Mei-Le, 25, grew up in Maryland and was in the foster care system from the age of 16 until she turned 21 years old. When she prepared to move to Los Angeles after graduating from college, Mei-Le was advised to look out for local foster youth services. She found the Pasadena-based organization Youth Moving On.
With a background in studio art, Mei-Le gravitated toward film in college. In Los Angeles, she was able to turn that passion into her career. Through YMO, she met the person who would become her first boss, and she's been working steadily as a production assistant for the past three years. In addition to her regular gigs, Mei-Le has worked in various positions on indie and student film productions.
Mei-Le says that now is "probably the best time" for young people to pursue their creativity in film.
"As long as they have a phone in their hands, they can really shoot anything," she says. "With TikTok and things like that, there is a lot of opportunity to just start creating, just start doing things."
Some advice she has for youth pursuing careers in film and television is to get to know the people around them and to stay open-minded.
"You never know who you might run into or what kind of thing you might be looking for," she says, "So I think being open to all the things that could inspire you is another thing."