Tiffany Haddish Opens Up About Years in Foster Care: ‘I Thought I Was Going to Die There’

Tiffany Haddish is unstoppable. She stars in mystery comedy series “The Afterparty” on Apple TV+, she had a featured role alongside Nicolas Cage in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” she has a number of other films and TV shows in the works, and she just released a children’s book, “Layla, the Last Black Unicorn.” But before her current string of successes, she spent time in foster care with no guarantee of her future. She opened up about that time in her life to senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin 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,” Haddish said. “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.”

Haddish said she wrote her book and created the She Ready Foundation — which pairs foster kids with internship programs — as a way of addressing the needs that were never met in her childhood. She said she “wanted to take away the feeling of feeling like garbage from kids.”

“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.”

Watch the full conversation in the video above.