Tiffany Haddish on her time in foster care and overcoming ‘survival mode’

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In order to truly understand Tiffany Haddish’s fervent approach to life, you need to know the background that made her the woman and talent she is today.

In his opening speech for the Variety Changemakers Summitthe Girls trip The actress explained how her experience navigating the foster care system left her uncertain about the future.

“When I was in foster care, I mean, I thought I was going to die there,” Haddish recalled. “I didn’t think I would make it to 18. And when I got to 18, I was like, ‘OK, I really have to think bigger. And I’ve seen bigger, and I’m definitely where I thought I was. Well, it’s bigger than I thought, but I feel what I hoped to feel and it’s safe in my ability to support myself.

Haddish went on to recount the ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ abuse she suffered in foster care, but credits those difficult times with helping her learn the ‘people skills’ she was able to apply throughout. of her career. “I think those things made me strong enough to run this business,” she shared. “There’s a lot of mess in Hollywood and you have to be strong. But I don’t want to be ‘strong’, I just want to be a woman.”

Over the years, Haddish has achieved tremendous success, from becoming a Grammy-winning comedian to founding her non-profit organization, the She Ready Foundation, which matches foster children with internship programs in the entertainment industry. The program was born out of Haddish’s desire to boost the self-esteem of transitioning youth and “take away the feeling of childish trash” she felt growing up.

“When I was a kid and moved around, all my stuff had to be in trash bags, and moving around like that is not good for your self-esteem because it makes you feel like garbage that can easily be transported here or there,” she said.

“You start thinking of yourself as such, as trash. It was the worst feeling in the world personally, and I thought to myself, if I ever have power, I’m going to try to make sure the kids don’t feel like that, ”she added. “If I can reach out, I’ll try to change that feeling for them.”

Her work for others has also helped her do inner work. And while overcoming the adversity she experienced growing up was difficult, Haddish is clear about her purpose and understands the value she brings to the world.

“Sometimes I feel like trash, but I think that’s just the human condition,” she said. “So I have to tell myself that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. I am someone’s treasure.

TOPICS: foster family mental abuse Tiffany Haddish