A Story Quip About Jay Love Japan

Soul Survivor

Now that Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? has become a box-office money maker, you need to know that one of the key players in the ensemble is from my neck of the woods -- Camden, NJ.

Her name is Tasha Smith who plays Angela, the loud mouth, alcoholic wife married to Michael Jai White's character named Marcus.

And the 36-year-old actress has a very unique story to tell. Growing up in Camden, Tasha was living the crazy life. She used drugs between the ages of 19 and 25; she was also a stripper and a thief. That all changed when she found God and changed her belief systems. Tasha then moved to California and discovered her passion for acting and created the Tasha Smith Acting Workshop (TSAW).

"My survival and my success was not just for myself but for my neighbors and my community, and you're my community," Tasha recently told students during her speech at Camden's Creative Arts High School. "You have to survive, you have to make it!"

Tasha promised to return to Camden and start an actor's workshop in the impoverished city, like the one she already established in Los Angeles.

Ironically, while filming Why Did I Ever Get Married?, Tasha was going through a divorce from her husband of two years. "I was going through a divorce when I was filming the movie and I had gotten my divorce papers," she said. "I think a little bit of my ex-husband and ex-relationships I probably put in there to help me to deal with some of the frustrations that my character had."

And since shooting the movie, the actress has no qualms about the institution of marriage. "I'll get married [again] so I can have sex," Tasha quips. "I believe in marriage. I think marriage is so beautiful and the film . . . inspired me to really just look forward to marriage again."

Outside of acting, Tasha's future goals include creating her own ministry so she can inspire other people to conquer their demons and pursue their goals.

"Camden gave me strength! Camden gave me power! I'm able to stand up and say to folks, "You don't know the streets I walked. I'm not scared of you.' "