New Jersey Backyard Wedding for Up-and-Coming Actors
[title maintitle=”” subtitle=”With her wife by her side, a Rutgers graduate pursues her love of acting and improving the lives of urban children”]
Diamond Davis didn’t have a job lined up after graduation in 2012. She didn’t even know where she would be living. She was certain of only two things then: She wanted to work in the entertainment industry and to continue living with her long-time girlfriend, Sade Grandberry.
Three years later, she has landed a couple of TV gigs and, more important, recently married Grandberry.
“Neither of us had a plan after graduation, but we didn’t want to separate after living together in college,” says Davis, now 26.
The couple moved in with Grandberry’s mother in Newark soon after they both graduated from Rutgers. They lived there rent-free, allowing the couple to save money while they looked for a permanent place to live.
Davis began building her resume so she could eventually secure an agent. The criminal justice major and philosophy minor decided late in her college career that she wanted to pursue acting as a profession instead of law. She had stayed an extra year to take courses and secure an internship to help her get a job in the entertainment industry.
Although she had performed in cabarets and in student films, that wasn’t enough. “I needed to feel comfortable on set and have professional credits,” she says.
Davis signed up with CastingNetworks.com, an online service similar to LinkedIn that helps actors connect with producers for non-speaking roles. She commuted regularly to New York City to appear on shows such as “Orange is the New Black” and “The Following,” and in commercials.
She also began modeling for a stock photo service. “It’s fun: I’ll get dressed up and the photographer will take pictures of me, for example, on a train talking on a cell phone,” she says. “I never know where these pictures will end up. Friends will call and say, ‘Hey, I saw you in a T-Mobile ad.’”
In July, she and Grandberry, who is also pursuing a career in acting, launched “Let’s Talk About It,” a YouTube talk show that focuses on current issues and highlights people doing positive work in the community. “The idea came about when a friend, who was starting a nonprofit targeting childhood obesity, asked us to produce a show that could highlight his work,” she says. “As aspiring actors, Sade and I thought this could be a vehicle to give us more exposure.”
This variety of experience has made Davis more comfortable on the set. “I am now ready to audition for speaking roles,” she says.
To supplement her income, Davis is a Match Support Specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. She also is a Big Sister to a teenage girl from Newark. She originally planned to attend law school to become a juvenile defender, and now finds mentoring fulfilling. “I always wanted to make a difference in the lives of urban youth,” she says.
While they were living with Grandberry’s mother, the women actively hunted for a residence with easy access to Manhattan. They now live in a gated complex in Newark. “We are right across from the train station – perfect for us to zip in and out of the city,” she says.
Soon after the move, Davis began planning her marriage proposal to Grandberry, whom she has dated since 2010. She bought a ring and booked a trip to Atlantic City to celebrate their anniversary in June 2014. When they were alone on the beach, Davis knew the moment had come. “I always kidded with her, ‘What would you do if I proposed?’ ” she says. “So, I kidded again, but this time, I was pulling out the ring as I said the words. I knew she would say ‘yes,’ but I was still nervous.”
Davis and Grandberry wed August 29 in a backyard wedding in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. “Every relationship rolls through cycles,” Davis says. “We’ve already been through some ‘better’ and some ‘worse’ – and I am happy that we will be by each others’ sides for whatever comes next.”
Photos: Courtesy of Diamond Davis
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