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TIFFANY SMITH | LOVE FOR COMICS & SCI-FI, ‘MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE’ & ENVIRONMENTALISM

August 18, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Tiffany Smith has all the power, and she’s here to spread her good energy from the big screen and beyond. Redefining what it means to be a multi-hyphenate—working as an actress, host, producer, online personality, and overall creative—the Los Angeles native showcases both her beauty, passion, and talents in all her endeavors.

Tiffany considers herself, “definitely a geeky girl,” with endless ideas and visions when it comes to her creativity. After attending Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Communication in New York, she jump-started her career by hosting shows and red carpets before relocating to Los Angeles and immersing herself in television and film.

As an actress, you may have seen her play the role of Meghan Markle in Lifetime’s Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, or maybe her appearances in numerous hit television shows from Supernatural to NCIS: Los Angeles to Jane The Virgin. Regardless, Tiffany is a sucker for all things sci-fi and action… which leads directly into her newest venture playing Andra in the new Kevin Smith Netflix animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. 

Beyond work, Tiffany has a huge soft spot for the environment and ocean conservation, teaming up with various initiatives that support the cause. Additionally, she enjoys spending her downtime learning stunt work, taking dance classes, learning safety and technique on the firing range, sweating in hot yoga, scuba diving, and even recently acquired her motorcycle license!

Flaunt caught up with Tiffany via Zoom to discuss her roots in Los Angeles, biggest influences, landing the role on Masters of the Universe, hosting the aftershow, hosting the Suicide Squad press conference, doing her own stunts, passion for environmentalism and ocean conservation, goals, and more!

Photo Credit: Chase Stockman

Photo Credit: Chase Stockman

What was a young Tiffany like growing up in LA?

I was born in Santa Monica. I didn’t necessarily get into acting out here, but I definitely was always putting on shows, dance performances and singing. This is weird but, one of my favorite things to do was go in the yard and make magical stews out of dirt, plants and bugs. My dad would say “Don’t eat that! No, you can’t put that plant in there,” because I’d mix water in and be sitting in my backyard eating who knows what. [laughs] I was very cool. We moved to the East Coast when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I was in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, then moved back out to LA. Last weekend was actually my 11 year anniversary being back out here.

How does it feel?

It’s awesome! It’s one of those things where everything happens at the perfect time and for the perfect reason. The 11 year anniversary being during the week where we would’ve been at Comic-Con, a week where Masters of the Universe is coming out, it felt really, really cool. I’ve gotten to do some press and interviews, it was amazing to get to rehash and think about where I was when I first got to LA versus where I am now. Or even thinking about little kid Tiffany thinking “You’re going to be a voice on Masters of The Universe: Revelations.” At this point back in LA, it’s crazy and wonderful to have that reminder, to look back at how far I’ve come and think about what’s in the future.

Biggest influences coming up?

For me, definitely my mom. She dressed up as Wonder Woman. When she was a teacher she had the full costume, the whole getup that she wore for Halloween one year. My mom’s just so joyful and smart and loving and youthful, definitely a huge influence and role model for me. My sister and I would run around in our unders saying “I’m She-Ra, Princess of Power! Wonder Woman, He-Man! Jem and the Holograms”, jumping on everything. I also got super plugged into Storm in X-Men, a character that felt like to me the first time really seeing someone that looked kind of like me in a cartoon. She had superpowers too which made her that much cooler.

I have a lot of influences in the comic book space I guess.  And because I ended up doing hosting and broadcast journalism, Lois Lane is someone who’s always been there. The more into the performance side of things and magic I’ve gotten, Zatanna is a character that is for sure always in my mind. I know that they’re characters, they’re not real people, but they’ve all been inspirations for me. Michelle Obama is always someone I look up to when thinking about how I want to put myself out there. A huge influence over the last couple years has also been Chadwick Boseman. When he passed, it hit me really hard. Looking back and seeing how important his main focus was, asking “What is my purpose?” My parents always instilled that in me as, “What do you want to put out into the world?” That’s always been in the back of my mind, but even more so in the last couple of years. Does this job or this thing I’m doing feed into my purpose or add to that? Or is it something that’s off the path I want to be on?

What is it that you want to feed into the world?

