Trisha Mann-Grant has it all: Beauty, brains, and a loving husband who happens to be one of the most handsome men on the planet, Tony Grant. Recently, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Trisha see what she’s been up to lately, and I have to say that this beauty never ceases to amaze me with all the things she’s able to do so well.
You’re a wife, mom actress, and producer how do you juggle it all?
I won’t pretend that it’s easy or that I always did it the right way, however, when I learned how to put things in perspective and realize that there is an order to success, my life started to change for the better. The order is; 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Family and 4. Career. If the career is the main focus, I can guarantee you that the family will suffer which will ultimately bring chaos. If there is no spiritual foundation, there is no direction on what jobs to take, decisions to make, who to partner with, how to treat your spouse and children and most of all, how to be an example for them. Sometimes our schedules get crazy at the same time but it always works out. I love all the titles and work really hard to fill the positions.
You have been in the business for many years. Can you tell us what do you think it takes to stay in this industry, and how have you been able to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry?
Respect is key in this business. Respect for the craft, respect for your employers and respect for the people you work with. Respecting the art of acting, writing, producing, modeling, directing or whatever area in this industry you have chosen means being dedicated to honing the skill of it and strengthening your confidence yet remaining humble. When someone in the business starts to believe their own hype instead of focusing on being better and constantly elevating at what they do, there is nowhere left for them to go but down. Respecting the people who hire you let’s them know that you appreciate the job they’ve given you. Having respect for your co-workers creates a peaceful environment for everyone and you never know who’s watching you. That fellow co-star just might have a project they’re working on and could very well be considering you for the lead. One of my hurdles used to be time management, which goes hand in hand with organization. Those are two other important factors to practice.
How did you make it from local status to being a major actress?
When I first moved to L.A., I started doing plays locally and a few years later, I went out on my first National Tour with David E. Talbert’s HIS WOMAN HIS WIFE. I also did short films, which lead to co-star, and lead roles in independent feature films and somewhere in between all of that, I started booking sitcoms and other television shows/series. More National tours came and to this day, I love the intimate theater that gave me my start on stage. I am shooting a film now and afterwards I look forward to rehearsals for Paul D. Hannah’s stage play, THE LOVE SHACK at the end of February. This whole process is still a wonderful journey and learning experience. I have worked with some phenomenally, talented Directors, writers, producers and actors but when I get the chance to work with Steven Spielberg and some of the other Greats, that will be “Major”.
Who are some of your favorite actors and actress, and why?
I admire so many actors out there, including some of my peers that are working just as hard as I am to continue rising in this industry. Just to name a few of my favorites that I look forward to working with one day; Cicely Tyson because I was a girl when I saw her star in MS. JANE PITTMAN and she inspired me to want to do television and film. Meryl Streep is one of the female icons of acting. She is stellar at every role she tackles. Morgan Freeman has such a natural and endearing quality that makes you feel like he’s one of your family members. Robert Deniro and Al Pacino are in a class all by themselves, I could watch them all day. Viola Davis puts her heart and soul into every role and it would be an honor to share the screen with her, Angelina Jolie is simply fascinating to watch and her eyes tell every emotion, she is a brilliant actress. Brad Pitt got me in BENJAMIN BUTTONS and actually since he hit the scene in THELMA & LOUISE, he was a fantastic actor. Angela Bassett is solid and classy and I became a true fan when she portrayed Tina Turner in WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT. Leonardo DiCaprio is intriguing to watch and he brings something different to every character. He truly has mastered becoming each role. Johnny Depp, Blair Underwood, Tom Hanks, Kerry Washington, Robert Downey Jr., Sandra Bullock, okay that’s more than a few so I’ll stop there. I could name more and go on and on about each of their gifts and talents and I think I’ll get myself in trouble when it comes to naming my peers that I do work with because I may leave someone out. I have a feeling though, that those special people know who they are.
What actors/actress have you not as of yet worked with that you would like to work with?
I would like to work with everyone I named in the previous question, including Will Smith.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiring others inspires me. It excites me to encourage others whether they’re in this business or not. I like making a difference and as corny as I always sound when I say it, it’s just who I am and how God made me. If I do a role, I love to hear people say to me after the show that they saw themselves, or their situation. It touches me when someone not only can relate but they want to change because they had what I call a “Mirror moment”. I don’t want to just entertain people as an actress, I want to help motivate them to elevate as a person.
What would you say to an aspiring actress is the one thing that you learned being in the industry, just being in it and no one was able to warn you about?
