Three-year-old Markita Prescott was constantly singing, imitating characters and even reading, so it had to be clear to her parents that this was no ordinary child. Reflecting on her precociousness, she explains, “I grew up as an only child, so I always had to entertain myself!” Before long she was entertaining others in her career beginning as a youngster doing jingles, voice-overs and television commercials.
Her junior high school years were spent at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan where she majored in musical theatre. Fast forward to Markita’s decision to major in communications at Nyack College and considering her exposure to broadcast journalism through her mother’s job as a radio producer, that choice is not surprising.
“I was looking forward to becoming the next Sade Baderinwa,” she says referring the ABC-TV New York news anchor. “Then that acting bug bit me right after graduation.”
At Nyack, her campus activities had all the markings of being in the spotlight—captain and choreographer for the step team, the NC Steppers; member of the More Than Conquerors Gospel Choir and the Nyack College Chorale; a participant in Emerson St. Pierre’s praise and worship team for Nyack chapel services and her junior year stint as a DJ with a late night radio show on Nyack’s WNYK 88.7 FM.
Markita went on to earn a Master in Fine Arts at the Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and successfully landed acting roles. As is customary for actors, other jobs included real estate manager, kindergarten music teacher, dance instructor and television production assistant.
Three years ago, the SAG-AFTRA actor’s agent sent her to audition for a spot with a few lines on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the wildly popular comedy-drama web series that premiered on Amazon Prime Video. Two years later, she was sent on another audition for the show, but this time for a recurring role. She booked it and joined the cast of the 1950’s period piece as “Martha,” a member of a singing trio, The Silver Belles.
The group performed eight songs on the show and also recorded four original songs, which are all featured on the original music from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel soundtrack available on all digital outlets.
Markita shares, “Playing Martha gave me the opportunity to draw from legendary African American entertainers like The Supremes. They were glamorous on and off the stage!” Asked what other kind of roles she’d like to play her response is, “When they are ready to do a Janet Jackson biopic, I’ll be ready!”
To date, her favorite role has been 12-year-old “Peanut Brittle” in an off-Broadway production of Wilder Gone by Clubbed Thumb Theatre. So convincing was her portrayal that many who met her after the show could not believe the 5’ 3” actress was not actually a pre-teen.
Being in the entertainment industry can often be a world of paradoxes for Christian creatives. This is where Nyack’s core value of being socially relevant resonates with Markita. “I’m all about presenting Christ in culture in the most authentic way. Today’s society is all about authenticity and doing away with certain cultural norms that have not benefited marginalized people. I believe when we are in tune with where our culture is, we can minister most effectively.”
Markita still clings to a Nyack memory that travels with her. “There was a chapel service during Spiritual Emphasis Week where someone prophesied over my life and I will tell you that I am still seeing what the person told me coming to pass in my life!”
With a grateful look back at her Nyack days, she shares a message for prospective students. “Nyack is a place to live your faith out loud and a place for fellowship. Being around fellow believers definitely helped my faith in Christ grow to a more mature place and being a part of numerous campus ministries allowed me to express myself boldly and creatively. Some of my dearest friendships were made at Nyack. Community is everything!”