The The Haves & Have Nots actress is humble, uber talented and has the go-getting attitude to make it big in this industry.
This month, Tika is sitting pretty in denim with a well-groomed poodle as she graces the pages of Essence Magazine's August 2014 issue. Inside, the 34-year-old Queens native poses in a fashionable spread while sharing some of her favorite looks, her biggest lesson learned, and her journey from selling hams to becoming one of the most sought-out young stars in Hollywood.
Peep the highlights and pics:
On her journey from selling hams to becoming an actress
I used to work at a movie theater and sold hams at Honey Baked Ham during the holidays. I sold a ton of hams, and they offered me a regular job there, which I turned down. I feel like anything you do, just do it 100% because then that work ethic will bleed through when it’s time to work on your dreams. I was working in customer service and had a verbally abusive boss. One day I decided to quit and pursue my acting passion with everything I had. One week after quitting I booked One Life to Live.
On her mantra
Be grateful If you're given little and you are grateful, when you get big, you'll be even more grateful for that. Like, I was grateful for the little apartment I had in a drug-infested environment. I took care of it and I made sure it was clean, so when I bought a house, I knew how to take care of it.
On what her daily work life is like
It's hectic. It's fun, but it's mostly just work, work, and work. Everybody's like, "Oh, do you joke around on set?" I mean, sometimes, but our schedule is so strenuous on that show, so we work really hard and have to just move, but it's great. I watch Tyler [Perry]. I watch Oprah [Winfrey]. All the people on her team are dream builders, and they believe in other people's dreams. I feel like this is a home where I feel safe to expand my dreams because these are people who are accessible. They scraped their way to the top. They worked really hard, and they support other people in their camps who want to go beyond just what is right now.
On the first time she splurged
I bought a Louis Vuitton bag, and then I bought Giuseppe Zanotti shoes. It was crazy for me, like, “Oh, my card's not going to decline." Everything doesn't have to be super-expensive, but if you do spend, invest in shoes and a bag.
On the biggest lesson she learned
The biggest thing I've learned from Candace is don't let anger and life's experiences eat you up, where you start becoming bitter and not caring about anything because when you don't care about anything, there's really nothing to live for.
On her staying power secret
My work ethic and being nice. People want to enjoy working with you. Producers and directors tell me all the time that people call and ask about how it is to work with me before I get offered a job. It pays to be nice.
On her theme song
Eminem's “Lose Yourself.” When I first started auditioning, I would play that before going in the room: "Lose yourself. You only get one shot. Do not miss your chance because opportunity comes once in a lifetime, so you better lose yourself in it" I would then take up every inch of air in the room. Even if I don't get the role, you're going to remember me. I think it's just losing myself in my art. Just being courageous.