The Quintessence of Essence
Essence Atkins was born in New York City on February 7, 1972. Between her innate sense of comedy and girl-next-door charm, it makes sense that she has become one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. Last year, she played a lead role in Dance Flick, a spoof of the dance genre produced by the Wayans Brothers.
On the UPN comedy series Half & Half, she starred as Dee Dee Thorne, a privileged, honor-roll law school graduate searching for her identity. Still, Essence is probably best known for her role as Yvette Henderson in the syndicated Disney series The Smart Guy and for her recurring role as Marnie on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Essence Atkins "Are We Ther Yet"
She was also a series regular on several other television shows, including Aaron Spelling's Malibu Shores and the critically acclaimed CBS drama Under One Roof. Her many guest-starring credits include House, The Class, Love Inc., Moesha, For Your Love, The John Larroquette Show, The Wayans Brothers, The Parent 'Hood, Family Matters and The Cosby Show.
Atkins’ film career includes the title role in the independent film Nikita's Blues. And she delivered memorable performances in Love Song, How High and Deliver Us From Eva. Furthermore, she’s enjoyed co-starring roles in Looking through Lillian, Love & Other Four Letter Words, Preacher's Kid and N-Secure which is currently in theaters.
As a familiar face on four TV series and with numerous screen roles under her belt, Essence is a versatile talent whose star continues to rise. Here, she talks about co-starring opposite Terry Crews in Are We There Yet, the hit sitcom airing on the TBS Network.
Kam Williams: Hi Essence, thanks for the time.
Essence Atkins: No problem, whatsoever.
KW: What interested you in playing Suzanne on Are We There Yet?
EA: Just the desire to play a mom, wanting to play someone actually closer to who I am and where I am in my life. People are used to seeing me play the single, hot girl, which has been fun, but at the same time, this role is more akin to my natural proclivities. [Laughs]
KW: I know you got married a year ago. Congratulations! You sound like you
Essence and her new hubby
might be planning to have children soon.
EA: We’re in the practicing phase. I keep asking the coach to put me in the game. So, we’ll see. [LOL]
KW: Did your friends think you were crazy for marrying a man you met on the internet?
EA: Yeah, they did think I was nuts. Everyone was like, “Why do you need to meet someone on Match.com?” My response was, “I certainly don’t need to meet more of the same broke, acting class guys that I’d been dating my whole life.” I needed to change that whole paradigm. So, I decided to meet some corporate guys and see how that worked. So, I went on Match, but I didn’t put a picture up, because I’m on television, and I didn’t want anybody contacting me for the wrong reasons. So, I had to do the hunting, as it were. I didn’t anticipate meeting my husband online, but there he was. And it all worked out!
KW: Were you at all intimidated by the fact that Are We There Yet had first been a hit on the big screen and that your character had been played by Nia Long?