If you grew up in the 90s (or just turned on the TV during that decade, or any decade since) – you likely know Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks, your after-school buddy from NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And while Tatyana certainly made a name for herself in the wildly popular show (she won the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Youth Actor” as well as the Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series” – twice!), the girl who grew up in our living rooms hasn’t slowed down since. Rather, the Harvard grad (yup, she’s a smarty) has since appeared in numerous films, has recorded albums (including “Kiss the Sky,” which earned Tatyana a gold record) and has even entered the world of politics –speaking to college students and minority youth about the importance of voting and, as spokesperson for the Millennium Momentum Foundation, works to help educate and professionally develop young people for leadership roles that will impact their communities. For all the Fresh Prince fans out there: fret not. Her acting chops have not been put to rest. Rather, Tatyana recently founded a production company, HazraH Entertainment, which now has two shows under its belt and is currently starring in the Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom “Love That Girl!,” which is just coming off of a successful first season on TV One.
We sat down with Tatyana Ali and asked her to weigh in on Real Beauty…
What do you think makes someone beautiful?
The really beautiful people are confident enough to be kind.
How do you deal with the pressure for body perfection in our culture?
I try to ignore it. It’s difficult sometimes when everyone is stick thin, but I love my body, whether I’m carrying an extra ten pounds or not.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful when I’m with people I love.
If you could give your younger self advice about beauty, what would it be?
Know how beautiful and amazing you are now, because in the future you’ll look back at pictures of yourself and your bare midriff and wonder what the hell you were obsessing about.
What is your one, can’t-live-without-it beauty product?
Fiji body lotions!
Who is your beauty role model?
My mother. She’s gorgeous, giving and gracious—a true G!