By Rebecca Panico
HILLSIDE — As an author, actor and clothing designer, Essynce Moore has a resume that stacks up against those of most adults. And, she’s only 15 years old.
“My mom has always taught me that school comes first,” Moore said, describing how she juggles her activities. “That’s always my first priority. It’s just a matter of planning everything to avoid stressing myself out.”
The local 10th-grader was recognized in May 2016 by former Mayor Angela Garretson in a proclamation for her myriad of accomplishments. Now, the Hillside resident has been recognized on a national stage by The Root, an online news and culture publication that focuses on African-American issues.
Moore has been named a 2018 Young Futurist, an annual list recognizes only 25 young African-Americans between the ages 15 and 22. The seventh annual list includes photographers, app creators and an Olympic athlete.
“Black kids are only just one thing in the media,” said The Root’s managing editor, Genetta Adams, in a recent phone interview. “They’re doing amazing things just like every other kid.”
Moore has written three books known as “The Middle School Chronicles,” based on her experiences in the Hillside School District. The books are now required reading in the local system, according to Patch.com.
Moore got her start by designing clothes at the age of 6, at first for fun. Her hobby eventually blossomed in 2013 to a full clothing line, Essynce Couture. She’s still expanding her entrepreneurial side with Wynk, a line of body products for teens.
Moore also has appeared in films, including “Maggie’s Plan,” “King of Newark” and “Darker Than Blue,” the latter based on the wrongful conviction of Colin Warner.
While headlines and local politicians may call Moore an inspiration to others, the teen called her mom her biggest role model.
“I’ve seen the world knock her down and I’ve watched her magically get back up,” Moore said.
Starr Barrett, Moore’s mom, called her daughter a “breath of fresh air” that’s needed among youth today, especially in a climate with an increased focus on bullying, violence and suicide.
“I wouldn’t say it was hard,” Barrett said of managing of her daughter’s extracurricular activities. “I would say it could be challenging sometimes because I have put a lot of things on hold … that’s just what parents should do.”
Moore is currently organizing a speaking tour with her friend, AJ Carr, to help empower young people by addressing bullying and self-esteem issues. The “Ess and AJ Youth Empowerment Tour” plans to open a forum at schools for children to discuss issues that affect their communities, classrooms and home life.
“I would just say that anything is possible,” Moore said by way of advice to those who may want to kick off their own projects. “Regardless of how old you are and what your circumstances are, if you really want to do something you can do it.”