Remember Yvette Henderson from 'Smart Guy'? Her little son bears striking resemblance to her

Jun 14, 2018
06:40 A.M.

Essence Atkins had her eyes on the price from the get-go. She was going to be the Misty Copeland of her time. But all that changed when she got her first audition as an actress and then went on to book her first job.


Essence Atkins was going to be a ballerina until she saw a notice on her high school bulletin board to audition for a role in "The Cosby Show." She quickly decided to give it a chance and as they say, the rest is history.

As she told NBC, acting almost never happened. She was passing by the school’s noticeboard when she saw the calls for an audition with a description that fit her perfectly. She called the numbers and was asked to come in for auditions.


“The next thing I know I’m at Kaufman-Astoria studios in Queens, I’m walking down this long corridor of narrow hallways and white doors, and I’m with all these other girls, and I get ushered, there’s a star on the door, like the old fashioned cut out star, and there’s a knock, “come in”, we go in and there is Mr. Bill Cosby with a cigar and there’s 10 of us and he interviews each of us and asks us questions about who we are and what we think and education and he chose me to be on “The Cosby Show”. So my very first professional audition I booked.”

That first encounter set the actress on a path of greatness where agents started noticing her work and booking her for bigger roles. She has then gone on to act in such series as her latest ‘Marlon’ alongside Marlon Wayans.


While the 45-year-old actress sees lots of progress since back in the day, she knows a lot more is yet to come. She also talked about those people who go-get, such as Issa Rae who created her own black-girl magic. “She wasn’t deterred by the fact that she wasn’t invited. She was like, “Okay well that’s fine, I’m not gonna be deterred by that, I’m gonna create my own space and I’m gonna work at that, and continue to excel.”

About her new show, Marlon, she calls it a case of art imitating life as it helps her deal with her own divorce from Jaime Mendez.

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