Tiffany Haddish has earned her stripes in the entertainment industry, meaning that, like many aspiring actors, she, too, has fallen victim to doing work for free. “The Last Black Unicorn” author is among the thousands of writers, crew members, and on-screen talent who have been on strike for months amid efforts to secure livable wages and job security from Hollywood studios and streaming services.
In a new interview with The Associated Press, she opened up about a time early in her career when she was taken advantage of by film producers. “My very first movie I ever did, that I was a star in, I was homeless when I was shooting that movie, and they were supposed to pay me $1,200 to do the movie. I wasn’t in a union. It was a non-union film, so it’s nothing that I could do about it, [but] they never paid me,” she told the outlet in a video clip published on Sept. 8.
“They never paid me a dime. The producers gave me 10 DVDs and said, ‘Sell those. Good luck.’ And I never saw the movie.” Fast-forward to 2017 when Haddish co-starred alongside Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Regina Hall in the box office hit Girls Trip. The comedy flick catapulted the comedian to seemingly overnight superstardom and also made the distributors of her debut film hopeful that they, too, could capitalize on her newfound fame.
“That move is all over BET, VH1, [TV One]… then streaming. It’s everywhere, that movie! And I don’t get a dime. It’s the worst movie. It’s the second-worst movie I was ever in. And not a penny,” added the Haunted Mansion star. In a past interview, she revealed that she was paid $80,000 for her breakout role in Girls Trip. She used the funds to pay off the remaining balance on her first home. “People told me to spend it in other ways, but I used it to pay off the house because I was always afraid of being homeless again. Now I have a surplus of money,” she told Cosmopolitan in 2019.
Haddish is now using her own experience with being unhoused as the inspiration behind a docuseries exploring the relationships of successful women who have dated homeless men.
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