Recently BeautifulBrownGirls.com was granted the opportunity to interview Essence Atkins the Star of the new comedy flick A Haunted House. The bite sized powerhouse gave Beautiful Brown Girls a brief insight into her eclectic yet rewarding life. Check out the hilarious wisdom of Essence Atkins:
On working with Marlon Wayans: “I love working with him. He is such a consummate professional, perfectionist and workaholic. He inspires me and motivates me. I think the next project I will request to have Wayans added to my name. We just really love and respect each other so much that it just translates to us wanting to revisit that artistic chemistry. What grounds this movie is the fact that it has a story. It’s not just a bunch of random skits that is thrown together and called a parody. It’s a love story.”
On Motherhood: “Being a mom is so much more than you can imagine it to be. In your mind, you think that everything is going to be perfect and that everyday there will be cherubs playing and then poof they’re off to college. The moment’s in-between are so fabulous and awe inspiring but at the same time can be frustrating and confusing. The first 90 days of motherhood I likened it to pledging. I felt like I needed a stamp and a tattoo after I was done with those 90 days. There was a moment when my husband would come home from work and I was literally sitting in our living room crying because I could not get my son to burp. I was asking my husband; “What am I doing wrong?” “Am I hitting him too hard? “ “What is it!” Then I would look at my son and cry and say; “I’m sorry, mommy doesn’t know what she’s doing, I’m new at this!” Who would imagine that, that is motherhood, but that’s motherhood!”
On being a working mom: “It’s a work in progress. One of the things that I have learned so prominently in this last year, is that I have to let myself have a reprieve from the perfectionist version of myself that I have in my mind; this personification that I have created that I have to live up to. When you have a child there are some moments that you can’t plan for; some moments can’t be scheduled. You have to yield to that and become more flexible and forgiving of yourself. That’s the gift my son gave me…patience. I even have to exercise patience with my body. A lot of people look at me and say I look great for just having a baby and that you can’t even tell that I had a child 6 weeks ago. Well I can tell. When I look in the mirror in the morning I can tell the difference. And there is this part of me that wants to rush and get back to the person that was looking at me in the mirror before, and then I have to go wait..that person is gone. I’ve evolved. A metamorphosis took place and I have to move with it. We (moms) need to talk about that more and encourage each other a bit more. In the media you get these snippets of people who seem to literally have birth and like 12 days later they’re walking the runways like Heidi Klum. And then you look at that and go, I gotta do that. But you don’t know what process she went through to achieve that shape. You don’t know what she gave up to do that, but also you don’t necessarily have to do that. That’s what I want the BBG readers to get from my journey is to just be kind to yourself.”
On being known as a comedic actress: “I’m known for comedy, but I have done a lot of dramatic work. Comedy just sticks with me for some reason. Some may get offended if you label them as one thing, well listen were all so much more than what were labeled. I’m not a slave to a label, my work proves my relevancy.”
On being a woman of color in the entertainment industry: “Be better. We don’t start off on equal territory. You have to realize that with every job there is some type of stigma. Someone is going to think that you got the job out of pity or for the sake of affirmative action. Just be aware that you do not have to become the arbiter of blackness, but just be conscious about the imprint that you are leaving because it might affect someone else. Were not seen a lot of times as individuals, were seen as representatives of our race, so rather than resent that just be aware of that because there is someone coming after you who needs you to succeed.”
What’s Next: ” I’m still working on Mr. Box Office with Bill Bellamy and Tim Meadows. Part of the reason why I chose to work on Mr. Box office was the flexibility. I am able to have more time with my son and raise him. I’m also writing a book, full of anecdotal stories about my life. Not an autobiography because I am way to young for that! The book is more of a satirical peek into my life, and some of the lesser known aspects of me. Hopefully it’s funny and inspiring to whoever reads it. One of the most powerful things we have is our truth. To unearth our truth and expose ourselves can be extremely helpful to some. Yes, opening up like that can leave you vulnerable but it can also be helpful and inspiring to someone who may be going through something similar. One of the things that people who have come to know me say; “OMG! That was really your life!” or “That happened to you?” “You’re so not who I thought you were, you should write a book!” and here we are! There are a few movies down the line as well, you know whatever God wants to give me I will gladly receive it.”
Check out Essence in A Haunted House opening in theaters nationwide this Friday Jan. 11, 2013.