Imani Hakim, perhaps best known from her roles on Everybody Hates Chris and The Gabby Douglas Story, is back on your screen in the Netflix original film Burning Sands. I caught up with Hakim to talk about being young in the industry and growing into herself.
At 23, you’re a seasoned veteran of the industry. How do you continue to stretch yourself as an actor?
Though I have been doing this professionally for a long time now, I feel as though I am just getting started. I think it’s very important to stay on top of your craft – to study. I think I’m just now really grasping that concept myself honestly. It’s nice to be “good,” and I’ve done well with just being “good,” but I think it’s time to aim a bit higher. And with that comes a lot of preparation and work. Study, study, study.
What’s the perk of working on a project for streaming as opposed to a project for network?
With a network project there are more rules to follow, which is fine, because you need a good set of rules. With streaming, the internet isn’t as censored for the writers, producers, actors, and directors because they have more creative freedom which is nice. No one likes to be put into a box. So it’s always a good and refreshing to work on projects like this.
What made you fall in love with acting initially?
I’ve always been super creative since I was a little girl. I actually started with writing at a young age. I would write plays when I was around seven-years-old and I would cast my cousins as the supporting roles. I would star, direct and write the entire thing. I eventually started doing plays at my neighborhood theater. My dad saw my talents at a very young age, so he took it upon himself to take a leap of faith. Long story short, when I was 11 we packed up all of our belongings and headed for the City Of Angels. After two months and some days of being in Los Angeles, I landed the role of Tonya Rock on Everybody Hates Chris.
You’ve worked with industry heavy-weights. What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who is young in the industry?
I advise other artists to find another outlet that’s in their creative control to maintain themselves in between gigs. Dive into other things that make you feel good. Keep yourself busy doing other things that make you happy. It will keep you sane for much longer.”
I have more projects that have no release dates, but fans can keep up with me on social media.
Burning Sands is streaming now on Netflix.