Niecy Nash Is Claiming Her Rightful Spot As Hollywood's Leading Lady 

ESSENCE's September 2017 cover star isn't afraid to sink her 'Claws' into the challenge.

They say you should never tear down someone who is winning, because you don’t know what it took for them to get there. Niecy Nash is a perfect example of that mantra.

The 47-year-old has been in the business for years — first gaining notoriety in her Style Network show Clean House that ran from 2004 to 2011. But run through her resume and you’ll see consistent years of work, oftentimes acting in more than one project at simultaneously. She’s now starring as the lead in TNT’s hit show, Claws that was recently renewed for a second season.

ESSENCE

Undoubtedly, Nash works hard but she’s also endured a lot of tragedy.

“If you look at my track record, ‘She saw her mother get shot. She buried her only brother. She went through a horrible divorce. She lost her church.’ And to look at [my life], in many ways that does feel like a Cinderella story,” Nash told ESSENCE for her September 2017 cover story. 

Sophy Holland

Niecy Nash looks absolutely stunning as she strikes a pose during a photoshoot.

Similar to her Claws character Desna Simms, she’s motherly but not matronly— cinching a waist and throwing on a heel at the drop of a hat. Don’t get it twisted though, if she has to switch up into other roles, she’s ready and willing to do so. 

“For a long time, the industry was polite, but they were like, ‘Dear, you have a lane. You do broad comedy. Stay over there,'” she said. “I had to be a lady in waiting and bide my time until they started to recognize. My first time doing dramatic work garnered me back-to-back Emmy nominations…You’ve got to figure out how to get your do-over.”

Pick up the latest issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands Friday, September 18.

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[MUSIC] I define success as happiness, because you can have all the world Trappings. But if you have not figured out how to be happy in those things, how to have peace in those things, then you gain so much, but in the end have so little. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Lola Falana was everything to me. At five years old she was the most gorgeous black woman I had ever seen on tv, and I looked at my grandma, and I said, who is that? She said, baby that's Lola Falana. And in that moment I feel like God snapped on the cameras of my imagination, my destiny. I looked at my grandmother and I said I want to be black, fabulous and on TV. [MUSIC] But the way I maintain my balance is that I'm very, very clear that being an actress is my due but my who is to be of service. To go into the world and be a blessing. To go out there and give something, and not just be a person who takes. [MUSIC] It's a challenge everyday sometimes should be comfortable in the skin your end because you may see things and look at things, so I don't like this, I'm judging that. There are moments when I'm extremely comfortable in my skin, and I'm like hey this is what it is. And there is sometimes when I judge my self very very harshly and I'm like man, this skirt doesn't fit like it used too. Or if the hips werent so big this could look a little more fashion forward. Sometimes, I do have those moments but I just try to tap back into appreciating my body to just loving myself where I am right this moment. When all else fails, I remember my grandmother always said Baby, when yous the only naked woman in a room, you looks good. [MUSIC]