot of perspectives in the world.
We celebrated Emerson Polling, which is phenomenal, and all the work they’ve been doing. We got to have a keen take on [Emerson Polling] statistics, and what was happening and had happened, as it was prior to the midterms. I got a chance to listen and meet current Emerson students and ask their takes on polling and elections. It was really good for me to be in that atmosphere and attend a conference that was really focused on communications. There was not a lot of use of graphics, so it was great to be detached from media and be emerged in great conversations and people. It was exciting to visit the infamous Watergate Hotel and the room where it happened. Then I left DC to fly to Atlanta to receive my [Essence magazine] award. That was a busy week.
Q: What dreams do you chase and find?
Stokes: Those dreams are, first and foremost making it though the semester with all A’s. I want to make dean’s list.
My long-term goals, I really look forward to hosting award shows and red carpets and be able to put my dreams and ideas in shows and movies on the big screen. I’m currently in the middle of working on about three of my projects at the same time. I’ve always wanted to write, produce, and direct characters I want to play. TV has a big hold on society and I think through TV and movies, I can create opportunities for myself to talk about serious issues. That has always been a goal of mine.
Q: What would you like to do after graduating from Emerson?
Stokes: After graduating from Emerson, I want to pursue a master’s degree, likely in foreign policy with a goal to become a U.S. ambassador. There are a lot of steps to take to get there, and I’m looking forward to putting in the work synchronously with my acting and entertainment career.
I always look to Shirley Temple. The way she could be an actress and work for the United States as an ambassador, I look to her as a big inspiration.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share about the Essence award, yourself, your time at Emerson?
Stokes: I would say this year, along with all the other things I did this year, earlier this spring I was initiated into the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Vice President [Kamala] Harris is a member. It has always been a dream of mine, as my mother is a member. That’s been a wonderful experience.
We are a service organization in sisterhood and focus on education and encouraging girls and women worldwide. I’m really big on service. It’s great at giving back to the community, especially with a big platform.