ASM: The theme of our issue is ‘wake up.’ So for as long as you have been in the entertainment industry and this earth, what would you say you have learned about yourself that has woken you up and helped you push forward and made you look at things a little differently in comparison to before?
TMH: In the beginning, I was a shy person in the industry and that is one of the reasons I liked the idea of acting because I could hide behind the character. Then I did a reality show with my sister, I was so afraid because I did not know how to be myself because I played someone else for so long. I was a people pleaser and was afraid of how people were going to respond to me being me, and it was scary. So, I learned the power of being vulnerable even though I knew I would get criticized. There is however, more of a positive response when you speak from the heart and speak the truth because that is when you are able to relate to people. Do not be afraid to talk about your vulnerability or your struggles because there are people going through similar situations. A lot of times, we want to hide that side of us, but people do not get to learn from someone living this perfect life. No one lives this perfect life - it does not exist. When I became okay with the idea that I would not be able to please everybody, that is when I started to live. I realized that I will be just fine because no matter what, there will be people who will not like what I have to say. You could be the sweetest, kindest and nicest person in the world but there will be a fraction of people who will not like you anyway. You cannot stop the train for anyone, keep continuing to be yourself, stay focused and be authentically you. You will always find someone who relates to you and is inspired and encouraged. This cannot happen until you let go of the idea of wanting to please everybody. I became imprisoned in that when I focused on pleasing others but when I let that go and started living, being authentically myself, learning along the way and being vulnerable, that is when I realized, I can always be of help to somebody else directly or indirectly.
ASM: For women (and men) of color who have followed your career and do relate to you, what would you say to them who want to follow their hearts in various aspects of their lives?
TMH: My mom taught me this, “if you what something done right, you have to go do it yourself.” What I love about that is this, if you do not see something out there that should be acknowledged or whatever the situation may be, you can be vocal and fight for what is right but at the same time, you must put action behind it. You must create the platform and opportunity yourself. Once you do that, people will finally wake up and see the necessity of what you created. So, we must keep on moving forward and do not focus on being just the trend – one day we are in and beautiful and the next day we are out. No, we have always been beautiful and must always be in. It is very important to fight for those opportunities for all people of color – black, white, brown, beige or yellow, it does not matter. We must stand up for those who do not have a voice or opportunity in whatever the situation it is. That is what I would love to see more as we continue to wake up and move forward.