Keepin’ It Bigger
Funny girl Tanisha Long has been in the business for almost a decade: She’s starred on MTV’s Girl Code, and on the BET+ comedy series Bigger as the quirky Layne Roberts. “I actually got into comedy by mistake. I was going to school for fashion in Philly, and I was miserable,” she shares. After struggling to put herself through school due to high expenses, Long dropped out. The West Philadelphia native then made her next big move; she moved to New York City and started to do improv.
Long made a living by working as a hostess, but spent most of her time and money at The Peoples Improv Theater – and fell in love with comedy and making people laugh. “It’s weird, I don’t really remember my life before acting because this is the happiest I’ve ever been. It feels like I was just born, moved to New York, and then became an actor,” she says, bursting into laughter.
The comedienne has been constantly hustling, and has definitely had her fair share of obstacles to overcome. The industry is no easy feat, and in 2018, it got so hard for Long that she almost quit acting. She was filled with doubt and anxious about her future. “I was like, ‘This is too crazy. I’m too old to be doing this. This is for someone who just got out of college. How am I supposed to have an adult woman’s life if I’m worried about money and when I’m going to work again?’” describes Long, who had to really think about how much she loves this art and eventually came to the conclusion that there is no other answer than that acting is what she is meant to be doing with her life. Soon after, she reached a breaking point, and booked the lead on Bigger.
Executive-produced by Will Packer, Bigger follows a group of 5 friends in their 30s trying to navigate their way through life in Atlanta (“I relate to Layne because I am also like, ‘What is going on with me?’”). The script spoke to her and came at the perfect time in her life, portraying everything she felt about herself. Much like her character, Long had difficulties finding herself and had “been out of money and been miserable. I did everything I was supposed to do. I worked so hard and wondered, ‘Where’s all the stuff I’m supposed to have?’” Long also feels that a lot of women in their 30s, especially black women, can find a piece of themselves within the show. “People expect so much from [women] and expect us to have kids, a house, a credit score of 800,” she says. “You see people around you with those things, and you start to wonder why you don’t have it – it’s a relatable feeling all around.”
With no plans of slowing down, she is prepared to overcome more bumps along the way because Long has finally found her footing, focusing on her dreams. She hopes to expand her range and comfort level, and become a stronger performer and actor, and, most importantly, a stronger person. While undoubtedly committed to honing her craft, she admits that self-care is imperative. “I have this unhealthy obsession with my work, and I’m trying to make more time for my friends and family,” she affirms. “I want to work on being Tanisha the human, instead of Tanisha the actor.”
Writer: Gavy Contreras
Photographer & Videographer: Mason Kim
Stylist: Lauren Taylor
Hair: Amina Gueye
Makeup: Phoebe Dawson (using M•A•C Cosmetics)
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Asian Box (@asianbox - www.asianbox.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)