Niecy Nash is widely recognized for her comedic chops, but behind the screen the actress’ personal life has been riddled with tragedy.
In her September cover interview for Essence, Nash, 47, opens up about how comedy helped mend her broken family following the death of her brother — and why she now likens her life to a fairytale.
“If you look at my track record,” Nash told the publication, reflecting on the tragedies she’s endured, “Then to look at , in many ways that does feel like a Cinderella story.”
At the age of 15, Nash watched as her mother’s boyfriend shot her mom, Margaret Ensley, in the back.
“When I was 15, I saw my mother get shot. Her boyfriend was very abusive, and he shot my mother with a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun in front of her children, Easter Sunday morning, shot her down like a dog in the street,” Nash said in 2010. “Thankfully my mother survived that incident.”
But just eight years later, Nash’s younger brother, Michael, was shot to death at his high school over a love triangle. He was 17.
“My mother said, ‘I give up,’ ” Nash, who refused to let her do that, recalled in 2010. Instead, she stood at the foot of her mom’s bed every day telling jokes until she finally cheered up. “That’s when I realized comedy was a gift.”
Now a veteran in the entertainment industry (she’s “been in this business for more than 20 years”), the Claws star has expanded herself beyond the comedic genre — but it required patience on her part.
“For a long time the industry was polite, but they were like, ‘Dear, you have a lane. You do broad comedy. Stay over there.’ I had to be a lady-in-waiting and bide my time until they started to recognize,” she told Essence. “My first time doing dramatic work garnered me back-to-back Emmy nominations.”
“God sometimes has to prepare the right project for you,” said Nash. “You just have to be consistent with the work and be patient.”
Nash’s Essence cover interview goes on sale Friday, Aug. 18.