Nearly every teenage girl has uttered the words, “Dad, stop embarrassing me.” Very few grow up to turn those horrifying tales into hilarious storylines for a sitcom – a sitcom that gets picked up by Netflix no less. But Corinne Foxx has never been one to follow the norm just because it’s expected of her. And her turn as a producer of a new show which her father, Jamie Foxx, stars in is proof she’s nobody’s famous daughter, but a rising star in the entertainment industry in her own right.
“Growing up I had a lot of pressure to join the entertainment industry and I kind of went against that,” Corinne tells ESSENCE. “I was like, everybody expects me to finish high school and get into the entertainment industry, and I don’t want to do what everybody expects of me. I also want to enter [the industry] because I know it’s something I actually want to do.”
It’s both hilarious and very telling that Corinne says her form of rebelling against that pressure was attending the University of Southern California (USC). “I was like, ‘Hey everybody, I’m going to college. I’m not just going to become some actor because everyone thinks that’s what I’m supposed to do.’”
Though at the time she attended USC Corinne was still adamant about not following in her father’s footsteps, her decision to major in public relations suggested she had some desire to build a career in an adjacent field. “I was really into writing and when I went to the orientation for PR and learned it was writing and entertainment based. I thought, ‘Okay, this kind of speaks to my entertainment interest, but it also speaks to my writing interest and maybe there’ll be something there.”
While in school, Corinne began modeling at the age of 19, landing her first campaign with jewelry brand Icing. Walking in shows in Milan for luxury designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Kanye West’s infamous Yeezy 4 collection debut in New York City would follow. In one way the profession allowed her to make a name for herself without being in her father’s shadow. “I felt like it was my own lane,” Corinne says. “My dad’s not a model so it was really something that I could come into my own.”
In other ways, however, it was isolating often being the only Black model booked for gigs. “When I got bigger jobs and I was going to fashion week and I was in shows there wasn’t a lot of diversity and I felt often times out of place.”
A few years later, Corinne would have a similar feeling while working at what she notes was a “swanky” advertising agency in New York City. Though the job was “really cool,” the then-recent grad realized fairly quickly PR wasn’t her passion. “I was sitting at my desk and I was looking out the window like, ‘This isn’t what I want to do. I want to be in the industry. I want to act.’”
Once again bucking against what one might expect the daughter of an Academy Award-winning actor/singer-songwriter/comedian to do, Corinne didn’t rely on her father to open doors for her. Instead, she walked herself into classrooms at Howard Fine Acting Studio and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to not only learn the craft of acting but gain respect for it as well.
“There’s people who study their entire lives to be actors. I didn’t want to just jump in and be too naive to think that I would just naturally know what I’m doing,” Corinne says. “To this day, I still have an acting coach that I work with consistently.”
That’s an important detail when you consider how many roles she already has under her belt at 27. Though, technically, Corinne landed her very first part at the age of 6 when she starred as the flower girl in episode 100 of The Jamie Foxx show when Jamie and Fancy finally jumped the broom, her first role as a trained actress came in 2016 as Rachel Adams on the MTV comedy-drama Sweet/Vicious. That same year she also served as Miss Golden Globe.
“That really was a defining moment in my career because I think people saw me for the first time standing on my own,” Corinne explains. “I did a lot of red carpets growing up next to my dad, and I was his date and it was so lovely. But that was an opportunity to show people that I’m entering into this industry and I’m here to create my own career and start my own career. That’s something that I’ll be forever grateful for.”
If we skip ahead to 2021 – and past Corinne’s roles in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, Safety¸ All-Star Weekend and her stint as a DJ on the second season of Beat Shazam – there’s no denying she’s charting her own path. Consistently unconventional, she’s already establishing herself as a multi-faceted talent within the TV industry, taking a step behind the camera as producer of Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me!. Available for streaming on Netflix today,the eight-episode series is exactly what you’d expect it to be from the title.
“Everybody finds it so fascinating that my dad does embarrass me because people see him as so cool. I’m like, ‘No, no, no. If you’re his daughter, everything he’s doing is not cool, it’s embarrassing,” Corinne says laughing. “So we had all these stories and, really, we took these stories and we made them episodes and we casted this amazing actress, Kyla-Drew, to play a younger version of me.”
Jamie plays the lead role of Brian, a single dad trying to figure out fatherhood on the fly, as the series description puts it, as well as a host of other interesting characters. Corinne, though she doesn’t act in the series, plays the boss behind the scenes.
“I’m the youngest and the only female producer on the show so it was a really huge learning curve for me to just figure out the job and also find my voice in the room with Netflix executives. As great as they are, it’s still intimidating. I had to really level up to be vocal and not be afraid to have my ideas heard and so it was a really great learning experience for me.”
Despite the trepidation of treading new water, Corinne also feels a greater sense of belonging than she did during her modeling days.
“There is a lot of movement and a lot of change, which makes me hopeful and inspired,” she says of the industry. “Everything that we’ve been doing and everything that we’ve been championing for is working. People are being forced to listen and being forced to change their narratives. So it’s a really exciting time in the entertainment industry for people of color — people of all color — because we’re finally getting a chance to tell our stories and having us tell our stories, not having white men write our stories for us.”
Writing said stories is something Corinne sees herself doing for the long-haul alongside acting, producing, and a host of other professional goals she has written on a piece of paper that hangs over her work desk. In the long-term, the mental health advocate and budding entrepreneur who begrudgingly confesses to having a Type A personality, sees herself running her own non-profit as well as her own production company.
“I don’t think you have to be one thing anymore,” she says of the way actors were once pigeonholed. “I think it’s possible to do everything, and I think that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
While the word “everything” may sound like a recipe for biting off more than one can chew, Corinne says her mom makes sure she maintains a steady portion. “I can get very lofty with my goals and what I want to do and she always brings me back to myself. She says, ‘What is true for you? Don’t just strive for goals because they’re goals; don’t just want to make a million dollars because that’s what society tells you. What feels true to you, what’s actually going to make you happy?’ That’s something I always come back to, especially being so goal oriented and wanting to do everything, I make sure that everything’s aligned with my purpose.”
Likewise, Jamie always ensures that purpose sustains his daughter emotionally.
“My dad has always said, ‘Always save a little love for yourself. Don’t let anybody take away that love for you, that inherent self-worth, because there are a lot of nos in this industry. There are a lot of people who don’t believe in you or want to bring you down and if you give them power and weight, you’ll never move forward. You have to have something inside of you that you love and that you believe in, and that nobody can shake.’ He’s really instilled that in me. And I work on it every day.”Share :