The singer/actress tells Moneyish about how she’ll walk in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Fashion Week runway show with Marisa Tomei, Lea Salonga and Melissa Joan Hart.
Even Ashley Banks has a #MeToo story.
“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Tatyana Ali, best known for playing Will Smith’s youngest cousin on the hit 90s sitcom, told Moneyish that as actresses were coming forward with their tales of sexual harassment and assault, she finally turned to her parents and in-laws and said, “You know, this happens a lot.”
“I certainly did have an experience … in my 20s, with a director who said the rehearsal was happening in his hotel room, which is not something that is actually unusual when filming on location. I went there, and nobody else was there, and I had to run out of the room,” said Ali, 39, who also recently recounted the “horrible and degrading” experience in a Facebook post.
I am not only inspired by the golden globe blackout, but by the Tsunami of courageous men, women and transgendered who…
But she told Moneyish that the Me Too and Time’s Up movements have been “a space for catharsis” for victims like her who are “holding onto something, somewhere, that makes you feel embarrassed … that you did something you weren’t supposed to do, or you gave off the wrong signal or are somehow to blame.”
“I hope that feeling of taking on someone else’s guilt, I hope that that’s done,” she added. “I think it’s an amazing time right now.”
Ali, who grew up on the set of “The Fresh Prince” before starring in “The Young and the Restless” and “Love That Girl!” as well as recording a studio album (1998’s “Kiss the Sky” with the smash summer single “Daydreaming”), has had an amazing couple of years, herself.
She married Stanford University English professor Vaughn Rasberry in 2016, and they welcomed their son a year and a half ago. She just wrapped filming the independent flick “DOE” with Timothy Davis and Mira Sorvino, and she is making her New York Fashion Week debut on Thursday by walking in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women runway presented by Macy’s.
“It’s the first thing I’ve done, besides acting work, since having my son. I’m just excited about that … and just loving my body as it is right now, and celebrating being a woman,” said Ali, who teased that she’s wearing a custom dress with lace detailing by Chicago-based fashion designer Taneasha Prunty.
This is my favorite red dress and today it means even more. I'm wearing red to raise awareness for heart disease in women. Here's how you can help. https://t.co/hwCsit5Dy4 #WearRedDay #WearRedAndGive pic.twitter.com/sVeIhNJ6r3
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) February 2, 2018
The annual Red Dress Collection 2018 Fashion Show aims to raise awareness that heart attacks are not just a men’s health issue. Cardiovascular disease and stroke actually cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing one woman about every 80 seconds. And 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes – like eating more fruits and vegetables, getting more exercise, and not smoking.
“It’s really shocking,” said Ali, who will be rocking a red frock alongside celebrities such as Marisa Tomei, Lea Salonga and Melissa Joan Hart on Thursday night. “Before, I exercised because of how I wanted to look. And now, having encountered all of this information … when I’m on my spinning breaks, I’m actually thinking about my heart and my heart health. Getting this information out there is really important. It does change people’s lives.”
And strutting the catwalk for a cause has put any baby-body insecurities at bay. “Fashion Week is often about what’s going on on the outside,” she said. “So if it was another kind of fashion show, I would be really, really self-conscious. But coming out with this purpose in sisterhood, there’s a confidence here.
“This is really about empowering women to take their health into their own hands. It’s self-love,” she added. “We’re talking about heart health, and women are so good at taking care of other people with their hearts – with their whole hearts – and none of that works for long if you’re not whole.”
One thing that’s unfortunately not on her schedule anytime soon, however, is rebooting “Fresh Prince.”
“There aren’t any plans that I’ve heard of, but I think it would be amazing. It would be so much fun, and I think people would really love it,” she said. “The hardest part is that we lost James Avery [who played Uncle Phil]. I don’t think that means it’s not possible, but a lot of things would have to be thought through really carefully.”
But it would be a perfect fit in the reboot renaissance that’s happening right now, with the return of “Will & Grace,” “Full House,” “Murphy Brown” and “Roseanne.”
“Certain shows and certain casts really had a chemistry that you can’t formulate. We laughed, I mean literally laughed til we cried [on “Fresh Prince”] almost every day,” said Ali. “And there was a kind of golden era in the 90s of these shows … they just really felt like family. There’s a heightened sense of real life and love and friendship and family that feels good, and I think we’re maybe missing that now.”
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