Inspirational Women In Hollywood: Why Actress Daffany Clark Aims To Bridge The Gap Between Fathers And Daughters
Mental health: there are so many people who suffer from a mental illness but the world just calls them crazy and tends to throw these individuals to the side. They are left locked in facilities, are often homeless, or addicted to drugs and alcohol. I would start mental health programs with facilities to help them get their lives back on track.
Fatherless daughters: Being that I am a daughter who reunited with her biological father 4 year ago it is crucial that we bridge the gap between fathers and daughters. The first love of a woman is her father and if she doesn’t have one present in her life she will likely not have standards of what to expect in her life and will fall susceptible to any man.
The war on racism in America: Combating a generational system that was built on the backs of Blacks but not to support them in any capacity is the hurtful reality of this country. It’s not the so-called “land of the free” because we are still fighting for rights we are entitled to. Fighting to be equal and seen in the eyes of the law. Blacks are still being opposed to this day.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Actress Daffany Clark.
Born and raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Daffany Clark used acting as a sense of escapism at a very young age. As she began taking her first acting classes in grade school, she quickly realized that she wanted to continue on this trajectory throughout her life. After graduating from Columbia College where she majored in Fine Arts, she made the leap to Los Angeles in 2009. She quickly moved from LA transplant to a working actress, studying under the instruction of Choice Skinner at the Breakin Through Acting Workshop.
Daffany’s strength and resilience has given her the ability to achieve the greatest heights. In 2012, she landed her first recurring guest star role on The Fosters as “Daphne” where she quickly became a fan favorite during the pilot episode. She was then brought back throughout seasons 1 through 5. In addition to her success on The Fosters, Daffany can also be seen in the feature films Wingman Inc. (dir. By Choice Skinner) and 5150 (dir. By Micheal Cory Davis. Daffany has also been featured in two powerful short films; Astraddle (dir. By Andre Strong) and For The Family (written and dir. by Randy Ranz).
Most recently, Daffany is set in a co-star role with the incomparable John Singleton on his new BET show Rebel and is to be set in the supporting role in the film Bodied by Joseph Kahn. Furthermore, Daffany can be seen in Will Fobes’ latest film, John Henry in the character of “Savage.”
Daffany is currently working on producing, writing, and starring in her own One Woman Show. Pieces, tells the intricate life of one woman’s past, comprised of family mental illness, abandonment, foster care and deep psychological scars forcing her to overcome her struggles and find purpose in her life. In particular, this show shares the struggles and battles the actress herself has faced as she uses her story and voice to relate to other individuals who may experience these similarities.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I knew at an early age that acting was my gift from God that would serve as my contribution to the world. My drive and purpose in this world is to make a difference and overall impact people’s lives. My own life story is a testament to that. Acting was a way for me to escape as a child. Not understanding the life God gave me helped me cope with the reality of it all. I discovered my gift and knew I was the chosen one to go off and become someone great.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Taking a big leap of faith and moving to Los Angeles from Chicago in 2009 was immediately a life lesson for me. LA is a place you have to get acclimated to. During my first month in LA, I had met an amazing person by the name of Choice Skinner who instantly became my mentor and acting coach. Like myself, he originally was an acting student but had shifted gears by becoming a teacher and opening his own acting studio. He foresaw that my first role would be on television and four years later I booked the pilot of the hit TV show The Fosters. A year after the pilot, the producers wrote me into the show as a recurring character, “Daphne” for all the five seasons. My storyline on the show was so identical to my real life! I really enjoyed playing this role.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first starting off in the industry, I auditioned for a role on “Empire” with Leah Daniels-Butler where the character had to sing. Knowing I’m not a singer by any means I wanted the opportunity to audition for her. I picked an Erykah Badu song that really didn’t require a lot of vocal skill. I went into the room to audition and started off with the song. Following the song I read for the role. When it was all done Leah said to me “Now you know you can’t sing but you can act your ass off.” We both laughed and I told her I was just grateful for the opportunity to meet and audition for her. When I left I laughed all the way home. It was one of the best experiences I had.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Considering what is currently happening in the world especially with the industry being put on pause for a brief moment, we, as artists and creatives, are driven to build our own content. The old way of “making it” in Hollywood is long gone. Artists have the most unstable profession in the world. Becoming an entrepreneur allows you the freedom to create your own lane to reach success. I am currently working on a feature film titled A New Life by Choice Skinner. In addition, I am working on my own one-woman show that chronicles my life and how/why I became an actress.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
As of right now, I can’t pinpoint a particular person that has been the most interesting that I have encountered. Los Angeles is filled with interesting people in general but no one in particular has given me that “wow” effect.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The industry is not for the faint of heart. Only the strong survive out here. You have to know who you are, stand in your truth, know your purpose and the reason why you chose this profession or why it chooses you. The rest of it is staying focused, disciplined, ambitious, determined and persistent. Everyday will be different and you must embrace it. There will be hard times and days you want to give up, but you always have to remember your reason as to why you are doing this in the first place. You must not come in with a mindset of “whether or not you’ll be successful,” you must have a mindset of “when will this happen” because it will happen. Prepare yourself to get there and then maintain yourself to stay there.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
I am blessed to be able to open my eyes every morning. In exchange, I pray, meditate, and stretch all while burning sage/palo santo and listening to gospel music. This starts my day off by giving God the praise and glory. I also read my daily devotions from three books: Words of Jesus for Women, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and A Year of Miracles by Marianne Williamson. This sets the tone for my day by armouring myself with the word of God and the necessary provisions before I step outside into the world. I always end the day with how I started before I go to bed.
