Credit: (Photographs by Pilar Vergara)

In 1992, Ford’s Theater put on a production of Conrack, a musical based on author Pat Conroy’s account of his time teaching a group of black South Carolina island schoolchildren in the late ’60s. Patrick Cassidy (half-brother of David) played Conroy, and several local children were cast as his pupils.

Among the seven kids chosen to portray students were two Maryland girls who became friendly during the show’s run: 11-year-old Christine Flores, who lived in Waldorf, and 6-year-old LaShayla Logan, from Capitol Heights. Logan scored a main role and Christine came aboard as an understudy.

In his review, the Washington Post’s Lloyd Rose singled out a couple of the children. He complimented Logan by calling her “well over the socially allowed limit for adorableness.” Flores, as an understudy, received no press. Logan went on to receive a Helen Hayes Award nod for her performance, making her, at 6, the youngest person ever nominated for the local theater honors. Her family went all out for the ceremony—they dressed up, rented a limo, and got to hang out with celebrities. Flores wasn’t nominated.

But the girls remained pals, and their bond strengthened when they were both cast in a traveling production of Annie Warbucks the following year. While performing in California, Washington state, and Texas, the two girls hung out together. They bonded over Frosted Mini-Wheats, cartoons, and the fact they were the only two minority kids in the cast. Then one day, both girls were cut from the play.

6-year-old LaShayla Logan, second from left, in Annie Warbucks

5-year-old LaShayla’s first fashion show, at Forestville Mall

“I played the daughter of a poor sharecropping family who take Annie in,” says Logan, now 22. “When the show was picked up for a second time, the writers changed the family to a white family, and I was dropped.” Logan’s mother (who had been by her side throughout the tour) and father (who visited his family on the road but was still working in Maryland full-time) considered relocating to Los Angeles so that their daughter might pick up another big acting gig. But in the end, nervous about uprooting the family, the Logans decided against the move. Flores and her mother eventually made the decision to remain in L.A.

“That’s where our lives kinda…we were running parallel, and then they took a turn,” Logan says.

While Logan went back to Maryland to attend school full-time and find D.C.-based work as an actor, Flores experienced a rise to fame, which culminated in a name change—Christine Flores became singer/actress/“Dip It Low” girl Christina Milian.

Christina Milian has done pretty well for a girl who got her start with a small role in a D.C. musical. Logan hasn’t done too badly for herself, either, although her path has been a bit different.

Logan managed to carve out a respectable career for herself in D.C. The reason she isn’t a household name like her Annie Warbucks co-star isn’t about talent but a series of bad decisions made as a teen that took her away from acting but eventually helped push her toward the business side of the industry.

“When you’re good at different things, it’s hard to focus on just one,” Logan says. “But it’s my time to excel with this.”

La Shayla’s parents, Anne and Lloyd Logan

At 9 with James Earl Jones on set in Richmond

Winning Lil Miss Metropolitan at 5

Logan’s acting career was born out of the hobbyist pursuits—piano and dance lessons—of many middle-class kids whose parents want them to be exposed to culture. Unlike most kids, however, little LaShayla started at age 3.

Lloyd Logan, LaShayla’s father, says that when he sat his little girl on a piano bench at that young age, she thought it was so much fun and had such a good time banging on the keys that he thought she’d appreciate lessons. “She just took to it,” he says.

After taking lessons for a couple of years and, by all accounts, excelling in everything, LaShayla started talking about entering beauty pageants and being on television. At four, she began modeling in shopping-mall fashion shows such as Little Miss Maryland and Little Miss Metropolitan. At five, LaShayla’s parents got her a manager and she started going on auditions, landing work in Conrack and Annie Warbucks.

Although the Logan family dealt with typical problems that families of child actors face—dealing with time apart, homesickness—Lloyd says it was all worth it. His daughter was gifted and loved being in the spotlight, and he and LaShayla’s loved watching her. So apparent was her star quality, Lloyd says, that even Michael Jackson, back in his pre-weirdo days, picked up on it. The gloved one singled out LaShayla backstage at one of her Annie Warbucks performances.

“We were at an event and Michael Jackson was there and asked if he could pick Shay up,” Lloyd recalls. “He picked her out of a whole group of children—picked her up and told her she was going to be a star.”

But even an endorsement from Jackson couldn’t lure the Logans to Hollywood. In 1994, when LaShayla was 8 years old, she took a break from work. The hiatus meant school, voice-over work for Universal Studios, promotions for Giant food, and educational videos for WETA rather than a traveling production. She continued going on auditions, including one in Richmond for The Vernon Johns Story, with James Earl Jones playing the role of the minister and civil rights leader. She got the part and shot in Richmond for five months.

“I played James Earl Jones’ daughter—that was an exciting thing, to have a down period then to get that role,” Logan says.

Logan, then nine, and her mom lived in a hotel during shooting, and her dad made the short drive to see them frequently. Her public magnet arts school back in P.G. County was great about mailing her work to the set. It seemed like the decision to avoid Hollywood was working out just fine.

By the time the movie wrapped, Logan was 10 and, rather than picking up momentum, work for her slowed after the release of the film.

“It was straight school,” Logan says of the time following the movie shoot. “The fun I had in middle school, I wouldn’t trade for the world, because I missed a lot in elementary school. I think back to friends and the fun I had, teachers we made fun of….There was a time or two where I looked at the Cosby Show and saw Raven, and thought ‘Dag, I could be doing that,’ but I didn’t dwell on it too much.”

Logan did go on auditions during the three years between elementary school and high school. She just wasn’t landing roles. She played an extra in the movie Mars Attacks!, but that was about it. “It was just a dead period; nothing was really biting for me,” Logan says. “For example, I auditioned for Crooklyn, the Spike Lee movie, and didn’t get it. I could’ve done the older girl’s role, but I was too young, and for [the lead] role, my look was too light. Or maybe I didn’t hit it on the head like I should’ve.”

When 9th grade rolled around, and it was time for Logan to enter high school, her parents decided to move from Capitol Heights to Clinton. The move was bigger than just a normal change of schools. Logan, who was used to artistic small magnet schools that nurtured her artistic talent, was now going to be entering an enormous public school: Suitland High.

Logan with DJ Kash Monee(Photograph by Pilar Vergara)

“It was so different and I didn’t really wanna move from my friends, my neighborhood,” Logan says. “When we came [to Clinton], it’s very rural, you can’t walk anywhere.…That’s when I started getting in trouble. I didn’t have anything to do out here.”

Logan’s first order of business upon entering the school was to drop all of the acting stuff. She also gave up on dancing and, because carrying around a clarinet in high school is the equivalent of holding a loser stick, she gave the boot to the instrument she’d been playing for years. “I stopped everything,” Logan says. “The only thing I stuck with was piano. I stuck with that throughout everything.”

To fit in, Logan started hanging out late after school, ignoring homework and curfews, and otherwise disobeying her parents’ rules. She spent a lot of her time back in her old neighborhood, hanging out with her old friends.

The infractions started out small, but eventually became larger—skipping school, smoking weed. “I was being this little bitch,” says Logan. “That’s what I was—being mean to folks who were being supportive of me. My parents had a tight grip on me—it was for a reason, but I bucked real hard.”

Logan’s rebellion was out of character but remained within the boundaries of standard teenage rebellion. Then, at 15, she took it to another level. “I told [my parents], ‘Either y’all are gonna let me do what I want, or I’m gone.’ And I made the decision to leave.”

Logan started staying at a boyfriend’s house or spending the night with friends—whoever would put her up so she wouldn’t have to go home. “I abandoned my family to run in the streets,” she says. “I was bouncing back and forth, staying with girlfriends, staying with him. It was a period of back and forth—I’d be gone for days, and then come home, and I’d be on punishment. I’d be in my room beefin’ like, ‘I wanna get outta here!’ I’d chill in the house a couple days, we’d argue, and then I’d leave. Each time got longer and longer.”

During one brief period when Logan happened to be home for a couple of days, she got a call from her manager. “She said I had an audition for an HBO show called The Corner and that the tryouts were in Baltimore,” Logan recalls.

Logan was able to get it together just long enough to go to the audition. She met with Charles Dutton, who directed the serial based on the book by David Simon and Edward Burns. “I auditioned for the role of Young Fran—he really liked me and said I’d definitely expect a call. I’ve heard that before, though, so I wasn’t sold on it.”

Logan with fiancé Anton Jackson and their daughter, Skylar(Photograph by Pilar Vergara)

The Corner became an Emmy-winner for HBO, which helped Simon and Burns convince the network to back their next project, the critically acclaimed drama The Wire, which has been the biggest boon for local actors in years and is populated by tons of bit players from The Corner. Logan, however, missed out on the opportunity, and not because she didn’t get the job.

“After the audition, I went home, and I got into it with my parents again—over something stupid. I wanted to go to the movies or something,” she says. “I was being a brat, and I left.

“Charles Dutton called and said I got the job, but by me not coming home I didn’t know. I never knew I got the job until after the fact. Everyone was like, ‘You fucked up. You had the job, but you left, and no one could find you to tell you.’

“That was a total kick in the ass and the face.”

Logan started living with a new boyfriend—a guy who recruited her to help him sell weed and stolen cars. “He became abusive, beating on me whenever I’d say, ‘I’m going back home,’ or, ‘I wanna go to school.’ It was draining me, stressing me.” Logan says she wasn’t able to break away from the man, who was several years older.

The relationship finally ended, Logan says, when her two godbrothers essentially kidnapped her in the hope that the boyfriend would stop looking for her after awhile. “[My godbrothers] called me and said, ‘Come outside and bring your purse with you—we’re going shopping.’ They were outside waiting for me, and I hopped in the back of the truck. [My boyfriend] followed me out, and that was the last time I ever saw him. My godbrothers hid me out in a hotel—they wanted me to be by myself, get myself together—for a week or two, and then I went back home.”

Logan’s acting career was born out of the cultural pursuits—piano and dance lessons—of many middle-class kids.(Photograph by Pilar Vergara)

Back under her parents’ roof, Logan says that her mom connected her daughter with the Rising S.T.A.R.S. Youth foundation—a program for troubled kids that she’d read about. The head of the program, P.G. County Judge Herman Dawson, helped Logan come up with a game plan to help finish school—in 2002 she took the GED and the SAT and started looking at college.

A family friend, William Teel Jr., encouraged her to enroll in Bowie State University (she’ll receive her degree this year). He also gave her an internship, which eventually became a full-time job, with his company, 1 Source Consulting, a prominent computer firm. Logan still kept a foot in entertainment, using her classical-music background to dabble in beatmaking and rhyming. But her hip-hop career was short-lived; she decided the best way for a business major to be involved in entertainment would be to start a business.

In 2004, Logan met her fiancé, Anton Jackson, at Bowie State and in early 2005, became pregnant. Later that year, Logan gave birth to their daughter, Skylar, and also founded her company, SkyHy Consultants LLC. She spent a year working, attending college, and taking care of her family, then stumbled upon her first client. Logan walked up to DJ Kash Monee the Mixtape King, gave him a quick spiel about her new consulting firm, handed him a business card, and walked away.

Kash called her the next day because he appreciated her approach. “He said he liked that I didn’t talk a hole in his head—just said what I had to say and kept it moving,” Logan recalls.

The DJ told Logan he’d had a string of bad managers and was reluctant to try someone new, but he needed a bio right away. His last representation took two months to write up his biographical info in an acceptable form, and the only thing the person had managed to spell right was his name. Logan told Kash she could provide him with a professional bio the next day, and did.

“After she did that, I knew she could handle anything,” Kash says. “So I said, ‘Let’s get it.’”

“I knew she could handle anything,” Kash says. “So I said, ‘Let’s get it.’”(Photograph by Pilar Vergara)

When DJ Kash Monee first started spinning, he called himself DJ Monee, and his friends called him “DJ No Monee,” because he never charged any of the clubs he played at. “I didn’t think it was right to charge,” he says. Not because he wasn’t good, he just didn’t think it was right. Once the disc jock started collecting fees for his services, he changed his name to DJ Kash Monee. Logan hopes that, with her help, the 30-something DJ will become more monied still.

She’s been managing the DJ for only three months, but already she’s put him on the cover of small urban magazines such as StreetTalk and Get ’Em and nabbed him endorsements and out-of-town gigs.

“I give him 150 percent,” Logan says. And in return, she takes roughly 10 percent of whatever deals she is able to secure.

In the Lifetime Television movie version of Logan’s life, she would take some wayward child actor under her wing, provide her charge with an ear and a shoulder during a rocky adolescence, and then the kid would become a huge star and thank her mentor during some sort of tearful award acceptance speech.

Instead, Logan is tasked with being the manager, personal assistant, accountant, and sister-type to a 30-something man who has navigated his own career with little help for nearly two decades. But even though Kash isn’t some troubled teen girl in need of tough love, Logan still has her hands full.

Kash, who started out as a club DJ, has a successful mix-tape series called Dollars & Sense. He’s worked with all of the big urban radio stations in town and single-handedly changed Alexandria bar Fast Eddie’s from a country pool hall into a twice-weekly destination party for young people looking to hear the best in major label and independent hip-hop and R&B. He is the official DJ of the American Basketball Association, and he endorses both a flavored energy drink and a bottled water. “I have to keep the streets buzzing about me so it’s easier for Shayla to do her job,” Kash says.

Some of Kash’s accomplishments stem from work Logan has done, others are things that were already in place when the two met; Logan simply finalized the arrangements and brought contracts into the mix. When Logan found Kash, he was by no means floundering—he just needed some assistance.

He needed someone to remember all of his appointments. He needed someone to find new opportunities and renegotiate contracts for existing ones. He needed someone to memorize all of the PIN numbers and pass codes he always forgets. “She even has my keys—she keeps track of everything!” Kash says.

Logan accompanies Kash to events, or shows up for him when he’s unable to attend—she recently went to the DMV awards with him and stood in for him at the Wammies, where his most recent mix tape was nominated for “Album of the Year.” She basically caters to everything the artist needs during every moment when she’s not caring for herself or her family.

On a recent Wednesday, after working a full day at her full-time job as a business analyst, handling some homework, packing boxes for a move to a condo she’s just purchased in P.G. County, and playing with Skylar, Logan meets Kash at a happy-hour party at downtown club MCCXXIII. L.I.G. Entertainment, the company that hosts the weekly event, is interested in bringing Kash in to spin the following week, so the DJ wants to check out the setup; his manager wants to seal the deal if everything feels right.

When Kash arrives, he heads straight for the DJ booth—he knows the guy who is spinning, so he’s able to get on the mic and amp the crowd up a little. “SkyHy in the building!” he shouts. Kash remains in the booth for a couple of hours talking to the crowd and to the event promoter. Finally, around 8:30 p.m., Kash tells the crowd, “That’s right—Kash Monee will be in the building next week!”

Seeing that her client has decided to accept the offer to play the club, it’s Logan’s job to finalize and formalize the arrangement. She talks to the promoter about drawing up paperwork, pulls Kash out of the booth, and heads to their next appointment. Wednesdays are Logan’s club nights—any late appointments are scheduled for the one weeknight she’s out until the wee hours.

Around 9 p.m., the pair goes to the Grog and Tankard on Wisconsin Avenue NW to see whether the space can accommodate a party in celebration of the release of Kash’s latest mix tape that they hope to throw within the next few months. Kash again checks out the booth and takes in the rock band onstage. He stares incredulously at the kids up there doing a Monkees cover while Logan talks to the owner.

Finally, Logan and Kash finish out the night at Bohemian Caverns on U Street NW—Kash is currently working as an A&R for Defient Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and wants to check out a new R&B singer.

“It’s a lot,” Logan admits. “But I think I’m doing a great job.”

Soon folks will be able to hear, wear, and smell Kash Monee all at the same time.

Logan and Kash are finalizing a deal with House of Mohan, the incense and fragrance company that brought the world Kush, the rich, exotic scent favored by meditative types and dorm room Lotharios alike.

The scent Kash Monee, Kash says, is slightly reminiscent of Donna Karan’s Be Delicious with lots of other stuff thrown in. The ubiquitous House of Mohan incense packet—black with gold-foil type—will be the same, except for the bio of Kash that will replace the standard company info. The tagline for the collaboration, Logan says, is “the sweet smell of success.”

Logan also has just secured an endorsement with XO clothing, an up-and-coming area line, for Kash, who will sport its gear at the Greg Gates music conference in April, where he’ll hit the red carpet with the likes of boxer-actor Roy Jones Jr.

Logan’s accomplished a lot for her client in a short period of time, and by giving Kash every spare moment that isn’t devoted to family, school, or work, Logan has gained immeasurable experience in artist management, even if acting’s had to wait.

The former child actress is still interested in pursuing the field when her schedule allows, which isn’t very often.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Logan had a scheduled meeting with the director of an independent movie but had to postpone due to other obligations—including trying to get Kash home from a DJ gig in Atlanta. The job went fine, but the club screwed up Kash’s return flight reservation, and he had to marinate in an airport for several hours.

Logan doesn’t talk about her thespian background much. Kash says he only recently found out about his manager’s showbiz past—he recently played a role in a gospel movie and during a conversation about headshots and filming, discovered his manager knew an awful lot about both things.

Logan has an IMDB page with just one credit—her role in the James Earl Jones movie. She still goes on auditions and takes meetings, but her primary focus isn’t beefing up her profile.

“I started with a solid foundation, messed up, and now I’m getting back on target,” Logan says. “And I wouldn’t trade any of it.” the tour) and father (who visited his family on the road but was still working in Maryland full-time) considered relocating to Los Angeles so that their daughter might pick up another big acting gig. But in the end, nervous about uprooting the family, the Logans decided against the move. Flores, meanwhile, stayed with Annie, and when the show was over, her mother made the decision to remain in L.A.

“That’s where our lives kinda…we were running parallel, and then they took a turn,” Logan says.

While Logan went back to Maryland to attend school full-time and find D.C.-based work as an actor, Flores experienced a quick rise to fame, which culminated in a name change—Christine Flores became singer/actress/“Dip It Low” girl Christina Milian.

Christina Milian has done pretty well for a girl who got her start with a small role in a D.C. musical. Logan hasn’t done too badly for herself, either, although her path has been a bit different.

Logan managed to carve out a respectable career for herself in D.C. The reason she isn’t a household name like her Annie co-star isn’t about talent but a series of bad decisions made as a teen that took her away from acting but eventually helped push her toward the business side of the industry.

“When you’re good at different things, it’s hard to focus on just one,” Logan says. “But it’s my time to excel with this.”

More from WCP