On the grand scale of things, I want to bring more joy and positivity. I’ve always had a huge smile, ever since I was very small. Jokingly if I had an action figure of me you’d probably press a button on her back and a huge smile would appear. [laughs] I love watching TV and film: the joy that I get out of exploring a new world or watching something over the top, or feeling like I can connect to someone or something that’s going on and having that positive feeling afterwards.  That’s magic!

Whether it’s the actual roles I’m taking on or making sure that’s who I am behind-the-scenes too—when you know the energy on a set is positive or optimistic, it really comes across in whatever the project is. I really believe what energy you put out there, people feel. No matter what the content is, if behind-the-scenes has that positive energy, people feel it when they’re watching… at least that’s my hope.

How did you land the role on Masters of the Universe: Revelation?

I’ve been a presenter/host for a while, and eventually, slowly started doing more acting auditions. From there, I started doing voiceovers. I booked Hawkgirl in LEGO DC Super-Villains, was lucky enough to do some voice work on Gears of War, but hadn’t done an animated series yet. So, I put my focus a bit more there, and when this one came up, I was completely over the moon. There’s a photo of me from grade school, my class photo, where I’m holding an action figure from She-Ra, Peekablue. My mom said “I think you manifested this role when you were a kid, you already knew and you were just putting it out there.” [laughs]

I think I auditioned for 2 roles but didn’t really know much about them. When it’s a property like Masters of the Universe that people love and know so well, a lot of times they don’t tell you who the character is exactly, and you’re getting audition sides and scripts that aren’t from actual episodes or even lines from the character you’re auditioning for… [laughs]. You just do your best and hope for the best!  Once I booked the role and found out it was for a new character named Andra, I was so excited. For me as an actor, it took a little bit of the pressure off because I didn’t have to match a previous performance, we could bring something new to the table with her.  And the fact that I am a fan of Masters of the Universe, when we talked about Andra it was that she is the audience’s eyes into this world. That made me feel even more confident about it because, when she’s acting excitedly about things in Eternia, that’s how I would react to them too, so it felt like the perfect fit.

How does it feel to be the first Black character introduced to this television series?

There have been a couple other characters in Eternia before, but she’s definitely the first that’s really up front the whole time with the team and I love that. Growing up watching cartoons and shows, my sister and I would always do the, “I’m her, I’m him! I want to play this person.” You never do anything while watching the show, you just sat there like, “I’m doing that thing.”

There weren’t a lot of characters that looked like us, so getting to bring more diversity to Masters of the Universe and Eternia, I don’t even know what the right word is exactly, but it feels amazing. I love the idea that a kid or an adult that is a kid at heart can watch our show and say, “That’s me,” just see more of themselves in it. It makes me really, really, really happy.

Photo Credit: Chase Stockman

Photo Credit: Chase Stockman

How was it hosting the aftershow, Revelation?

Yeah, the aftershow is up on Netflix too, there’s one for the first 5 episodes. We got to chat with a lot of the actors and creatives, and dive a little deeper into the show. One of my favorite parts was when Alan Oppenheimer came on, he’s the original voice of Skeletor. He’s a voice on our show as well, but we got to talk to him about creating that iconic laugh for Skeletor and how it feels for him coming back to the world after making the cartoon so iconic in the 80’s. It’s awesome because when you work in this industry, sometimes it’s easy for people to see you just doing one thing. I’ve worked hard and feel very lucky that I get to do the hosting side of things, which I love so much, alongside the acting stuff as well.

How was it hosting the press conference for Suicide Squad?

I’ve worked with DC Comics for a really long time now. I hosted DC All Access, then went over to DC Daily. And have gotten to be involved with a lot of the Warner Brothers, DC properties that have come out. When they were doing a press conference for Suicide Squad, they said “Hey, we’d love to have you host.” It’s crazy because when I look at this year then I look at this press conference, I don’t know any other way they could’ve gotten 19 people together in one place to talk for an hour. It was bananas, so much fun. That cast is incredible. It was a bit of a free for all trying to wrangle it all and I loved every second of it. [laughs]

What do you feel when you act?

I moved a lot growing up so the hosting side of things for me, I realized at some point that no matter where I go I’m probably going to have something in common with anyone I meet. I love finding out people’s stories and talking to them. The acting side of things, there’s different parts of myself and my brain that wake up when I’m doing that because it’s more about me stepping into someone else’s story. I love it, I love creating in that way. There’s something about when you’re on a set, you’re creating something with a bunch of other people and everyone’s on the same page, and that feels so incredible.

