Actor Guilt

Actor Guilt

2nd Story
Chicago, Illinois

Khanisha Foster

Coming up on two years ago I moved to L.A., and since that time I have been writing. Writing creative non-fiction for 2nd Story, an organization that has stolen my heart, and writing my memoir—I’m the kid of a former Black Panther career criminal and heroin-addicted parents, one black and one white (so there’s lots to write about there), and with the help of UCLA’s professional program I’m in screenplay Heaven. All of this is work, commitment, and time well spent FO SHO, but here I am feeling like I’m cheating on acting.

Acting was the first and only thing I ever wanted to do. It taught me about my brain, my heart, my sexuality. I felt alive on stage before I ever felt it in real life. I was ready for the business you hear about when you grow up wanting to be an actor. I was going to be rejected. No problem. I was going to be poor. Since I had never been anything else, that was fine by me. I was going to have to work my butt off. This, to me, seemed to be the easiest part. My childhood was more than challenging, and my father always taught me I’d have to work twice as hard to get half as far, so hard work seemed habitual. What I wasn’t ready for was the complete challenge of identity I was about to undergo.

I’m mixed; the list, which changes in specifics based on my audience and how they wish to receive it (everybody thinks they know more about being mixed than you do), goes like this: black and white, which then breaks down into Creole, which then breaks down into African, French, Spanish (Spain), plus Native American (I prefer this to American Indian), Scottish, Irish, and German. Are you trying to picture what I look like? If you don’t know me or haven’t seen a picture, my skin is honey-colored (or so every base makeup I ever bought tells me), while my hair is almost black like both of my parents’; its waves fall into curls and it is shiny soft, and even though it looks full, quite thin. Everyone thinks I’m Latina…

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