Hello Queen!!!! What an amazing time it is to have such a blessed and talented WOC such as yourself, share your story with others that look like you and that can learn from your insights. — Shaquita, first please tell us what life was like for you as a young girl.
Wow! Of course! My life has been an extremely beautiful journey. I was raised by my amazing grandmother Yvonne Underwood along with my twin brother Shawn Smith. I lived in Birmingham Alabama with so many inspirations and ambition to be exactly what I am today, an actress.
Why were you doing before you got into acting? When did you know you would work in the professional arts industry?
I actually started acting when I was 10 years old. This has been all that I ever wanted to do. I got a scholarship for theatre and it’s been history ever since. Momma didn’t raise no quitter so I just continued to do what I loved to do.
Tell us about your first big role; and big, as in big deal to you!! What was it for and how did the opportunity come about?
Of course! I enjoyed landing a role as captain Sara Larrabbe on NCIS New Orleans. Playing alongside Scott Bakula was iconic. I loved Scott on Star Wars! He was so amazing to work with.
Have you ever doubted your career path choice or second-guessed your ability to succeed or do well? If so, how did you overcome those thoughts or feelings?
I’ve had moments where things got harder for me but I never quit believing.
What have been some of your favorite moments while working in the tv/film industry?
The opportunity to be on set and making magic with great people. I love the space to express myself in all shapes and forms. I’m such a method actor that I enjoy staying in character while I’m on set.
What have been some of your biggest lessons learned throughout this journey and how can you encourage the next WOC in this area?
Be yourself!!! Love yourself! Never change to fit in! No one is like you and simply be yourself in all capacity.
Do you typically get presented with or accept roles that are similar in nature to your true character, or have you had some experiences with completely different roles?
I believe that in every role I accept, there is a little me in some capacity. I never judge the role that I’m offered. I only find the truth in the character and allow that to lead within me as I perform.
If you could have the opportunity to work on set with anyone in the industry, who would be your top 3 requests and why?
Wow, so my top 3 individuals that I would work with would be Johnny Depp, vincent D’onofrio and Angelina Jolie, these three indivisible bring such a dynamic performance in everything that they portray. I study the arts and these three study the arts, write their objectives and push through new heights!
Have you ever experienced ill treatment or push back as a WOC in your field? If so, how did you deal with it and how do you prepare to encounter a possible bad experience due to race and gender in the future?
Being a WOC I’ve always had to prove myself, have to be the best and allow my talent and hard word to dictate who I am. This is the world we live in, always fighting for something… being a woman, being a woman of color or even being from the south.
But the way you push through is what matters to me. I never let someone else’s cruelty dictate my life.
What has your support system been like as you follow your dreams and live a high-demand lifestyle?
My support, no matter what, has always been my rock. Big or small they always support me no matter that. They love me even if I stopped today. My support makes me realize why I continue to fight this very fight in this industry.
Let’s talk about your new projects! First, Tell us about Wicked City on All Blk. How did you come into the role of Jordan and what were your initial thoughts and feelings?
I was super ecstatic that I would be able to play a role that was different that what other people see me as. I remember auditioning for the role and the joy I had just being unapologetically herself.
We love Jordan’s character because it promotes self-awareness and self-acceptance. What do these concepts mean to you in real life?
I believe a lot of people consume themselves with other people’s pinions when it really matters most, how you feel about yourself.
Did you experience any backlash due to the “magical” theme of the show?
Of course, I did but what I would like people to take away from the show is that we all are portraying characters and giving individuals voices that don’t have any. Shows are for entertainment, for education or to give people awareness. But truly this show is about sisterhood, if you take away magic that’s all that you’ll see.
How important is versatility for you, in your career?
Everything, I have a background of theatre and I really enjoy being all types of roles and not judging them. It allows me not to be boring with the same one dimensional role for me.
What messages do you hope viewers pull from Jordan and the show?
When it comes to Jordan, I feel like she needs to know that the power she has, she already has it. She doesn’t have to fit in to be included. You’re worthy, you’re powerful and amazing if you only believe that within yourself.
How about your recent work with The Best Man! How did that opportunity come into play and what was your experience like on set?
Wow!! I loved being on that set with some outstanding legends! Morris Cheatnut, Taye Diggs and Harold are such beautiful souls and we had a great time on set. Very professional and loving. I grew up looking at their work and being around them. So it was amazing and Malcolm Lee is such a gifted director, that he made our set feel relaxed and outstanding.
What can we expect from this old/new masterpiece, and how can we follow these new shows?
I think it’s all into the writing and the direction of the shows. It’s bringing us all up to date on where things have gone since we last checked in for the original movie. — Streaming services is where a lot of our awesome shows are being viewed.
If you could share advice for the younger OR older WOC aspiring to be an actress or even a director/producer?
I would say that you should write your plans out, make set goals and allow yourself to cry but get back up. Align yourself with your purpose and dont take no for an answer.
What is your favorite thing about working in the field of The Arts?
I love that I am able to express myself and give the world a piece of me. Leaving Shaquita on the camera, is my legacy.
What do you have coming up next and how can we stay in the know with your projects and updates?
Wow! — Yes, so I am starring in a new romantic comedy called “My Valentine Crush” on BET for Valentine’s Day. Playing alongside Travis Cure, Jeff Logan, Dawn Halfkenny and Monti Washington.
Please keep in touch through my website and socials:
Bookings: Amy Lord
Eris Talent agency @eristalentagency
Interview: Brittany Miller @mrsbrittmiller
Hair Touchups: @mrsbrittmiller
Makeup: Iris Marquez @makeupbyirissmua
Creative Director & Graphic Design: Brittany Miller @mrsbrittmiller
Photography: Dope Shots Photography @dopeshotsbyprecious