By Gina Malone
Kade’sha Barnard finds herself a long way from her hometown of Asheville these days, living in Los Angeles and pursuing a career in performing arts. She makes her television debut this month, guest starring on Showtime’s longrunning comedy-drama “Shameless” as Gloria, a spoiled college sorority sister looking for an easy way to make some extra money. The series stars Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winner William H. Macy and Golden Globe nominee Emmy Rossum. Barnard calls working on the show the most rewarding experience of her career so far.
“Moving to L.A. and leaving all of my family behind was by far the biggest decision I have ever made,” she says. To combat the nervousness of moving to a big city, she told herself to harbor no expectations and that, she says, is what saved her from culture shock. She describes L.A. as “full of life and adventure,” but admits that living in a big city as an artist has its difficult moments. Still, when young artists ask for advice about moving for the sake of a career, “jump scared” is what she tells them. “Most people fear what they don’t know, therefore hold themselves back from pursuing what they truly love before they even get started.”
Barnard found her life’s calling in the arts at the age of four when she began performing in talent shows in Asheville. “Growing up in a religious household, I naturally found musical inspiration from Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Mary Mary, to name a few,” she says. “It wasn’t until high school when I found the magic of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu and my spirit animal, Jill Scott.” In high school, she became interested in music therapy, and she hosted and performed in her first benefit concert, raising double the projected amount to help underprivileged children. “This was the first time I saw how much of an effect music has on people and from then on I knew I had to pursue a career as a performer,” she says.
She began attending AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in 2013, and graduated with a BFA in music theatre. Since graduating, she has sung background vocals for Andra Day and Miki Howard, and, as part of Hollywood’s 2017 Fringe Festival, she portrayed Inez in the musical Upstairs, based on the true story of a bar in New Orleans that was burned down for entertaining gays.
Besides pursuing her passion for music and acting, it is her mission, she says, to inspire others daily to be true to themselves by pursuing what makes them happy, wherever their dreams may take them. “Always remember: only you have the power to write your own destiny, so always choose to get back up and try again,” she says. “To all my women, and more specifically black women, surround yourself with positive people.” And for those who want to take their dreams from a small city to a big one, she has this advice: “Naturally, being in such a big city, you will constantly push personal boundaries you didn’t even know you had. You want people in your corner who will cheer you on. You got this!”
Kade’sha Barnard will appear in the tenth and eleventh episodes of “Shameless.” To find past and current episodes of the Showtime series, visit Sho.com/ Shameless. Find Barnard’s music, including her latest single “How to Love,” on YouTube and follow her on social media @KadeshaBarnard.