Actress, accredited playwright, columnist and founder of an online company, Tiffany Black is defying boundaries and relentless pursuing her passions.
You do a lot of things, which of your many hats do you enjoy wearing the most?
I love acting. I just want to act. Everything I do aside from acting is really to just serve that purpose. The stories I write have perfect roles for black women. The website I founded, www.plentypennies.com, is my ode to acting. It is honestly my childhood dream and despite my height, newcomer or A-lister, I will chase it until I’m dead.
How would you describe your approach to acting?
Honestly. I read an article about Sanaa Lathan. She said “Acting is not lying. It’s telling the truth.” I couldn’t agree more. People can tell when someone is doing too much or not giving enough. I use the Ivana Chubbuck technique, some Stanislavski, and I love Meisner. There’s no right or wrong technique. The only way to perform at a high level consistently is to tell the truth of the character.
Who are your acting heroes?
I’ve been taught and mentored by Tasha Smith. I studied in her class for a couple of years after completing my conservatory acting program. She’s amazing. Actress Joy Bryant has also been one of my mentors. She’s so reassuring. She thinks I’m great and that makes me think I’m great. It’s childish on my part but it works! I live for Kerry Washington’s work. I met her at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon this year and she just blows me away in Scandal. Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep, and Angela Bassett are incomparable. I also look up to Tatyana Ali and Reagan Gomez. They are two who really stand on their own two feet and create their own opportunities. That’s groundwork. Indie work is like construction work, it’s hard, it’s sweaty, and lazy people don’t do it.
As a newcomer, working with others can accelerate your career or derail it. What has been your strategy with choosing indie projects?
I do indie work with people I trust. Trust can be built through friendships, high recommendations, or an impressive body of work. That’s kind of how I ended up joining my artist collective, Fearless Rock Projects. I met Aja (Director Kitty) through mutual friends. We had the same vision and dedication to creating projects. One project led to the next and within 3 months we completed four projects and built a solid team. I am always so proud to show off our work and let people into what we work so hard on producing. We usually have no budget, limited transportation, and tight scheduling, but we always make it work.
Tell us more about what inspires you to write your own projects.
I believe that writing, as well as acting, are all gifts from God. I want to treat them that way. I write projects that have meaning and give more than just entertainment to the audience. I don’t particularly write gospel projects, but I never write trash or settle for a cheap laugh. When I was writing, acting, and directing my first play, an ensemble piece called, I’M AN ACTOR, THEY DON’T GET IT, my goal was to never give the audience a chance to look at their programs. I want to engage people and show them true life allowing them to see themselves and learn from the achievements and failures that make humanity. I challenged the music industry in my play turned short film, CALL FOR BACK-UP. I’m writing my first feature now that deals with the dichotomies within black sororities. I want to engage my audiences as a performer and a writer so they leave the theater talking about what they experienced for the next month.
What would you say is the biggest challenge as an actress?
Having morals and standards makes it difficult. As a woman, I’ve been challenged and compromised. Being pretty can help you and hurt you in this industry. I know who I am and what I’m willing to do to be successful. My integrity isn’t up for grabs. Some things are just out of the question for me.
How can people stay in touch with you?