Chelmsford woman writes book, poses for Maxim in LA
CHELMSFORD — Fifteen years since leaving the northeast, and everything she ever knew, Khara Campbell is still trying to make waves on the West Coast.
Campbell, 40 and born in Chelmsford, is trying to show that older women can still have successful careers in media and Hollywood.
She recently published her first book, Seahorse, and plans to adapt the 334-page book into a movie with Sudbury-native Chris Evans. She’s also trying to get into modelling — recently competing in a MAXIM Magazine competition and getting out of her comfort zone.
“It’s not just about being pretty and having nice pictures,” Campbell said over the phone. “I’m fighting for every women that’s been written off.”
Campbell’s book Seahorse, published in April by Archway Publishing, follows a charismatic, young couple Caroline and Chris Shaughnessy, who live in Cohasset and conceive a child before finding out Caroline has cancer.
Campbell said she wants readers to “feel, heal, and think,” with her first published novel.
She said she drew inspiration to write the book following a conversation with a close friend who asked Campbell what she would do if she had “just six months left to live.” Afterwards, she began interviewing pregnant women diagnosed with cancer and diving back into one of her childhood passions: writing.
“My writing process was just being curious and wondering what I would do if my time was limited,” Campbell said.
Aside from her novel and writing, Campbell has been busy on the west coast.
She’s directed short content with Missy Elliott and Eva Longoria. She starred in a short film by Funny or Die — a California-based production company that launched in 2007 — and has taken classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She’s partaking in a MAXIM voting contest, recently cracking the top 20, that could get her on the cover of the magazine.
Before becoming a published author and model, though, Campbell’s transition from Chelmsford and the University of New Hampshire to Santa Monica was rough.
She said she’s had 23 roommates since moving to California and waited tables to stay financially stable while taking theater classes in Hollywood. She eventually found work behind the camera as a production assistant and coordinator for HGTV shows and Rob Cohen before becoming an online content coordinator for AOL.
She was laid off in 2016 — thrusting her back into writing and following new passions.
No matter what her profession is, though, Campbell has not forgotten where she’s from. She said she misses Chelmsford and the hard work mantra in the area. She added that folks from Chelmsford “cultivate smart and strong family values.”
“In that area, if they say something, they do it. Their words mean something,” said Campbell, who graduated from Chelmsford High School. “Words don’t have as much weight in Hollywood. I miss that constant loyalty and reliability of east coast people.
“The flash and the money and fame and what people can do for you, that isn’t always something rooted in hard work,” she added. “In these industries, it has an ‘every man for themselves’ type feel, but I think you win by kindness and truly loving others.”
Settled in California, Campbell is still doing her best to remain competitive in a market and area that sees less and less older women get chances.
She says she wants to make a statement: older women are valuable and deserve to be recognized.
“All the pitfalls and the drawbacks are for a reason and they are a mechanism for learning,” Campbell said. “When’s there’s a pounding in your hear to do something, do it.”
"The movie came to life every time you were on the screen." Stan Lee to Chris Evans.