Essence Atkins kicks off S&A’s new series “How I Made It” by revealing how she has been able to thrive in Hollywood with some inspiring common-sense approaches.

Atkins shared that her first job was her very first audition in her career, a guest-starring role on The Cosby Show. But she said that her true reason for making it in her career was taking a leap of faith.

“Having something scare me, intimidate me, but excite me and exhilarate me at the same time…I lept and I met with success.”

“…It really is about leaping and following those impulses of the things that excite you and scare you a little bit, but you think you have a desire to at least try, I say try” she continued. “When you’re met with success, don’t take it for granted. Do the work, show up, be prepared.”

Atkins said that even though she’s been in her career for 20 years, she still shows up to auditions and meets with casting directors instead of making a beeline for the producers.

“I don’t demand that…after all these years they should know my work, they should just offer me that [part]. Like, I’ll go in. If it’s a casting director, especially that I’ve never met before, I’m happy to go in for a first read,” she said. “Like, I don’t insist that I go in and meet the producers ’cause I want to meet the casting director and I want to develop a relationship with them. And I feel that that’s an honorable thing for them. If we don’t know each other, I shouldn’t feel insulted that they want me to come and meet them first, no matter how many years I’ve been doing this.”

Above all, Atkins said that one of the most important things to do in any career is to “conduct your business in kindness.” Atkins illustrated her point by explaining how kindness can help with networking, especially when the people doing the grunt work in Hollywood eventually become the movers and shakers of the industry.

“Today’s PAs are tomorrow’s showrunners, tomorrow’s executives, tomorrow’s directors,” she said. “There are so many people that I met 20 years ago that are in incredible positions now, that are curators and creating content.”

“Truly, the mark of real success…and really making it is when you can move in benevolence and move in kindness,” she said.

You can watch the full video below:


‘Ambitions’: Robin Givens And Essence Atkins Will Lead OWN’s Soapy Family Drama From Will Packer, Jamey Giddens

‘Ambitions’ Trailer: Robin Givens And Essence Atkins Sizzle In OWN’s Soapy Drama From Will Packer [Exclusive]

‘Reel It Back’: Essence Atkins Reflects On ‘Half & Half’, ‘Smart Guy’ And How ‘Marlon’ Came At A Critical Time For Her

WATCH: Here’s Why Essence Atkins Says UPN Went Through A ‘Gentrification Process’ Before Its Death

From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.