“My grandmother always told me I have to be extraordinary to be considered average,” Actress Tisha Campbell-Martin told the audience in Collins Alumni Auditorium on Monday evening. “You have to be able to do it all to be great.”
Campbell-Martin shared many empowering statements like this during her conversation with guest moderator Shannon Sanders, and she seems to have followed her grandmother’s advice.
The multi-hyphenated actress and singer came to speak for The George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts presented Actress Insights: A Conversation with Tisha Campbell-Martin. The hour and a half event offered Lipscomb students, faculty and the general public an intimate look into the life of the multi-hyphenated actress and singer.
Campbell-Martin, who has been in shows such as My Wife and Kids, Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, had many stories to share over her four-decade long career, starting from the very beginning of it all. She talked about how she got her foot in the door with singing and acting and the moment she realized she wanted to make a career out of it, all starting with a singing competition she entered at age five. Her only goal was to win the second prize in the competition, which was a color TV.
“At first, I was mad when I didn’t win second prize,” Campbell-Martin laughed, “Instead I won first prize which was a car. But then, I saw my mother crying and my father jumping up and down, and that was the moment I knew I could help people.”
She said she realized then what she was supposed to do as an artist and wanted to make helping people part of her career. “As artist’s we’re here to serve others: to give hope, to reminisce, to change mindsets. It is an honor for me to serve you the way God is asking me to.”
Campbell-Martin cited her Christianity a lot during the Q and A session, even telling the audience a common prayer she recites.
“Please Lord, let me be a better me than I was yesterday. Let me be a conduit of your work.”
Campbell-Martin had a common theme when talking about her success over the years, citing tenacity and hard work as keys to her achievements.
“There is no level for me, no ceiling,” she stated. “I’m always looking for the next level [of success,] fighting for more. I never go into an audition to get it, but to get a fan in the room.”
To illustrate this mindset, Campbell-Martin told a story of being at an audition when she was a young girl, where she told the casting directors she could do tap and ballet, even though she had never danced before in her life. She proceeded to tap and ballet dance anyways.
“When I told them I could tap dance it was because I believed it, that I could really do that much.”
Believing in herself and having gumption were ways that opened up opportunities for Campbell-Martin’s career, but knowing she was talking to an audience full of students with various aspiring career paths she had one other piece of advice to offer, which was to figure out God’s purpose for you.
“We always have a greater purpose in life,” she said, “no matter what career. Figure out your purpose, so you can make life better for your fellow man and for yourself.”