Tasha Smith: 'I Fell In Love With Lee Daniels'

The actress on Empire, Tyler Perry and Black Hollywood.

Posted: 05/08/2014 10:15 AM EDT

Tasha Smith is the kind of actress who stays in a director's speed dial. The actress is a favorite of Tyler Perry's, who has cast her in no fewer than a half-dozen of his movies and television projects, and, as an acting coach, is the go-to for both aspiring stars and veterans who need to work on their skills.

This fall, the stripper-turned-actress will push her well-tested boundaries as Miss Carol in Lee Daniels' television saga Empire. "It's not the Tasha people know, with the lashes and the hair and the fabulousness," she tells us in our exclusive interview. "This woman has gone through it." Of her Empire director Daniels, Smith has nothing but praise. "It was the most amazing experience," she says. "He really stripped me down. He can curse at me all day...I know he's going to make me brilliant. I fell in love with Lee Daniels."

Smith also expressed pride in how far Black Hollywood has come, from producer/directors like Perry and Daniels to mainstream stars like Being Mary Jane's Gabrielle Union. "I'm happy to see our writers and our directors and our actors working and doing what they love," she says.

Our chat with Smith also includes her transition from stripper to actress, thoughts on being a dark-skinned woman in Hollywood and her actor's workshop.

Plus, if you're like us and can't get enough of Ms. Smith, click here to hear the outspoken actress and activist talk about women's health, get real about plastic surgery — she even admits which procedures she's had! — and share her thoughts about homophobia.

To see Tasha on Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse, check your local listings, and to take part in a Tasha Smith Acting Workshop, visit tsaw.com. Smith will be teaching workshops in New York on June 15 and 16, and in Atlanta on July 12 and 13.

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