Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)–Producing informative, entertaining and thought-provoking content has always been entertainment journalist Sonya Jenkins’ intent as a writer, so when the Coronavirus Pandemic interrupted her “social butterfly” calendar, Jenkins took social distancing as a time to up the ante creatively by launching two projects, SMILEY, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT (Paperback; December 18, 2020; $15.99) and “Shayla’s Catch Prequel,” streaming exclusively via Amazon Prime Video. SMILEY, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT takes young readers on a flight from Atlanta to Orlando, filled with rough air, a passenger with a peanut allergy, and common courtesy tips. On this particular flight, two unaccompanied minors bravely travel without their parents. SMILEY, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, illustrated by Khadija Maryam, teaches airplane safety, inflight etiquette and encourages the value of a pleasant disposition while displaying a beautiful smile. The story is based on some of the experiences in Jenkins’ own life as a former flight attendant.
“After a long-term career as a flight attendant, I decided to write Smiley as a farewell to a rewarding career in the aviation industry,” Jenkins said. “Safety, inflight etiquette and smiling were all fundamental practices I applied as a flight attendant, so it was natural to include those elements in the book.”
Since its release in December 2020, SMILEY, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT has received top ratings via Amazon. The book has been described as “beautifully-crafted” and “wonderfully-illustrated,” with some readers have suggesting that Smiley’s adventures are developed into a children’s book series.
“I hope to write more children’s books that will encourage healthy self-esteem for the younger generation,” Jenkins said. “I’m also planning to eventually explore animated films for children.”
On another creative note, a new film-making venture also took flight for Jenkins in 2020. During the 1-year celebration of her first film project, “Shayla’s Catch,” a 53-minute film streaming on Amazon Prime Video (2019), Jenkins got an idea to reboot the “Shayla’s Catch” initiative (with prequels). On November 16, 2020 “Shayla’s Catch Prequel” premiered exclusively on Prime Video – TV episodes – with new episodes of intrigue, romance and drama on the way. The episodes have also begun streaming in the United Kingdom via Prime Video.
“Shayla’s Catch Prequel” introduces viewers to the lifestyle of Calvin CK Moore, a wealthy NFL star wide receiver, played by fitness model and actor Oshea Russell. The football journey and the intimate life of CK Moore is fast and complicated, with extraordinary athleticism, fame, money and multiple women being the primary forces in his life. The story presents many questions about faithfulness and loyalty, intertwined with the competitive nature of American sports. “Shayla’s Catch Prequel” also stars singer and VH1 “Love & Hip Hop New York” alum Amina “Buddafly” Pankey, who plays CK’s longtime girlfriend, Mia grows increasingly fed up with her superstar boyfriend’s philandering ways, but also gloats in giving him a taste of his own medicine. Middle Tennessee State University student, Kyleigh Campbell, plays Shayla Lucas, a naïve, hopeful romantic seeking her ultimate catch. Eventually, Shayla and CK meet, as he is flattered by her innocence and she is intrigued by the heart-thumping enchantment of his good looks, popularity and lifestyle.
Jenkins believes “Shayla’s Catch” is more relevant today than it was when she first started writing the novel two decades ago, because it delves into self-esteem issues that plague many young women today, especially in a social media influenced society.
“Healthy self-esteem has nothing to do with having thousands and millions of social media followers or having a ball player or millionaire as a boyfriend or a husband,” she said. “Shayla’s Catch delves into what life can be like if one has the millionaire partner, the popularity and the beauty, but still struggles with self-love.”
In a world where new innovations and reinventing oneself are constants, Jenkins hopes to continue building her brand with content that will help readers and viewers discover their inner child and escape through her melo-dramatic storytelling.