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The year was 2004, the show I was casting was “Best Friends Date.”  The host, Tika Sumpter.

Of all the people I’ve worked with Tika’s story is one that I often share with my students and aspiring actors.

“Best Friends Date” was a reality show for The N Network, now known as “TeenNick.”  The premise:  Individuals were charged with interviewing and selecting the perfect date for their best friend.  Casting included finding the show’s two host.

A good host is personable, thinks on their feet and can keep a show moving forward under any circumstances.  With the show shooting in LA, ideally we wanted our two host to come from there.  As you know, things aren’t always as cut and dry.  We fell in love with a lovely young actress who was based in NY, Ms. Tika Sumpter.  The network wanted Tika and with no relocation fee as part of the deal, we thought the chances of getting her were slim to none.

Tika was hungry, focused and determined.  She wanted to worked and sometimes that means you have to bend a little.   She agreed to host the show and work as a local hire in LA.  Agreeing to work as a local hire meant that she was responsible for putting herself up.  That meant a portion of her earnings would go towards living in LA.  Something that wouldn’t be a factor if the show were based in NY.

The year is 2012 and while at the movies I bump into this poster for Whitney Houston’s final film.

You’ll notice Tika’s name sitting BOLDLY above the “K” on the poster.   Tika stars as one of Ms. Houston’s three daughters in the feature film, “Sparkle.”  I can’t tell you how proud I am of her.  She’s proof  that success isn’t always wrapped up in a neat bow and delivered to you on your doorstep.  You have to see opportunity, make tough decisions and embrace detours, I’m sure Tika has done all of the above and then some.

Since the early days Tika has had enormous success in TV and Film…including One Life To Live, Stomp The Yard 2, The Game and Gossip Girl to name a few.

Congratulations my friend!