*The beautiful actor Essence Atkins sits down with radio and TV personality Jazmyn ‘Jaz’ Summers for a new EURweb Spotlight to talk about her latest film “Coins Forever” currently airing on TV One and shares some dating horror stories, her journey with her now ex-husband and gives tips on getting into the acting business.
Her latest movie is the closing chapter of the network’s popular “Coins” franchise and also stars Stephen Bishop, Golden Brooks, Kendrick Cross, TC Carson and Demetria McKinney.
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“My character is Madison. She is a single mom. She has two kids and in the first movie, she basically loses her job weeks before Christmas and is going to do whatever, however, to salvage and create a great experience for her kids as much as possible in the face of a husband who is not reliable and in the face of having her savings and wages frozen by the IRS. So she ends up freelancing for Steven Bishop’s character (Alec Darby). In the first movie, they don’t really get along but he needs her for his business and she needs him for money. They end up growing to like and respect each other,” she shares.
“This is the third movie and Alec and Madison are moving from a friendship to what? A future potentially but just like everything, there are obstacles in life that stand in the way of our happily ever after. For Madison, she’s trying to prove herself at work, while still pouring into the relationship and her kids. She doesn’t have good work-life balance figured out and then she has the fear of hoping again, loving again, falling again.”
Unlike Madison, Essence says she’s a single mom but doesn’t have to contend with an irresponsible husband.
“I’m really fortunate. My ex-husband and I co-parent really well. He is tremendous, If I have to leave town for work, he holds it down.”
She met her ex-husband online.
“It was a very avant-garde thing to do back in 2008. People said something was wrong with me I was desperate and why would I want to meet somebody like that and now everyone is doing it. So I was progressive and ahead of the game. We were together 8 and 1/2 years so that’s one-third of my dating life. It’s the longest relationship I ever had in my life. Not only is he the father of my child but I loved him very much and still love him.”
So why did they break up?
“At the end of the day we were not compatible in the long haul and I don’t think we give each other what the other person needs,” she reveals. “But I love him and I am grateful for how he is with my son. He is 100 thousand percent present.”
She has moved on but says the love is still there.
“I’ve never been able to not love somebody who I’ve loved even if they’ve betrayed or hurt me. I’ve always wished them well. Sometimes it takes a longer time to forgive than others but there’s so much freedom in forgiveness. I believe in the redemptive power of the human spirit.”
Essence tells Jaz that she’s not dating now but focusing on her son and her career.
“What I want is a partnership I don’t want anything casual. So it’s going to take some time. It’s an investment in us getting to know each other cultivating something that is real and I don’t know how many people are ready to sign up for that. What I find is that for successful men there are a plethora of options so I’m waiting for someone who says you’re it. I believe that could happen but maybe I’ll be old and grey and say oh well I guess not but I really feel that the person for me is for me and we’re going to recognize that in each other and were going to want to build something of substance that will last. I don’t have time for anything else.”
Essence’s first acting job was in the Cosby show but she is best known for her role on the WB sitcom “Smart Guy,” UPN’s “Half & Half,” (which is now streaming on Netflix) and was cast in a leading role in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series “Ambitions” opposite Robin Givens. Essence most recently starred opposite Marlon Wayans in the NBC series, “Marlon” and will next be seen in a lead role in the independent feature, “Same Difference.” She starred in Marlon Wayans’ feature “A Haunted House 1” and its sequel.
Check out the full interview, some dating horror stories, and her advice on getting into the film business in the player up top.