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2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon

Tatyana Ali is wise beyond her years – that much has been obvious since we watched the beautiful actress grow up on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the early ’90s.

It’s not hard to tell 2014 has been just as good, maybe better, to the 35-year-old triple threat. She just wrapped a new movie with The Game actor Jay Ellis that’s titled November Rule, released her independent EP Hello back in January, and if her million dollar smile is any indication, then it’s safe to assume she’s also happy, healthy, and loving life at this point.

Most recently, NecoleBitchie caught up with Tatyana and extracted a few gems about love, fear, purpose, and the impact Uncle Phil’s life has had on her own. Ultimately, we learn that she’s still just as lovable as “Ashley,” the Fresh Prince character America fell in love with all those years ago.

Get a dose of her flawlessness by checking out the interview highlights below.

On Not Believing Love & Fear Can Exist In The Same Place:

“My last relationship was probably the first one that I probably felt some type of kinship with someone. And so, it’s not so much lessons learned as it is love [taking] courage. I can’t be with someone who is not courageous. Love means you can’t live in fear and have love at the same time. Not the kind of love that I’m looking for. And that’s what I learned from that.”

On The Difference Between “Almost Love” & Real Love:

“My last relationship was probably over a year ago… Like ‘relationship, relationship,’ and there are definitely songs inspired by that. ‘Almost Love’ (from my album) is about that. You go through it. It hurts but it just means it wasn’t right. It wasn’t really love. It took me a while to get to that point… Real love isn’t that. It can’t be! [laughs]”

On Being Uninterested In Men Who Are Struggling:

“[On The Breakfast Club Morning Show] they asked me if I would date a struggling actor. Or somebody struggling. That’s totally different. [I said ‘No’ but] I thought a lot about my answer after I left because I’m not a materialistic person at all. Like, I’m really not, you know what I mean? When I say, “You have to be successful already,’ it’s not in terms of ‘money.’ It means in terms of ‘your purpose.’ You have to have come into your purpose already because I’m already in mine. So I don’t see myself being with somebody who’s still searching. To me, that’s struggling.”

She Considers Herself to be an “Awkward Black Girl:”

“Although I’m becoming less awkward. Part of what was funny about ‘Awkward Black Girl’ is that [Issa Rae] had these things inside that she wanted to say and wanted to do but it was always a question of should she let it out or should she not let it out. So more and more in my life- I think it’s just [me] getting older- I just say exactly what I want to say now. If I’m awkward, I’m going to be awkward in front of everyone.”

While Filming Her New Movie November Rule, She Realized She’s Been a Victim:

“[November Rule] is this great romantic comedy about this guy who has a rule, he calls it his ‘November Rule’. Basically, he is a commitment phobe and he breaks up with anyone he is dating in the month of November so he doesn’t have to go through Christmas, New Year’s or Valentine’s Day with them. He doesn’t have to meet their family, he doesn’t have to get really intimate with them. And it’s funny because I was kind of looking back at my life like ‘Uh, wait- has this happened to me? Does October count?! Ahh no!’

It’s definitely happened to me. So now this film is exposing the ugly truth about it. But my character is the girl he breaks up with in November, so we had a really good time [filming] but it hit close to home because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I’ve seen this before!’ [laughs].”

On James Avery (Uncle Phil) Impacting The Person She Is Today:

“I would say more so his life impacted me greatly. James was sick for a little bit. So his health was in question on and off. But no, his life impacted me and it impacted so many people. Just what he stood for, his life, who I am as an artist- [all] has everything to do with the fact that I grew up with him. He was incredibly brilliant. He was a writer. He was an incredible actor, theater actor, vocal actor. And he knew. People talk about how ‘Uncle Phil’ impacted their lives, like young men talk about it like, ‘Oh, it was cool that I didn’t grow up with my dad because I had Uncle Phil,’ that wasn’t on accident. James knew what he was doing. And when we would all sit down and have notes after every episode, he maintained his character’s integrity. There were things that different writers might’ve wanted Uncle Phil to do or say or act in a certain way and James wasn’t having it. Like it was absolutely on purpose. He knew that stories matter. They make a difference.”

SOURCE: NecoleBitchie | PHOTO CREDIT: Wenn 

12 Photos Of James Avery’s Infamous Scowling Face As Uncle Phil (PHOTOS)
12 photos

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