When True Whitaker was within the third grade, she had a faculty biography mission. The project was to choose a well-known particular person, perform some research, and write somewhat bit about their life. Fairly regular stuff for an 8-year-old, and, one would assume, a relatively easy job for a child whose dad is Forest Whitaker.
“It was across the time my dad was taking pictures ‘The Final King of Scotland,’” True, now 23, advised The Submit. “My mother, my sisters, my brother and I flew out to go to him in Uganda.”
Now for the plot twist: “He was having a gathering with Nelson Mandela.
“So I acquired to sit down and speak to Nelson Mandela, and I used to be capable of interview Winnie Mandela, who was his spouse on the time. There’s a photograph of me and Nelson Mandela holding arms and speaking, and I’m, like, eight years previous,” she laughed. “I want I used to be older so I might have actually understood the significance — how insane and iconic that second was. These sorts of experiences I’ll cherish endlessly.”
Such is the lifetime of a star scion, and a refreshingly self-aware one at that. True, the youngest of 4 youngsters, was raised in Los Angeles by her mom, actress Keisha Nash-Whitaker, and her actor/director/screenwriter/producer dad, who has co-starred in “Panic Room,” “Black Panther,” “The Butler” and numerous different movies.
“I really feel like I’m half my mother and half my dad. My mother has put numerous her power into me. She’s very outgoing, very humorous … I really feel just like the comedic facet of me has been perpetuated by my mother,” stated True of Keisha, who cut up from Forest final yr. “My dad is humorous too, however he’s somewhat extra quiet in public areas. My mother is all the time on 10, in a great way.”
True has inherited numerous traits from her father, too: “My wit and my empathy. I really feel like he’s taught me and my brother and sisters to method life with a way of understanding and openness to several types of individuals on this world — to embrace several types of individuals, with completely different energies and from completely different walks of life.
“I’ve all the time been actually shut with each of my dad and mom. Generally somewhat too shut, possibly—I really feel like I share the whole lot with them. Even when it’s like, ‘Oh, Dad, I adopted a cute man [on social media] at present!’” added True, who’s single. “It’s actually simply something and the whole lot. However I really like that I really feel like I can simply be myself and never be petrified of being judged by my dad and mom. I’m actually grateful for the shut relationship we’ve all the time had.”
One other factor that runs within the household is a penchant for movie and tv. At 18, True moved from LA to New York Metropolis to pursue a level in artistic writing from NYU’s Gallatin College of Individualized Examine.
“I really feel like I took each artistic writing course they needed to provide, to determine what a part of writing I actually needed to hone in on.” She graduated final yr, and lives in New York.
“Writing has all the time been an emotional factor for me. At any time when I felt overwhelmed with pleasure or unhappiness or every other sort of emotion, I’ve all the time turned to writing. I really feel like typically after I communicate I’m not as concise as I could possibly be after I’m writing. It offers me a unique sense of energy, so I’ve all the time beloved it.”
And sure, she’s additionally thinking about appearing.
“I acted within the final season of ‘Godfather of Harlem,’ starring my dad. I had a personality named Sandra. She was undoubtedly a problem, however I beloved each second of it and, hopefully, as a result of it’s taking pictures proper now, she’ll come again,” she stated of the Epix collection.
Though she didn’t have any scenes along with her father, True recalled the primary time she noticed him on set — which was additionally her very first day of filming.
“I didn’t even know he was there at first. However once we wrapped, I walked off the set, and a man got here as much as me and was like, ‘Oh, you simply missed your dad.’ I used to be like, ‘What?’ I suppose he was secretly watching with somewhat monitor someplace.
“He’s very supportive,” she laughed. “After I went again as much as my dressing room, I discovered him in there with balloons and a bottle of Champagne, congratulating me. It was actually particular, in fact, to have the ability to try this with my dad.”
In the end, True hopes to proceed each appearing and writing professionally. Actually, since graduating from NYU, she’s been engaged on a remedy for a TV collection with playwright, screenwriter and director (“Nearly Christmas,” “First Sunday”) David Talbert, who can be considered one of her mentors.
“I’m a trillion drafts into my collection. I’m hoping within the subsequent few years you guys will see and have the ability to really feel and listen to my voice and perceive the issues that I care about,” she stated. “Something I work on will likely be one thing meaning one thing to me.”
Whereas it stays to be seen whether or not she’ll star within the present if it will get made, she plans to proceed pursuing different appearing alternatives.
“I’ve been doing numerous auditions. I’m signed at William Morris [Agency], and I really like my agent — he’s been giving me numerous alternatives,” she stated. “So hopefully that’ll decide up quickly, as a result of I’m actually obsessed with appearing.”
Whitaker can be obsessed with social activism, as is her father. (Forest is an official advocate for the UN’s Sustainable Improvement Objectives, UNESCO Particular Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, and the founding father of Whitaker Peace and Improvement Initiative.)
“Regardless of who I’m, what household I got here from, what my dad does, or what success he has, wherever I’m going, I’m a Black girl. So I’ll face the challenges that this nation presents us attributable to its horrible historical past. As a really tall, dark-skinned Black girl, I really feel my Blackness all over the place I’m going. Even after I go right into a retailer, typically I really feel like I’ve to both purchase one thing or hold my arms in plain view,” she defined. “I’m all the time gonna really feel the bizarre microaggressions. However I even have a way of energy, in fact, being a Black girl. I need it to be recognized that we deserve this kind of recognition and success, to have the ability to dwell in the way in which that I’ve lived. I’m so proud that my dad, as a Black man, has been capable of give this life and this legacy to us, a Black household.”
True’s Instagram bio reads “Black Lives Matter / Shield Black Girls!,” and in between household images and selfies, you’ll discover images from marches and protests.
“I arise after I see issues on this planet occurring that I believe are mistaken,” she stated. “We have to put somewhat peace into the world, put some love and care into it.”
True’s Instagram additionally options images and movies from essentially the most glamorous facet of her life — like debutante balls, purple carpets, and celeb-studded nights out — however she insists that her day-to-day actuality is fairly regular.
“I simply attempt to work on my writing, and I spend time with the those who I really like. Clearly, if there’s an occasion that I’m invited to, it’s sick to go and I like to be included. I all the time like to be considered! However I wouldn’t say I’m doing it that always.”
Actually, you’re extra prone to run into her at a karaoke bar.
“My sister and I, truly. In our personal time, we, like, follow. We’ll good a track, after which we’ll simply hop right into a karaoke bar. We’ll be harmonizing, doing means an excessive amount of, exhibiting off our abilities. We actually did it the opposite day—it was a lot enjoyable,” True stated.
Their present track of alternative is an oldie however goodie, from 2007: “‘Potential Breakup Track’ by Aly and AJ. They’re type of having a resurgence, so we’re embracing that.”
Pictures: Tamara Beckwith/NY Submit; Stylist: Heather Blair; Hair: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT utilizing Cricket Firm; Make-up: Markphong Tram/ABTP utilizing Maybeline; Location: PHD Rooftop at Dream Downtown.