By Holly A. Whisler
Quencie Thomas, a celebrity interviewer and founder of Studio Q media services, is a Springfield native who is making her dreams come true. Thomas describes herself as the loud kid in school who sang Whitney Houston songs, was self-driven and marched to the beat of her own drum. She later made her way to Los Angeles, interviewing celebrities at red carpet events and loving it. Thomas didnt have connections, but she had dreams, and she was willing to do the work to make them come true.
Thomas attended Lanphier High School where she played basketball, sang in show choir and was crowned homecoming queen. Thomas noted she only remembers one other Black queen at Lanphier prior to her. In fact, wanting to be around more people who looked like her is what led Thomas to Clark Atlanta University in Georgia after graduation.
Although she was raised by a single mother who didnt have the money to send her to Clark, Thomas didnt let that hold her back. She said, I could visualize myself going to Atlanta, and I put the work in to make it become a reality. If you cant visualize your dream then youre lost, but if you can see it and believe it, you can make it happen.
I wanted to experience a Black world, said Thomas. Throughout my K-12 years, I had only a few teachers who were Black; I think they were music teachers, and that is what led me to Clark. Thomas said wanting to have an experience where I looked around and I wasnt the minority was a motivating factor. Thomas said once she arrived at Clark, This was the first time I had seen so many Black people in one place that werent my relatives. It was a great experience.
And it was on the campus of Clark Atlanta University where Thomas career began, although ever so serendipitously. Her friend Christopher Lewis, the brother of Emanuel Lewis (yes, televisions Webster), had a TV show on campus, and he asked her to host an interview for his show. She was reluctant because as an intern at Sony, music was what she knew, but after a few hours of convincing, Thomas agreed to do the interview.
Lewis took care of the details and all Thomas had to do was show up and be me, she said. She then learned she would be interviewing Da Brat, a successful Black, female rap artist. Thomas was amazed at how easily she connected with Da Brat and how exhilarating the interview was. She was hooked on the experience, and Lewis liked what he saw. Thomas knew she was onto something.
Thomas has loved Whitney Houston since she was 8 or 9 years old. She recalls writing letters to Houston when she was at Washington Middle School and a very kind music teacher would mail the envelopes addressed to Arista Records, Houstons label. Thomas said of that teacher, She never made me feel silly. While finishing her masters degree at University of Illinois Springfield, Thomas dream of interviewing Houston came true. The interview aired on MTVs FANatic show, and Thomas noted there were not many Black artists on MTV in the 80s and 90s.
Once graduate school was complete, Thomas made her way to L.A. and worked behind the scenes for a variety of networks and top shows, including The Tyra Banks Show and Divorce Court. After logging many 12-hour days and six-day weeks, Thomas decided that if she was going to continue this schedule producing someone elses dream she was never going to get to hers. So she decided to make a change and direct all of those hours to her dream of interviewing Black excellence via her own media company Studio Q.
Since becoming an entrepreneur, Thomas has interviewed many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, Bishop T.D. Jakes, John Singleton, Taraji Henson and Arsenio Hall, plus a variety of Black singers such as Jason Derulo, Chaka Khan, Salt n Pepa, Naughty by Nature, MC Lyte and more.
All of her interviews and other productions are posted on her website, quencie.com, which even includes a free e-course with tips for others who are interested in becoming celebrity interviewers.
Since living in L.A., Thomas said shes learned that no matter the size of the town you live in or circumstances you might find yourself in, once you visualize your goals it is possible to make them come true. She said, You just have to be willing to work for your dreams because it all depends on you.