TaKenya Banks: A Dallas Star

Takenya 4TaKenya Banks was born in Milwaukee, WI she and her family moved to Dallas, Tx in the early 90’s where Takenya !nished middle school through to the graduation of high school. During her years at H. Grady Spruce High school she was scouted by the theater arts teacher Mrs. Campbell Bailey; who took her under her wing and taught her how to compete in UIL competitions where she advanced to state. Since then, Miss Banks went on to graduate from the University of North Texas with a B.A. of Sociology and Mental Health, but her passion and love for acting stayed in the forefront of her goals. Miss Banks has accumulated a few film credits through Extra work on Stephen King’s "11.22.63", "Looper", and HBO’s "Treme"; her theatre credits include "Black Nativity" directed by Jiles King at Teco Theater of the Bishop Arts District(where she was able to put her singing abilities forth), Ossie Davis’ production "Black Girl", and "Awake Awake"; Most recently Miss Banks was cast in "The Walking Dead Experience". Miss Banks truly enjoys the artistry of acting from theater to film, thus understanding the importance of discipline, hard work, and having a solid work ethic, she ensures to continuously sharpened her skills. She has learned from some of the best in the business through their structured workshops, such as Jemal McNeil (coach to Taraji P.Henson), Kim Hardin, Laterras R. Whitfield and David E. Talbert to name a few. Miss Banks has huge dreams to follow in the business and intends to continuously put in the work necessary to surpass them and enjoy the journey along the way.

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TFO: How has your journey of being a successful actress been thus far?

TaKenya: The journey has been interesting and fun honestly! I wanted this so bad I used to dream of having that one big move that changes everything but now as I grow within the business and continuously sharpen my craft, I've learned to enjoy the journey along the way.

TFO: What's the driving force behind you wanting to act?

TaKenya: That's an interesting question, the only way that I can truthfully answer that is to say that it's something innate within me. Every since I was a kid I remember seeing movies differently than others watching them differently, noticing every single detail from the color schematics throughout the scenes and remembering lines word for word and daydreaming my life into a movie. So I can honestly say the driving force behind me wanting to act is that I truly believe this is what God created me to do and without it I feel empty I feel like a part of me is dying.

TFO: When did you first fall in love with Cinema?

TaKenya: I was a young girl, I remember watching Lady Sings the Blues, Sparkle, and The Inkwell over and over and over every single day all day. Watching these movies gave me a sense of imagery, and also an enormously large imagination. It always made me want to delve deep into each character of the movie and see the story line through their eyes and act it out and want to dig into if these people were real how would their lives continue.

TFO: What advice do you have for up and coming actresses that are trying to make it in this business?

TaKenya: My best advice would be to know yourself in the sense of having a very solid foundation whether that stems from a spiritual Realm, or truly seeking the best you you can truly be. Always remain humble and eagerly hungry to grow and gain longevity in the business. Always DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Keep in mind this is a marathon not a sprint. 

TFO: What director(s) and actor(s) do you want to work with the most and why? 

TaKenya: Honestly there are quite a few I have a very versatile scope and I love various genres in cinema and Theatre. I would most definitely have to say Spike Lee, Debbie Allen, Ice Cube, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Phillips, and Randall Klieser to name a few. As far as actor's I would definitely have to say Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry, Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Viola Davis, Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Vince Vaughn and Gweneth Paltrow again just to name a few lol. These amongst others are the people that I admire in the business for various reasons ranging from their phenomenal range of talents, their incredible artistry and ability to be vulnerable and open, to be able to truly draw us into their work every single time no matter what the cause. I feel that working with them will not only be an honor and a dream come true but also a testament as well as a test to my acting abilities. As a very versatile actress myself I am very intrigued by the thought of working with these incredible actors and directors. Given the fact that we all honor the craft, I know we would bring forth that powerful chemistry and energy that would allow us to continuously push one another to be the best.

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TFO: What do you think of the current state of black actors and the Academy Award situation?

TaKenyaI think that this is something that is coming full circle as history tends to do. Of course this needs to change but I honestly believe the biggest change will not happen until we completely Unite with one another and work with one another to build what it is we want to see. The examples have already been set for you to witness on various occasions, so I'll leave it with the words of a very infamous cliche, "if we build it they will come". 


TFO: Are there any special cameo appearances to look for?

TaKenya: Well I can't give away too much but I can definitely speak on one that you should be on the lookout for, which is Stephen King's "11/22/63" exclusive to Hulu. There are some other things in the works that I can't really put out there right now but just definitely stay tuned.


TFO: What female actors do you think are on track to be future greats?

TaKenya: Well of course I would have to say myself [Laughs], but honestly I know there is a lot of great talent out there especially in my hometown of Dallas Texas and where I originated from Milwaukee Wisconsin.


TFO: Success -- Define yours? And, what has kept sustaining you in this grueling business?

TaKenya: That is a great question, I would have to define success as continuously striving to achieve your goals and your destiny. Success is continuing to follow your dreams, overcoming adversity no matter who says you can't including yourself. Most definitely daring to be different as that would naturally be you! To be completely honest, what or shall I say who is sustaining me in this business is The Most High! I know my life has been a journey, some valleys were self inflicted, but a part the journey none the less all to bring me through with incredible stories and emotion to pour into my craft and help others. 


TFO: What future plans & goals do you have in this business of entertainment?

TaKenya: Honestly to gain longevity, surpass any dream I could've ever had, and change as many lives for the better as possible. That of course would include working with those directors I named above and many more and building great business relationships.

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