Tiffany Haddish Recalls the Trauma of Growing Up in Foster Care

"When I was in foster care, I mean, I thought I was going to die there."

los angeles, california   april 18 tiffany haddish attends the los angeles special screening of the unbearable weight of massive talent at dga theater complex on april 18, 2022 in los angeles, california photo by leon bennettgetty images
Leon BennettGetty Images

Tiffany Haddish spoke openly about her time in foster care while in a keynote conversation for the Variety Changemakers Summit.

"When I was in foster care, I mean, I thought I was going to die there," the actress told the outlet. "I didn't think I would make it to 18. And when I made it to 18, I was like, 'OK, I got to really think bigger.' And I did think bigger, and I'm definitely where I thought I would be. Well, it's bigger than what I thought, but I feel the way that I was hoping I would feel and that's secure in my ability to provide for me."

The Afterparty star said that her experience in foster care inspired her to write her first children's book, Layla, the Last Black Unicorn, and to establish the She Ready Foundation, an organization that pairs foster children with internships. With these gestures, she "wanted to take away the feeling of feeling like garbage from kids."

Haddish added that the lack of consistency and routine she had as a kid in foster care impacted her confidence in herself and led her to take action, once she found success, to make sure other children don't experience that.

"When I was a kid and I was moving around, all my stuff had to be in trash bags, and moving like that is not good for the self esteem because it make you feel like garbage that can easily be transported to here or there," Haddish said. "You start thinking of yourself as such, as garbage. That was the worst feeling in the world personally, and I told myself, if I ever get any power, I'm going to try to make sure kids don't feel like that. If I can reach out, I'm going to try to change that feeling for them. So I started my foundation, and we started with just giving out suitcases."

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