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The sky’s the limit for future leader Armani

Before Warwick, alumna Armani Chante Samuel-Carthy (BA Film and Literature, 2022) found work experience with support from a charity, who help students from underprivileged backgrounds into the creative industry. Fast forward to now, she’s the proud owner of a first-class degree, her own production start-up, a role with Netflix, and even more determination to write her own shows. It’s no wonder she’s been featured on Powerful Media’s Future Leaders 2022/3 list, which recognises 150 of Britain’s most outstanding Black university students.

Tell me about your time at Warwick?
My time at Warwick was amazing. The course not only taught me about the history of film and television, but it gave me a broader perspective. The literature side of my degree was very helpful for my career. Most TV shows derive from novels, so it was amazing to have the chance to write about character development and reader’s reception in my essays before I started to do it for a living. It was also great to meet new people! Through living with my flatmates, attending society events, and even eventually becoming PR & Media Exec of Warwick’s African and Caribbean Society in second year.  

What was the most important thing that you learned from your time at Warwick?
To be patient and allow myself to become better at a craft overtime. At the beginning of my degree, I wanted to do my best and rushed to get a First in my essays. Then when I didn’t, I felt frustrated and inadequate. It was only when second year came, and I opened up to my tutor about my academic insecurities and how I wished to improve, that I was able to eventually achieve my goal. I learnt the importance of asking for help there and then. Some people may not always be as helpful and caring as my tutor was, but when they are, it will be worth it. 

Do you have a favourite memory of studying at Warwick?

I have many. One of my best academic memories is achieving a high grade in one of my literature modules for the first time. I completed an essay comparing how two authors explore the concept of emancipatory consciousness in their novels, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo’s and Normal People by Sally Rooney. It was the first time I was taught how to analyse character and plot intensely and made a huge contribution towards solidifying my passion for storytelling. Being able to discuss character and story with my peers as I prepared to write the essay mimicked what I envisioned writers’ rooms would be like. The experience made me more excited to do this for a living. 

Another special memory would have to be shooting my first short film. I took a film production course with the London Film School in my final year, and it has always been a dream of mine to be taught how to direct, edit, and write scripts. To have experienced professionals teach me how to do so was amazing, and I still ask my tutors career questions to this day! It also gave me confidence to pursue my dream job as a director as I was able to lead such a large cast and crew of people. 

How do you feel that Warwick has been ranked #1 for media and film studies this year?
It makes so much sense! My initial attraction to studying the course was when Professor Rachel Moseley (the Head of Department at the time) explained to me that, whilst I could learn a lot about the technical aspects of the industry on the job, the chance to view it through an academic lens in such a prestigious university would be second to none. The Film and TV Department’s close, tight-knit community really works when it comes to your academic journey. Everyone got to know each other well, which helped when writing and proof-reading essays. Our tutors were supportive and skilled in equal measures, so its no surprise to see we are ranked so high! 

What does it mean to you to be identified as a Future Leader?
To be honest, having this title next to my name is very humbling! My perception of leadership does not involve being egotistical or dictatorial. I envision a leader as someone who is most responsible for helping others. Ive been fortunate to have benefitted from many amazing experiences both at Warwick and in my career so far, and I would love others - especially those who are less represented in Russell Group Universities and in my industry (TV) - to gain the same opportunities. So, my aspirations career wise are around helping others, hence why my future leader nomination was partly around my work helping students of African and Caribbean descent get into the creative industry.  

How did your time at Warwick help shape your thoughts and ideas for your career?
It allowed me to see film and TV in totality. Before Warwick I had quite a limited view of film and TV, majorly centred around mainstream Hollywood films and famous western TV series. But my degree allowed me to gain a new-found appreciation for all forms of storytelling, whether it be YouTube, documentary, experimental film, or non-western cinema. Being selected for the degree in itself also gave me the self-confidence I needed to affirm that I was made to work in the creative industry, and I can contribute a lot to TV. 

What are you most proud of professionally?
Recently I was able to land my dream job as a Set Production Assistant on a Netflix show! It’s been a long journey throughout my student years to get here. But if it wasn’t for everyone at Warwick building my confidence, I wouldn’t have even believed in myself enough to apply.  

What’s next on the horizon for you?
I am in the process of planning a workshop scheme with a charity called Empowerment London for secondary school pupils of colour who wish to get into the Film and TV industry! I am also developing some exciting projects for my own production company and others. Finally, I am excited to continue working for Netflix and I am excited to see the growth in global attention the British TV industry is receiving. 

Armani wearing a hoodie surrounded by plants and flowers