Even though Cylla Senii (ABJ ’13) is known today as a writer, director, producer and actor, she uses her major from Grady College—advertising—every day.
Senii has found success early in her career as the woman-of-many-hats of a weekly show called “Situationships,” which can be found on all of the BET digital platforms. She credits her grassroots marketing efforts for helping the show be where it is today.
“My involvement at UGA set the ground work to understand what grassroots marketing is,” Senii said. “That foundation really helped me with launching a whole show.”
Senii used the most of her time at UGA to set herself up for a bright future. In addition to her campus activities including serving as a Grady Ambassador and Sigma Alpha Lambda, Senii also started planning for her time after college by working as a campus representative at CBS, interning at Huffington Post and working at the Career Center on campus, among other activities.
Senni’s best advice for current students is to explore. “College is the best time to create because there so many resources and equipment that you can get to that are so expensive after college. You can be creating this stuff right now.”
Senii, a New York native who grew up in Warner Robins, Georgia, stretched her creative muscles while at UGA and entered the world of advertising right out of school. It was while she was working during the day at jobs at NYC-based agencies like BBDO and internships at Saatchi & Saatchi, that she was working on her passion projects at night.
She began working on independent projects collaboratively in 2014, writing projects that Senii describes as web series inspired by the Issa Rae’s of the world. It was around that time that she and another collaborator started working on “Situationships,” a look at relationships among millennials struggling to connect in New York City.
In 2015, they put out a casting call for the show and had nearly 4,000 responses.
“So many people could relate to this or had a friend in those situations,” Senii explains about the connection of the show. “I could tell this topic was relevant to millennials.”
The show has grown from there, producing its first season in 2015. The show launched on YouTube in 2016 and was picked up by the digital platforms of BET in the summer of 2018. Since then, the show has earned an even stronger following through grassroots marketing including social media and competing in a series of New York film festivals. The dream by Senii, who owns practically every production credit of the show including playing the lead role of Melody, is to eventually grow from the digital platforms to linear television.
In the meantime, she is working on developing other projects including a show set in a college environment and a spin-off of “Situationships.”
Senii credits her laser focus and not being afraid to dream big with her success just six years out of college.
“Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams at a young age because it will set up for success when you get out of college,” Senii advises. “You need to be focused. Figure out what you want and once you know what you want, go for that. Start trying out different things until you find it.”