Who is Essence Atkins?
American actress, producer and director Essence Uhura Atkins was born in Brooklyn, New York City USA, on 7 February 1972, making Aquarius her zodiac sign. She’s had roles in over 70 TV series and movies, and is perhaps known best for playing the lead character Kisha in the 2013 fantasy horror comedy movie “A Haunted House”, directed by Michael Tiddes, and which also starred Marlon Wayans and Marlene Forte. It follows Malcolm and Kisha who’ve moved into a haunted house, while Kisha’s now become possessed by a demon; the movie won one of its two award nominations.
Education and early life
Essence was raised in New York City as an only child, by her father Geoffrey Atkins and mother Sandy Nelson; not many details have been disclosed about her parents because she respects their privacy, but it’s known that her mother was an artist and musician.
She became interested in acting after appearing in a school play aged nine, and Essence was 14 when she made her debut TV series appearance, playing Paula Young in the 1986 episode “Vanessa’s Rich” of the comedy “The Cosby Show”; she also appeared in the series’ 1989 episode “I’m ‘In’ with the ‘In’ Crowd”.
Essence studied at a local high school in New York City, and upon matriculating in 1990 chose to continue pursuing acting rather than to enroll at college.
Roles in movies
Essence’s debut film role was playing Allison Chase in the 1991 comedy “Sunday in Paris”, and her three following film roles were in the 1999 short drama “Nikita’s Blues”, the 2000 romantic drama “Love Song” and the 2001 drama “Nikita Blues”.
She gained recognition in 2001, when cast to play Jamie in the fantasy comedy “How High”, which Jesse Dylan directed, and which starred Obba Babatunde, Redman and Method Man; it follows two friends who’ve smoked their late friend’s ashes, and are now able to see him as a ghost. Some of Essence’s following notable performances were in the 2003 romantic comedy “Deliver Us from Eva”, the 2007 romantic comedy “Love… & Other 4 Letter Words” and the 2008 romantic comedy “Love for Sale”.
The year 2013 saw her star as Kelly in the romantic comedy “Act Like You Love Me”, written and directed by Dan Garcia, and which also starred Christian Keyes and Denyce Lawton. It follows Kelly Lofton who’s a successful dentist, and has begun panicking because her younger sister’s engaged while she hasn’t even found a boyfriend.
Essence is also known for starring as Madison in the 2018 comedy “Coins for Christmas”, directed by Jamal Hill, and which also starred Stephen Bishop and Tyla Harris; it follows the life of single mother Madison who’s struggling financially. In 2019, she starred in the award-winning mystery movie “Same Difference”.
Essence’s two most recent film roles have been in the 2021 romantic drama “Coins Forever”, and the 2022 romantic comedy “The Noel Diary”, and is currently shooting for the upcoming movies “Angie’s Curse” and “A Screenshot to Santa”.
Roles in TV series
The first half of the ‘90s saw Essence appear in an episode of the fantasy comedy “Charlie Hoover”, the adventure comedy “Family Matters” and the comedy “Here and Now”, and she gained recognition in 1996, when cast to play Julie Tate in all the 10 episodes of the drama “Malibu Shores”, which starred Keri Russell, Tony Lucca and Christian Campbell, and follows the lives of several students.
In 1997 to 1999, Essence starred as Tasha Yvette Henderson in all the 51 episodes of the family comedy “Smart Guy”, created by Danny Kallis and Brian Suskin, and which also starred Tahj Mowry and John Marshall Jones. The series follows a 10 years old genius who’s just enrolled at high school, and it was nominated for seven awards. Some of Essence’s following appearances were in an episode or two of the family fantasy comedy “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, the romantic comedy “For Your Love” and another romantic comedy “Love, Inc.”
What marked the 2000s for her was perhaps portraying the lead character Dee Dee Thorne in all the 91 episodes of the comedy “Half & Half”, which Jeffrey Klarik created, and which also starred Chico Benymon and Rachel True. It follows half-sisters Dee Dee and Mona as they’re trying to live under the same roof, the series aired from 2002 through 2006, and won one of its 19 award nominations.
Here's a sneak peak at what's to come on @nbcmarlon! #Marlon https://t.co/3ply7W93bR pic.twitter.com/XiKM0Ucqeq
— Essence Atkins (@essencesays) March 21, 2017
From 2010 through 2012, Essence starred as Suzanne Kingston-Persons in the comedy “Are We There Yet?”, and in 2017 and 2018, she portrayed Ashley Wayne in the popular comedy “Marlon”, which follows the life of a loving but immature father.
Essence’s three most recent roles in TV series have been in eight episodes of the 2022 comedy “First Wives Club”, the 2023 episode “Twenty Seven Side Pieces” of the comedy “The Ms. Pat Show” and two episodes of the 2023 crime drama “The Company You Keep”.
Essence produced the 2016 short movie “Darryl” and the 2019 mystery film “Same Difference”, as well as directed the 2020 comedy movie “Christmas Dilemma”.
Some of her recent talk-show appearances have been in “The Chuey Martinez Show”, “Sister Circle Live” and “Behind Her Faith”.
Awards and nominations
Essence won two American Black Film Festival Awards in 2019, both for her performance in the mystery movie “Same Difference”.
She was also nominated for three Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series in 2005, 2011 and 2009, for her performance in “Half & Half”, “Are We There Yet?” and “Marlon”, respectively.
Love life and marriage
Although quite secretive when it comes to sharing the details of her love life with her fans, it’s still known that Essence was a married woman. She and American former collegiate football free safety Jaime Mendez met through the online dating app Match.com on 14 February 2008; the two married in September of the following year, and Essence’s friend and “Half and Half” co-star Valarie Pettiford sang at the reception.
Essence gave birth to their son Varro Blair Mendez in December 2011, but she and Jaime divorced in 2016.
She’s yet to speak about other men whom she’s maybe been with; Essence seems to be unattached as of May 2023, was once married to Jaime Mendez, and has a son with him.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Essence and famous American actress Robyn Elaine Lively Johnson were born on the exact same day; she’s probably still known best for her performances in the fantasy comedy movie “Teen Witch” and the martial arts film “The Karate Kid Part III”, both released in 1989.
Essence is close friends with American actor and screenwriter Alfonso Ribeiro and American actress and producer Gabrielle Union.
She’s quite popular on Instagram, as over 610,000 people are following her on the network today, while she’s posted more than 500 pictures, most of which feature Essence during her everyday life.
Her favorite actress is Octavia Spencer, and some of her favorite movies include “Ma”, “Thunder Force” and “The Shack”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Essence’s age is 51. She has brown eyes and hair, is 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall and weighs around 110lbs (51kgs).
Essence’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of May 2023.