Tiffany Haddish Reflects on Her Troubled Rise to Fame

April 29, 2019

Video by Meredith Ganzman


Now well-known for her striking sense of humor and acting chops, Tiffany Haddish didn't always have it made. The "Girls Trip" actress took to Instagram to share a photo of herself as a young girl performing standup. The caption is a tribute to the girl in the picture, who at the time was "homeless, hungry, scared, and hurt." 

I look at this picture and want to cry tears of joy for this Girl. I remember that night. She was homeless, hungry, scared, and hurt. I promised her if she kept faith in God and Herself, We will get to a place where we will be Housed, Over Fed, Less Hurt and Fear Free. I am so Grateful that she Believed. I am so Happy we have come this far and excited about where we will Go. Tiffany Sara Cornilia Haddish I Love and Approve of you and most of all God does too. You are prefect enough for both of us right now and always. #SHEREADYFORSUCCESS #ILoveYou #SoHappyForYou #DontWorryWhatTheyThink #WorryWhatYouThink

A post shared by Tiffany Haddish (@tiffanyhaddish) on

This isn't the first we've heard of Haddish's troubled rise to fame. "E! News" reports that in her 2017 memoir, "The Last Black Unicorn," Haddish reveals that when she was just 18 years old, her grandmother kicked her out of the house, forcing her to couch surf and hope for the best. She ended up declining her spot at New York Universtiy, so she could attend the much more affordable Santa Monica Community College. 

Putting her comedy dreams on hold temporarily, she picked up a survival job to help her pay the bills and continue her studies. This wasn't the beginning of her struggles, though. Between the ages of 13 and 18, she spent a lot of time in foster care which led to abuse and forced labor around the homes she inhabited. 

During her times of uncertainty, friend and fellow sketch comedy performer, Kevin Hart, loaned her a few hundred dollars to help her find a temporary place to stay. After a week of sleeping in her car in Beverly Hills, Haddish ended up landing an apartment for $550 per month. Once she was cast alongside Hart in the 2018 film "Night School," she made multiple attempts to pay him back. Hart refused every effort, and even ended up stashing money she tried to give him in one of her wig caps while on set. 

Hart posted the heartfelt moment on set with Haddish to his Instagram at the time. 

I love my sister @tiffanyhaddish ....She has been trying to pay me back for years & I refused to take the money so she ambushed me on set and made it rain on me --------....What she doesn’t know is that I put the money back in one of her wig caps that she wasn’t wearing later that day!!!! I’m dead serious. Check your wig cap @tiffanyhaddish ....I love u and I will never take from you. You being my Co-Star in my movie “Night School” was more than enough. Love u with ur funky ass!!!! #NightSchool #HittingTheatersEverywhereSept28th

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real) on

Haddish's post about how far she's come has gained the attention of other celebrities and fellow comedians. Ali Wong commented with a crown emoji, and Ilana Glazer chimed in with, "u rule talented and smart and beautiful. thank u for sharing this - u help people."