I was warned to a degree about some things before I entered this business. However, the one thing about life is that, even if we all had an instruction manual or a wise mentor, nothing teaches you better than experience. I would advise all actors to get a lawyer or representative to look over every contract you sign and don’t be so eager to jump at everything that comes your way. All money is not good money. Remember that actions speak louder than words and a flattering tongue is one to be leary of. If I had a dollar for every broken promise, I could go on a shopping spree. Also, don’t ever; ever compromise your beliefs or values for the sake of an opportunity. What’s for you is yours no matter what and no matter whom, even when it comes to auditions. Walk into the audition with determination and confidence to make the casting director remember you for future roles and when you leave, the only thing on your mind should be the next audition. Why worry about something you have no control over? My favorite thing to say these days is, “God’s will be done.”
On another note, dating, relationships, and marriage
Many of us know that you are married to the handsome Tony Grant, who is an awesome actor and singer. Can you tell the women and men who are reading this what are some important factors in a marriage to make it successful?
Thank you, yes he is handsome, smart and talented with a beautiful heart and he makes me laugh and smile everyday. I would tell the women looking to get married, to stop looking for Prince Charming and be prepared to be found by him. Only you know what you need to work on to be able to give your heart completely. To the married Women, men are big on respect, yes; there goes that word again. When you recognize that you have a good man, don’t tear him down, diminish his hard work of trying to be a good provider or even allow your past heartbreaks and issues stop you from loving him the right way. To the men looking to get married, a woman with a pretty face and amazing body is great but make sure that under all those “assets”, she has substance. Will she be a fantastic mother, awesome wife, take care of you on your sickbed and represent you properly in public? Is she in it for the money to take from you or does she want to build an empire with you through the good and the bad? Both men and women should realize that there will be disagreements, misunderstandings and disappointments but how you deal with them is key. No couple out there is perfect, but if you are of a like mind and spirit, reaching toward the same goal, success is inevitable. What I love about my husband is that he encourages me, motivates me, he keeps me honest with myself and does not let the “little things” go by without dealing with them so they don’t become big things later down the road. We understand each other’s careers and when we have the opportunity to work together on stage or film, we have such a great time and always spread love with our fellow cast mates. Most of all, he prays for me and with me. Our foundation is spiritual first, mental second and physical last. You have got to get to know the person you’re with before you “get to know” the person you “want to be with”.
Do any emotions of Jealousy ever arise within you when you see all the women who want to be around your husband? If so, how do you deal with it?
I am so glad to say that I am not a jealous person. Besides, I don’t think that jealousy and the true definition of Love go together. I expect women to be attracted to my husband. Something would be wrong with them if they weren’t or either something would be wrong with him, ha! He’s charming, has an amazing spirit and he’s infectious, not to mention sexy. I expect most women to see the wonderful things I see. Most of my husband’s biggest fans are women and when they approach him, I understand that they are excited to see one of their favorite celebrities. I get that this is their moment to say hi, get an autograph or take a picture. I have him for the rest of my life so I don’t mind letting them have a few minutes. Most of the time, I offer to take the picture for them and if they want a selfie, I just stand off patiently on the side until they’re done. When we go out, I would have to say that 98% of the time, someone approaches Tony and usually it’s a female or a group of females. I appreciate the ladies that realize I’m his wife and acknowledge me by asking me to be in the picture with them or asking me if it’s okay that they take a picture with him. I love other classy women. Sometimes though, I have experienced the ladies that look at me like they wish I would disappear and ignore the fact that I’m holding this man’s hand. In spite of their behavior, I am equally as patient with them and I just figure that momma didn’t teach them good manners. Being his wife has made me even more sensitive to first acknowledging other men’s wives whether they are celebrities, politicians, Pastors or someone I meet in public. It’s all very interesting and sometimes amusing but my Hubby never allows anyone to mistreat or blatantly disrespect me. Yep, I got a good one.
What does it take to find love, commitment, and honesty in a relationship?
In order to receive love, commitment and honesty, you have to be willing to give love, commitment and honesty and that takes discipline and dedication from both sides. Either you truly love someone, or you don’t but either way your actions will tell the story.
Have you ever experienced a bad relationship prior to your good thing finding you? If so, can you share a little with us on what happened and how did you handle it?
I have been in a bad relationship where I chose to ignore all of the red flags and allowed myself to be mistreated, mentally, verbally and physically. At some point, you either love yourself more than the situation or allow the situation to destroy you. I learned to love me more and thank God, I was given the strength to get out. When women and men realize their worth, they won’t allow someone else to demean their value. Choose to be the Victor, not the victim.
What about the creed you live by?
There are power in your words so use them wisely and with love. Treat others the way you want to be treated but you can’t truly love others until you love you.
What were some of the setbacks that occurred in your life and how were you able to overcome these setbacks?
