December -- Children are precious, priceless gifts from God that ensure our world is always full of life, innocence, innovation and perpetuity. Doing what is needed to help save any child's life should be the mission of every adult. In the business of helping children live for another day is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Actress Elise Neal is one of many foot soldiers in the St. Jude army helping to eradicate childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
Growing up in Memphis, TN in the backyard of St. Jude's base Neal knew first hand about the hospital and the good work they provided to make children healthier. "I really was passionate in wanting to be involved in this charity. I saw a lot of the great things they were doing. Who hasn't seen the campaigns on television!" said Neal.
One of their famous campaigns is why Houston Style had the opportunity to speak with Neal. The longtime supporter is asking people to live St. Jude's motto of giving thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not by digging deep to support the kids of St. Jude through the Thanks and Giving campaign. Now through December, holiday shoppers can give to St. Jude in a number of ways. Donations can be taken in store at more than 60 participating partners, online at stjude.org, calling 1-800-4STJUDE, or texting HOPE to 50333.
Campaigning for St. Jude is not the only thing keeping Neal busy these days. She has a new sitcom coming out on the TV One Network, Belle's. Set in Atlanta, GA, Belle's tells the story of a family owned soul-food restaurant. The element of family love is the clear message of the show. Neal plays the restaurant business manager who is the eldest daughter of the owner. She is also a divorce mom of a preteen daughter. "It was a lot of fun to tape this show," laughed Neal. "The cast is hilarious." Belle's premieres March 1 at 9/8c on TV ONE and stars Keith David, Tami Roman, Ella Joyce and Miguel Núñez, and introduces young actress Nadja Alaya.
Neal is also exploring her entrepreneurial skills with a new weave line in partnership with California Lace Wigs and Weaves. "They (CALWW) came to me to collaborate with them and create something that was fun with a Hollywood spin that everyone could enjoy." With that assignment Neal went to work and Hollywood Bell by Elise Neal was birth. She had so much fun on the collaboration and the create process, that Neal says expect to see a lot of more from her in this industry. "You will see be doing a lot more with branding and having my name stamped on a lot of things."
And if that is not enough Neal is making plans to open a dance school in her beloved Memphis, TN, who she is always an advocate for her hometown . "It's my way of giving back," said Neal who has traveled the world performing as a dancer and singer. She credits having a clear direction of the path she wanted for her success because of her time in Memphis. Neal adds, "I just want to be able to give that direction to the next generation and if they (teens) have that type of passion for dance or a passion for acting, because I want to add those to my repertoire, then that give them an outlet for something other than getting in trouble everyday."
Story submitted by Houston Style Magazine