You know, love and adore her as Tonya on the CW’s hit series, Everybody Hates Chris but now, more than ever Imani Hakim has stepped up to the plate to make her voice be heard loud and clear. The actress is the ultimate superwoman. Sheen had the opportunity to get to know everyone’s favorite television little sister in this exclusive interview in which Hakim shared how she suffered from depression and anxiety and why she wants others to take more action to help young women that may experience the same issues. We fell completely head over heels in the time we had to get know Imani and we’re most certain you will too!
Can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into acting?
Well, I first got into acting professionally when I was 11-years old but it started way before that when I was about even back in Cleveland, Ohio. I wrote my own projects and casted my cousins to play with me so that is kind of how I got my start. My first gig that I booked landing the role of Tonya on Everybody Hates Chris back in 2005. It is kind of how I’ve been lucky enough to have some consistency in this interesting career. (laughs)
You’re open about suffering from depression and anxiety. Could you tell us about the challenge and how you were able to surpass it to get to where you are today?
For those out there who suffer with anxiety and depression, we know that it is an ongoing battle. It’s nothing something that you work through and that’s the end of it. It is something that hits in many ways. The way that I get through it is really focusing and diving in to pay attention to my mental health and being more aware of how I am feeling. Checking in with myself and being able to set those boundaries with myself and the people around me when I know I’m not feeling up to par. I like to meditate, do yoga, it’s not always possible to get to a therapist. Sometimes you don’t have the resources of the funds to do that. I like to try things at home that are immediate relievers and having open communication with the people that I am around so that they are involved in my growth as well. That’s important. Anxiety and depression can be a scary thing so to have that open dialogue with the people you love helps a lot. I go to was to isolate myself, which wasn’t the best option but talking with others and practicing habits that makes you feel good is important.
You’ve partnered with Girls Inc. organization. Can you discuss the mission you all set out to support young girls who are dealing with mental health issues?
Well, people tend to forget that there are young girls out here who are also dealing with this. They’re minors and I believe it doesn’t get the attention that it needs. Sometimes people just push it to the side because of the fact that they’re young. There are traumatic stuff happening in these young girls’ lives. My mission is to start the conversation, to have open arms, and bring awareness because this is a dialogue that needs to be had and we can tackle it together so these girls don’t feel alone. We want to provide that outlet for these girls so they know that we want to find solutions and exercises to work through these things together. The main, important thing with depression and anxiety is community. I would like to form community with these young girls.
Our publisher, Kimberly Chapman and Editor-In-Chief are vegans and it plays a tremendous role in their life. What made you transition and how has your lifestyle been since?
Oh yes! Thank you for asking about this. I was playing with it for a few months and it was something I wanted to do because you have triggers and anxiety with depression and I just wanted to live a better lifestyle so that is really what brought up the idea to eating better. What the Health was popping and everyone was on that train, so I decided to watch parts of it and it just confirmed the path that I was on. I knew that I could do it and I knew that I didn’t need these foods that I’m used to having. I wanted to challenge myself in that way and see how discipline I could be with it. It was mainly for a lifestyle change and to live a healthier, better lifestyle. So far it is going really well! I’m still vegan. I brought in my 24th birthday with it back in August and I’m still rocking with it!
What can we expect from Imani Hakim in the future?
Well, I have my TV One movie, Down for Whatever coming this summer. I am portraying a bad ass for the first time ever! Also, I am a writer and producer so I will be releasing my own content as well. I am working on a documentary that we will be packing the subject of sexual abuse so I am excited about that as well as many other topics I am pretty passionate about, be sure to be on the lookout for that.
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