For me specifically with this project, that completely comes across because I love the fact that every single person on this show is giving it 110%. They are going above and beyond and it shows. When you see somebody else doing that, it makes you want to do it even more. In some ways, it’s the same feeling I think people get on athletic teams, that feeling when you’re all working in unison together.  I’m just really proud of the show, everyone’s contribution to it and grateful that I am a part of it.

I saw on your Instagram you were practicing some choreography with a stunt team. What was that for?

I’m always adventurous, and excited to try anything new. I have a motorcycle license, I’ve done handgun training, kickboxing and boxing. My dad taught me martial arts when I was younger, so I’ve always loved that kind of thing.

Do you still do martial arts?

Yeah, I still do some of the exercises before I go to bed. But, whenever I’d go and do set visits hosting, I always felt like the stunt work is some of the fun stuff that people don’t always get to see. One of the ones I got to do was with the stunt team on John Wick, which was awesome. They handed me the equipment that you would use and I don’t know what I did, but they said, “Oh, wait… You actually know what you’re doing?” I said ,“Yeah.” [laughs] That’s always really fun and encouraging for the acting side of things.

You never know when you’re going to have to do stunts. The job I booked in the film, Vice, was really a stunt role because it was a kidnapping scene. Then on Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, we had a stunt scene where when you become part of the royal family, they do some training for if you were to be kidnapped. I never expected to have to do stunts in that film, but anytime I get to do them it’s awesome. I love it. More please!Photo Credit: Chase Stockman

Talk about being an avid supporter of environmentalism and ocean conservation. 

I always remind myself and people around me that every little bit helps.  Even just figuring out what the recycling program is wherever you are. Whether it’s an apartment building or your neighborhood, there’s small things everybody can do. For me some of the small things are using glass straws, reusable travel cups, using washable paper towels and make up remover swabs, using clothing rentals and shopping second hand and buying from companies that also focus on being eco friendly.

I scuba dive and I love being at the beach, it’s refreshing and recharging for me. When you go to the beach and you see all kinds of garbage and plastic, there’s a piece of my heart that says, “Okay, what can I do to help this?” I mean even for birthday’s or holiday presents I try to give eco-friendly gifts; glass straws and a food container I love, a reusable cup or things people can really incorporate into their everyday lives. I love using Rent the Runway and a lot of my clothes are vintage because I’m trying to stop putting my money into fast fashion so we don’t put as much pollution into the world. It can seem daunting but, if people try to do a little bit here and there, it can keep building and keep building and hopefully get to a place where you’re living life and there’s a lot more sustainable things you’re doing you didn’t even think about before. I drive a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the only thing it puts out is water. To me, that’s incredible. I feel like a superhero when I’m driving it. Look out Bruce Wayne. [laughs]

Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?

I feel lucky with all of this stuff I’ve gotten to do to this point. So happy where I’m at, but I’m excitedly looking forward too. For sure, I want to play Zatanna, the live action version, because she’s my favorite comic book character. Getting to do more in the genre space is very high on my list!  Sci fi, fantasy, getting to work more in the space that I love and I have so much passion for; Star Trek, Star Wars, I have an Elvish tattoo, I love Lord of the Rings. I know how much of an impact those things have had on me, so hopefully in the future, I’ll get to create more in that space, act, even produce and develop ideas…

Is there something that fans may not know about you?

Hmm… I’m a huge Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering person. One of the best things that helped me get through the pandemic was playing D&D with my friends on Zoom. And before that, I loved going to my local shop and playing in Magic: The Gathering card tournaments. I love making decks, playing and competing in that way. If it’s Magic: The Gathering cards, I’m so in. [laughs]

Anything else you want to let the people know?

Follow me on social media, that’s where I let everybody know what I am up to, the new stuff that’s coming up. The next thing for me is a film I shot in Hawaii recently, called Aloha with Love, which I’m very excited about. It was an incredible experience filming in Maui, doing what I love in a place that I love so much, working with a cast and crew that was just awesome! I was in a place where I just felt the love and everybody was on the same page which felt really good.  I think we made a really special movie and I’m really excited for people to see that when it comes out.

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