#SheDidThat

December 3, 1979: Tiffany Haddish Was Born

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

On December 3, 1979, Tiffany Haddish was born in South Central Los Angeles, CA. At a young age, she suffered from horrific family trauma and tragedy that landed her in foster care. However, when she discovered her incredible gift for comedy as a teenager, it became her lifeline and ticket to fame. She was the breakout star of the summer thanks to her hilarious performance in “Girls Trip.” Haddish also made comedy history as the first black female stand-up comedian to host “Saturday Night Live” on November 11, 2017. Haddish is living proof that talent can defy unimaginable odds and forge new groundbreaking paths.

Haddish’s rise to comedy fame came out of years of pain and suffering, as well as the transformational intervention of a perceptive social worker. At 8 years old, her mother was in a car accident that left her with debilitating brain damage and schizophrenia. With her father estranged from the family, Haddish became essentially a mother to her five younger siblings. Haddish’s own mother was also verbally and physically abusive to her after the car crash. She and her brothers and sisters were split up into different foster homes. It was not until Haddish was 15 when she and her siblings were put under their grandmother’s care. This chaotic experience in her home life and her subsequent trouble fitting in at school left Haddish feeling hopeless. She explained in an August 2017 People magazine interview, “I remember being that foster kid and being like, ‘Man, I’m probably going to be in jail in two years.’”

Luckily the social worker assigned to her gave Haddish a life-altering ultimatum: go to psychiatric therapy or attend the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp. Haddish chose the latter. She learned to tap into her talent and love herself thanks to her experience at the camp. “Going to that comedy camp and having all those men tell me, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You’re talented.’ Like, for somebody to tell me that, even if they didn’t believe it or mean it, it was enough,” she says. “It was enough to light a fire.”

Before starring in “Girls Trip,” Haddish did stand-up comedy, making many guest appearances on TV shows such as “The Chelsea Lately Show” and “That’s So Raven.” She also starred in “If Loving You Is Wrong” (2014) and “The Carmichael Show” (2014) as well as several films including “Meet The Spartans” (2008) and “Keanu” (2016) opposite Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.

However, her big break was starring as the loyal yet hilariously wild Dina alongside the all-star cast of Queen Latifah, Regina King and Jada Pinkett Smith in “Girls Trip.” Perfectly timed with the film, Haddish’s Showtime special, “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood,” premiered in August.

When Haddish hosted SNL in November, her fans tuned in to watch her break an important comedy boundary for black female comedians. She made sure to give a shout out to her foster care roots in her opening monologue, and as a nod to her humble background, Haddish wore the $4,000 Alexander McQueen gown that she bought for the “Girls Trip” movie premiere. She explained that the designer dress cost more than her mortgage, so people should expect to see her in it many more times. She joked, “I feel like I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, however many times I want, as long as I Febreze it.” Haddish even performed in a skit based on her nickname, “The Last Black Unicorn,” that is also the name of her new book that comes out on December 5.

We can’t wait to see what happens next for Haddish. In the meantime, we hope she is celebrating her 38th birthday in her $4,000 Alexander McQueen dress!

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