Twenty-seven-year-old Tiffany Pilgrim is someone that Barbados should be proud of. Not only is she a veteran of the United States Army, but she is also a trained actress, a certified Adobe Visual Design Specialist and is a certified Community Producer at BRIC which is a community media centre in Brooklyn, New York.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Pilgrim said she left Barbados and moved to New York City while she was still a secondary school student. It was after completing high school that she enlisted in the United States Army as a Motor Transport Operator.
“I was the third one from my father’s side of the family in New York to go to the US Army. I like to say that I was the third wave. There were other female family members who went before me; the only thing is I was Bajan-born. I recently learned from my mother’s side that I have a male cousin who was a Major in the US Army but is retired now. I cannot say it was initially my idea enlisting, but I did not necessarily have a plan either. However, it was a suggested opportunity,” she said.
There is much more to Pilgrim than being a former member of the US Army. She is very creative, a trained actress, a certified community producer and a User Experience Designer (UX).
“From as early as six or seven-years-old I have been very involved in the arts. I would draw on anything that I could find and make construction paper cards. I also would make paper booklets out of printer paper. I would grab a bunch of paper, fold it into vertical half and use my father’s staple machine to bind it together. I would call them booklets and would give it to my cousins as a gift whenever I went to their house so they could draw at their home too. As I reminisce, yes, I would often do those things. It was quite innocent and I smile about it now. My parents gave me free will to pursue my creative passions,” she said.
Pilgrim said one of the highlights of her career was when she signed up for a filmmaking workshop with the Patton Veterans Project.
“As a multi-passionate creative, I have done many things from the US military, with social media marketing and design, acting and behind the scenes with film production. I have had many accomplishments in my lifetime but I wanted to share this funny story. Two years ago I signed up for a veterans filmmaking workshop. I teamed up with other veterans over four days to make a short film in The Bronx. This was my introduction to the film world. I ended up making a cute short film with my team. On the day of my screening, while I am sharing my perspective and purpose behind making the short film, my eyes caught this Italian looking man in the audience with his dark hair slicked back. Here I am speaking publicly and thinking this guy looks familiar. It was only during the networking sessions that I realised it was Chazz Palminteri from the movie ‘A Bronx Tale,” she said.
Pilgrim has advice for any young female who wants to become involved in the creative sector.
“Tap into who you are or desire to become. It would surprise you how others would aspire to dress or think the way you do by you being different. Think outside the box and be free. Be a female rebel with a positive cause. Lastly, find a mentor in your target industry and have international interviews. Here is an example: I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. I got accepted into this mentorship programme for transitioning service members and veterans called American Corporate Partners (ACP). I made a dream list with the top 40 entertainment companies that inspired me. I sent it to the operations specialist at ACP and less than three weeks later they had sourced a mentor for me from Showtime, a CBS company. My mentor had a track record of working at ESPN, a Disney company and Viacom before her recent transition at Showtime. There were many opportunities to learn about her path. I became her protégé for one long year and we still keep in touch to this day. I am grateful for the career guidance I have gained from her,” she said.
To continue to track how Tiffany continues to fly the flag of Barbados high, you can follow her on Instagram: @originaltiffanypilgrim. (LG)