If you close your eyes and listen for just a moment, you may find it difficult to believe that Eris Aubrie Busey — an actress, model and community activist — has only been on the planet for 11 years.
But despite her tender age, Eris exemplifies the proverbial “old soul” in thought, word and particularly in deed.
The native Washingtonian, an honor roll student at Two Rivers Public Charter School — Young Elementary School in Northeast, proudly works toward eliminating homelessness in the District, sashays effortlessly on runways across the U.S., including the nation’s premier event, New York Fashion Week, and dazzles readers with her aura on the covers of America’s leading magazines.
Ultimately, Eris says she wants to host her own TV talk show and become both an Academy Award-winning actress and America’s Next Top Model — not necessarily in that order. However, for now, she’s content with being an author after the publishing of her first book, “Dad Gone,” last year.
“I never had the privilege of having two parents to grow up with,” she said. “In my early life, my dad missed seeing the milestones I achieved. There were many trying times but I learned to cope with the realization that he would never be there for me. This book gives support to other little girls and boys who have had similar experiences,” Eris said.
She says her motivation for writing the book, which speaks to children and is illustrated with delightful images of a little Black girl meandering down the road toward adulthood, remains simple but essential.
“I want to influence other children and remind them that not having a father doesn’t have to keep you from making your dreams come true. And besides, if you don’t have a father in your life, it’s not your fault,” Eris said before sharing her thoughts about her single-parent mother.
“It has not been easy for my mom because she has had to do everything for me and my siblings and she’s provided us with everything we’ve needed and wanted. I’ve learned about courage, confidence and perseverance by watching her as well as both my grandmother and my great-grandmother.”
“And my big sister, Niah, who’s almost 16, remains a great influence in my life,” Eris said.
But the young author lists other women of color as additional role models: Taraji P. Henson, Halle Berry, Kamala Harris and teen “phenom” Skai Jackson who performed impressively during her recent appearance on “Dancing With the Stars 2020.”
“I’ve watched Skai carefully and seen all of the shows she’s been in,” Eris said. “To watch her progress has really been cool. Just like her, I want to be a Disney kid one day and travel the world.”
After the release of her book in 2020, Eris began to receive numerous invitations to speak with children in the D.C. region — something which has led her to start working on a second book after receiving encouraging responses to her debut work from her peers.
But how does she do so many things — and apparently do them all so well?
“COVID-19 freed me to grow in ways that I could not have believed,” she said. “Being home all the time has forced me to better manage my time and given me a lot more time to think about myself and my plans for the future. I finally signed with a modeling agency during the pandemic which will help me get more photo shoot assignments and on more magazine covers.”
“I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish one day. And I’m going to make all of my dreams come true — even without having a dad in my life,” Eris added.
Contact Eris through the following social media handles: Instagram Page: @eris_aubrie, Book Instagram Page: @erisabusey.author or Facebook: Eris Aubrie Busey.
A disproportionate number of Black children under 18 live in single-parent homes, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of white children under 18 who live with both parents almost doubles that of Black children. And while 74.3 percent of all white children below the age of 18 live with both parents, only 38.7 percent of African-American minors can say the same.
More than one-third of all Black children in the U.S. under the age of 18 live with unmarried mothers compared to 6.5 percent of white children — the figures reflect a general trend. Between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent; children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent.