International celeb – Tiffany Haddish
Girls Trip star TIFFANY HADDISH went from living in her car to gracing the 2018 cover of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. And she still has more boss moves up her sleeve!
Tiffany Haddish’s life story is true testament to the adage “every cloud has a silver lining”. Even though the LAborn actress and comedian got her big break as a contestant on the 2006 TV comedy competition show Who’s Got Jokes, her biggest role to date — or one that made Hollywood sit up and notice — was on the 2017 chick flick Girls Trip. Despite the amount of publicity and attention she earned from this film, Tiffany told Vanity Fair she didn’t consider Girls Trip her breakthrough film. We love a girl who doesn’t dance to Hollywood’s tune! “Girls Trip was like: ‘Oh good, I got a job!’,” she said. Instead, she singles out her stand-up comedy skit on The Arsenio Hall Show as one of her biggest career highlights. In the same interview, the actress also mentioned that the gig far surpassed performing at Def Comedy Jam The Tonight Show.
Speaking to The Atlantic, the 38-year-old opened up about some of the behind-the-scenes conversations that preceded her landing the Girls Trip role. Her agent told her that the film’s production team was looking for someone who already had a big name. And Tiffany’s witty response, via her agent, to the production team was: “I’ve had a name since 1979. Okay? I was born with a name.” And did she not prove the naysayers wrong?
To say she stole the show on that film would be the biggest understatement. In Vulture’s Emily Yoshida’s words, “Haddish is the clear and undeniable breakout star of the film; you cannot take your eyes off Haddish when she’s onscreen.” and
THE YEAR OF TIFFANY
In an era where many claim to be tired of the phrase ‘black firsts’, Tiffany’s successes should be an exception to this new rule. Not only did she make history as the first black female to host the 2018 MTV Movies & TV Awards as well as Saturday Night Live (SNL) in November 2017, but she also made the coveted 2018 Time’s 100 Most Influential People list. In true Tiffany style, her MTV Movies & TV Awards script was raw, unexpected and in her own words, “off the chain”! She kept everyone in stitches by picking on celebrities like the Kardashians. While poking fun at the famous TV family, in one of her monologues, she said: “I’m always excited to see the Kardashians. The family’s basically the Star Wars franchise. They make a ton of money. A new one is always popping up! And they’re ruled by a bossy overlord who sleeps in a mask and loves black men.” She later told Entertainment Weekly she hoped the opportunity to host the awards would empower other black women in the industry.
BLACK GIRLS IN COMEDY
The comedian often speaks openly about the challenges black women face in comedy circles, one of them being that it’s still male-dominated. The other is skin colour. Her own looks have spared her from being the victim of racist stereotypes often associated with women of colour in the US — that they are highly sexual and aggressive, but she’s made it very clear she won’t
be coerced into toning down her comedy acts.
This sentiment was supported by Insecure cast member Amanda Seales in a Los Angeles Times interview. “Black women in particular often feel pressure to figure out how to get into the mainstream, be the ‘it girl,’ and get white people to like them,” she said, adding that comedians of colour, in general, are only guaranteed success if they position themselves as cross-over acts that also appeal to white audiences.
COMEDY, HER SAVING GRACE
Throughout school, Tiffany was teased about living in foster care, and therefore turned to jokes as her defence mechanism. In her highly inspirational biography The Last Black Unicorn, she details how she developed a positive attitude and strong humour. “In high school, the hot chick on campus, Kiki, was messing around with this football player. One day, he talked to me on the bus, and she was like, ‘I’m gonna beat your ass!’ So I made a whole joke of it — running around the halls, saying, ‘Kiki said she’s gonna beat me up, y’all!’ and acting totally goofy. Pretty soon, everybody was laughing,” reads an excerpt from her memoir.
In the same book, she relayed the anecdote of being married at 27, and how her husband turned abusive. Once again, she used comedy to help her escape that reality, but adds that it wasn’t always easy. “I would pray, meditate, and write like mad, trying so hard to find the funny. But there was nothing funny about it,” she explained, also mentioning that “finding light when I was hurting so badly helped me hold on to who I was. And ultimately, that helped me get out — alive.”
In a heartfelt Time 100 issue piece comedian Kevin Hart penned about his friend, he recalled meeting her in 2005 and being immediately impressed with her raw talent. It was also during that encounter when Kevin noticed that Tiffany was living out of her car. A year later, doors started opening for her, but the big TV roles only trickled in from 2013, most notably on the spoof reality TV show The Real Husbands of Hollywood, OWN’s If Loving You Is Wrong and The Carmichael Show on NBC. Her long list of achievements includes lucrative deals with the likes of Netflix and HBO.
THE FUTURE AND BEYOND
Tiffany features in Universal’s Night School, set for release on 28 September 2018, alongside Kevin. We’ll also be seeing her as the lead in her friend Tyler Perry’s upcoming movie Nobody’s Fool, scheduled for release on 7 December. Tyler recently gifted Tiffany with a brand new SUV as a reward for her hard work and career success. Even with her many famous friends, Tiffany is determined to make it to the top through her own efforts. Asked what her long-term future holds, the skittish Tifanny, said: “The master plan is to be like little baby Oprah, with my own production company, maybe my own channel and inspire millions,” she told Vanity Fair.
WITH HER IDOL, OPRAH WINFREY