One on One with Kim Wayans

If you grew up in the 90’s and don’t know who Kim Wayans is, you must be living under a rock. This multi-faceted phenomenal talent: actress, comedian, producer, writer and director, was born into the Wayans Family in New York City.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kim a few years ago during a run of her one-woman show “A Handsome Woman Retreats.” The show is a hilarious, and endearing, first hand account of her experiences at a 10-day silent meditation retreat she embarked upon at the urging of her yoga instructor. The show allows you to clearly see the transformation Kim made as she evaluated her life experiences from childhood to adulthood. The message is profound; my hope is that it continues to be booked around the country.

Since then, I have crossed paths with Kim on several occasions.

My daughters, both fans of her Amy Hodgepodge chapter book series, (which she co-authored with husband Kevin Knotts), were ecstatic to meet Kim at the Leimart Park Village Book Fair in the Spring of 2008. Notes the Penguin Group website, the series’ publisher, “children of all races will identify with Amy Hodgepodge because it deals with universal themes such as feeling ‘different,’ being teased, and making new friends.”

Most recently, Kim was ever so gracious to be my first interviewee for a series of celebrity interviews.

Shenita: Thank you Kim for taking the time to chat with me. So, let’s jump right into the questions. Is there a specific person and/or experience that inspired you to become an actress?

Kim: Not really. I came out of the womb knowing I wanted to do this with my life. I guess you could say, I was drawn that way. Growing up though, there were a few actresses who really inspired me–Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Barbra Streisand. And once Marla Gibbs was introduced to the world on “The Jeffersons,” I fell in love with her too.

Shenita: Who has been your biggest inspiration and/or motivator throughout your career?

Kim: My brother, Keenen. He has always been the go-to guy for career advice and motivation, and he basically taught me everything I know about comedy.

Shenita: If you could choose the ideal co-star, living or dead, who would that be and why?

Kim: Sidney Poitier. Because he’s a tremendous actor, whose grace and dignity has inspired generations.

Shenita: What advice would you give to African American actresses, of all ages, who deal with lack of roles and the ongoing pressures in Hollywood?

Kim: I would say to find a way to express your creativity no matter what. Write the roles you want to play, then bring it to the stage in a one-woman show, or create a web series, or put together a travelling troupe of like-minded performers and try to get booked in schools, churches, community centers, wherever. Don’t let your voice be silenced…where there’s a will, there’s a way. As for the pressures of Hollywood, you must surround yourself with grounded people, who know reality from make believe, and understand that family, friends, good health and spiritual connection mean more than anything else in the world.

Shenita: What shows can we find recorded on your DVR?

Kim: “Dancing With the Stars,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and my nephew Damon Jr.’s new show on ABC, “Happy Endings.”

Shenita: What is your favorite color?

Kim: That’s a hard one…there are many I love, especially purples, blues and kelly green.

Shenita: Share with us a little known fact about you?

Kim: I’m shy and have a quiet side, believe it or not.

Shenita: And lastly, where can we see you next?

Kim: I’m co-starring in a wonderful film called “Pariah” that opens December 28th. It’s my first dramatic role! For more information about the film, go to

Shenita: Thank you so much Kim. Best of luck in all your endeavors!

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