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Tasha Smith: From stripper to entrepreneur

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 17 May 2016   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Tasha Smith: From stripper to entrepreneur

She is just everything that people loves her in the movies for, sweet, speaks her mind, beautiful and every girl’s best friend. Her personality and energy radiates from within. The effervescent Tasha Smith who is an American actress grilled women in Botswana about self-empowerment. She told them that they should know that they can come from nothing to something. She said the words of women’s testimonies are the ones that inspire each other. Smith said that Americans like her have similarly gone through the same and said it is a miracle for her to be where she is because she was born to a 15 years old mother who had to carry her and her twin sister. Up to now she has never met her father, but said she believes he was a bad brother because of how special she has become.


She said being born of a 15 year old and coming from Jersey, they did not have anything to grow up with at all where her mother ended up resorting to crack and cocaine. “As a young girl by the time I was 10 years old watching my mum on drugs, our house became a place where people came to get high and by the time I was 14 we had been evicted several times, going home every day not knowing whether we will have our furniture inside or outside the house,” she said.  This led to her dropping out of school. Her first job was a bar attendant at a strip club. She went from bar attending to being a stripper, but then she got introduced to cocaine. From 14 to 25 years old she was hooked on cocaine.  She, however, said despite all that happened to her she still looks so good because of the power of God and his mercy.


Smith captivated the audience as she narrated her story, telling them that she was the girl that helped make coke, and that was her hassle because she didn’t really know what else to do because she didn’t feel worth it. “I was sexually and physically abused and everything that you could have imagined happening to that young girl happened to me,” she said. She was consumed with depression and insecurities and made her feel like she was not worth anything, because she did not have a father or education. In the midst of all that she had a dream and a vision inside her heart to be an actress, and definitely it was crazy for some people because of her being a daughter of a crack head and not having education but she walked around telling everyone her dream since she believed in it. She said that she always saw herself in television even though it always sounded strange to people around her.


She encouraged women to follow their dreams even as they may always seem odd and weird to people around them. She encouraged them to know that when God gives a vision, He will definitely open doors. Armed with a vision she always wondered how she was going to make it and who will help her get there, and one day actress Tisha Campbell came to her neighborhood. Smith boldly approached Campbell and invited her for dinner at her house, and because of the boldness that the latter saw in her as a little girl, she indeed came over and a few days later she came looking for her. She said that all the obstacles that were on her way have actually created her to be the woman that she is today, and that should be the same with almost everyone. Smith said having not felt attractive and not special in any way did not deter her from the dream she had but it propelled her to go further even though she felt like nothing. Smith said the important part is making a decision and not letting anything stop you from pursuing the dream, the way someone cannot be stopped from going to the toilet. “People in my community had a lot of things to say about my dream, they thought I was tripping but it was not based on what men said but what God had shown me,” she said. 


She said the spirit of determination when someone has a vision and a goal as a business woman or entrepreneur is what is very important. She said a lot of outspoken women like her should make sure that they use that for the things that will advance them by settling their minds on things that they are going to do. Life has never been easy to her but Smith has always held it together and she said she makes it that way and knows how to give the devil the middle finger. She appreciated the opportunity of having been able to come to Botswana and share her skills and experiences with the people of Botswana. She was with actor Morocco Amari who has acted in hits like Prison Break and will be appearing in the next season of the hit series Empire. Amari appreciated the warmth and kindness of Batswana. “The humility I feel here is something that we clearly don’t have in America. There is nothing beautiful like being with our beautiful brown skinned people,” she said.  She said having experienced racism, it is beautiful to come to people who make them feel that indeed they are one of them. “You can have potential but without discipline it will not take you far," she said.