My workouts are how I spend personal time for myself to improve mentally and physically. My workouts consist of three days with my trainer (Rae Siskind-Symmetry Fitness) with cardio before and three days of cardio by myself. Both challenge and push me past my limits.
Burke William Spa days are my favorite. These types of days are a “mental health” time for myself to relax, recharge, reflect, and reset. A massage and a facial always do the trick for me as well as sitting in the steam room or jacuzzi. I usually go twice a month but since COVID-19, I haven’t been able to indulge so I have instead dedicated Sundays as “self care” days. Having time for myself and blocking out the world brings me peace.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be patient with yourself. When I moved to LA, I seriously thought I would arrive and automatically be discovered overnight. It was the ambition and passion that made me believe it would be relatively easy. Boy, I was wrong! I knew I was talented but there are a lot of talented people here. I had to work twice as hard to leave a lasting impression. The years flew by and I wasn’t getting younger. I had to realize that it doesn’t happen when you want it to, it happens when it’s supposed to.
- Save every penny you get from working as an actor. I have always worked extremely hard to support myself with a regular job. However, it’s important to have multiple streams of income. Using your job money for life expenses and money you get from working as an actor for saving purposes.
- Get an LLC or corporation. You are the CEO of your own company. Learning about taxes and the perks of having a company are extremely important.
- A support system: having a support system is crucial to your success. It may not always consist of family but make sure it consists of those that believe in you, love you and who will be there for you through it all.
- Keep going: No matter what life throws at you you gotta keep going. LA is filled with people who gave up when life got hard and theres a small percent that actually “make it” because they kept going.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Live your dream.” This quote and the name of my business was inspired by me taking the leap of faith and going after a dream no one else believed in, except for me. I lived a regular life and worked a regular job and was miserable until I decided to move to LA. I told myself that I would even live on the beach in Santa Monica if I had to but I was absolutely not going back to Chicago. I was going to make my dreams come true. There are so many people in the world working for someone else’s dream and by the time they realize their dream, the years have rolled by and they eventually give up. You only have one life so you should live it by doing what you love everyday.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Choice Skinner: I met him in August of 2009 (my first month in LA) at an acting class. Everyone in this acting class knew of and acknowledged his talent as an actor. He gave me the best advice during a performance night he told me “to make the character “ghetto”. I took his advice and got a standing ovation. From that night on, he became my friend and mentor. He had been teaching and coaching other actors for years so I convinced him to open his own class. He opened a studio in which he entitled it “The Breakin Through Acting Workshop.” I trained with him for four years before I booked the pilot of the show The Fosters. We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the class last year. Not only is Choice a teacher and coach, he’s a filmmaker, writer, director, and producer with a resume that consists of films such as: Brotherly Love, Wingman Inc., Keep The Faith, and his newest upcoming film, A New Life, which I star in. Choice has been there since the beginning of my career and has always supported me through creating roles for me in his films and molding me into the artist I am today. It has been 11 years of being blessed by this amazing man. I couldn’t be more grateful and humbled.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
1. Mental health: there are so many people who suffer from a mental illness but the world just calls them crazy and tends to throw these individuals to the side. They are left locked in facilities, are often homeless, or addicted to drugs and alcohol. I would start mental health programs with facilities to help them get their lives back on track.
2. Fatherless daughters: Being that I am a daughter who reunited with her biological father 4 year ago it is crucial that we bridge the gap between fathers and daughters. The first love of a woman is her father and if she doesn’t have one present in her life she will likely not have standards of what to expect in her life and will fall susceptible to any man.
3. The war on racism in America: Combating a generational system that was built on the backs of Blacks but not to support them in any capacity is the hurtful reality of this country. It’s not the so-called “land of the free” because we are still fighting for rights we are entitled to. Fighting to be equal and seen in the eyes of the law. Blacks are still being opposed to this day.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
There are so many actors and actresses that I would like to have brunch with! Denzel Washington, Cicely Tyson, Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, the list goes on. Let’s just have a big brunch and chop it up! But if I would have to pick anyone in particular, I would have to choose Meryl because there’s something about her work that I gravitate towards. Along with her diverse resume, she has the ability to put her artistry in her work no matter what role she’s given which I think is so fascinating. She has the longevity of a career that I would like to have.