I was molested by my babysitters at the age of six. My family was downstairs having a party when it happened and I didn’t talk about it for many years. Not only has it helped to open up about a dark secret, I have learned to forgive my molesters who were twin sisters. My sister and I were bullied in grammar school because we had really long hair. Two other sisters would follow us home from school every day and fight us in front of our house, call us foul names and once stole our gym shoes. The school bully, who was three years older than me, terrorized us constantly and some of my own classmates tried to cut my hair with their scissors while the teacher had her back turned. Every day it was one incident after another. This went on for a few years at different schools and eventually, I had to learn how to fight so I could defend myself. Finally, I begged my grandmother, who was a beautician and took good care of our hair, to please cut it short so I could have friends. She cut only four inches and that helped things a bit. When most of the students actually took the time to get to know me, then they became my friends. I didn’t hold a grudge on any of them even though I thought I had a right to but I felt sorry for them and forgave them. It was always baffling to me as a child how something such as hair could make a person hate another person and do mean things to them. Being bullied made me protect others who were picked on and look out for the “underdog”. As a Mom, I taught my daughter that she was beautiful and her dark skin was beautiful, her extremely tall height was a blessing and to be grateful for her hair no matter the grade or length. I also taught her, if anyone bullies you and puts their hands on you, bust them upside the head and tell the teacher to call me. Not the best biblical advice but I knew it would keep the bullies away. When I was five months pregnant with her, the doctor called me on the phone and said, “Trisha, I’m sorry to tell you this but your daughter is going to have Down syndrome, kidney problems and heart problems. If you would like, I can offer you a legal abortion so you won’t have to deal with that headache for the rest of your life.” At this time, I was homeless with a five-year-old son by my side, driving a car that could break down any minute and months prior had broken off an engagement. These words were not words I needed or wanted to hear about my unborn child, especially after being turned down for an apartment I wanted to get near my son’s school five minutes before the doctor’s call. During this period, it seemed like my life wouldn’t get any better and definitely couldn’t be any worse so I had thoughts of suicide. One day, God spoke to my heart and said, “You have two choices. You can choose Me or you can choose Satan.” I chose God, so when that call came in from the doctor giving me the option to abort my child, I boldly responded, “Dr. ______, I rebuke that in the Name of Jesus. My daughter is going to be born perfectly healthy. Now, if you have any good news in the future, please feel free to give me a call.” Needless to say, he was quite angry with me and he didn’t even deliver my daughter who was born perfectly healthy one month before her due date. She now stands three inches taller than me at the age of fifteen as a Model/Fashion Designer and she has the most beautiful spirit and heart. I couldn’t imagine life without her or my son. I could go on and on about the challenges and pitfalls I have experienced on my life journey but the main thing that kept me focused was prayer and faith.
Who inspires you?
Every person that ever persevered through insurmountable challenges and kept their faith and dignity through it all.
What do you wish more people knew about you?
I wish more people really knew my heart. If they did, some of them wouldn’t assume, say or think the way they do.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Whatever it is, let’s just keep it a surprise (LOL). okay, I’m so doggone transparent that what they see is what they get. That’s a question I have to ask someone that really knows me so let me get back to you on that one.
What do you wish you had known 20 years ago?
Trisha Mann-Grant: How to take better care of my health, pay more attention to the business side of my career and save more money instead of spend it.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would like to have my own production company with several of the films I’ve written already produced and to be working on Volume three of my book that I am putting out this year. I would also like to have elevated the charities I am a part of, BOOKER AUTISM FOUNDATION OF LEARNING and HELP ME HELP U for the Homeless. Last, I want to start a Marriage Ministry with my husband.
How do you relax and unwind?
Trisha Mann-Grant: I relax and unwind several ways. I love a good movie at home on Netflix or DVD with a good Chic-Fil-A meal or either something I’ve cooked. Other times, I will just sit on my piano and play for my dogs. They are the best audience ever. Sometimes, I turn off the television when Tony or my kids are out and I just soak up the silence, focus on the positive and meditate on how grateful I am.
What advice would you give women?
Don’t rely on your man or husband for everything. Create and get your own thing going. Not only is that attractive to them but you feel more empowered and productive while sharing your talents with the world at the same time. We are all multi-talented, so discover those talents and use them well. If you feel like you’ve lost yourself, you have the power, inner strength and ability to get your life back.
What’s the best way for men to help women?
Make them accountable even as young girls so they can grow into phenomenal women. Listen more and allow their voice to be heard. Don’t commit to a woman if you’re not ready for commitment. There are enough damaged hearts and souls out there.
What do you want to your contribution to the world to be?
I want to contribute the messages of my poetry, scripts and songs. I want to contribute the memories of my God-given talents through television and film. I want to start my own charity in the future for abused men, women and children of all nationalities.
What makes you laugh?
Myself. Laughing at the goofy things I say or do keeps me transparent, grounded and honest. My funnyman husband cracks me up too. We are so silly sometimes.
What touches your soul?
People who care about others.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a woman who loved hard, encouraged and inspired others, had passion in everything she did and was a true example of who God created her to be.
Learn more about Trisha Mann-Grant and her work at trishamann.com.
Tunya Griffin, founder of GirlChat, has interviewed a number of celebrities and other successful and exceptional people over the years.