Happy 44th Birthday, Jada Pinkett Smith

We've loved Jada Pinkett Smith ever since she played the feisty Lena James on A Different World. She has since amazed us on the big and small screen in memorable starring roles in Set It Off and Ali and her hit TV medical drama HawthoRNe. Join us in wishing this Baltimore native, fabulous wife and endearing mother a happy birthday!

Charli Penn Sep, 18, 2015

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Born Jada Koren Pinkett in Baltimore in 1971, she was raised by her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones and grandmother Marian Banfield.

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Noticing her granddaughter’s natural talents, Jada’s grandmother enrolled her in piano and tap dance classes. She later attended the Baltimore School of the Arts, where she befriended the late Tupac Shakur.

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Jada met Will Smith on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1995. “I will throw my career away before I let it break up our marriage,” she has said.

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Jada and Will Smith have been married for 14 years. What’s the secret to keeping things spicy? “Nice outfits and high heels!” she told Redbook. “Think of places outside that are comfortable to have sex,” she added. “Does he have access to his office? Have a fantasy date. Be his secretary!”

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“The key to true beauty is lots of water, great sex with Will Smith and happiness,” the petite actress has said. We love it!

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Jada’s beauty is timeless, seeing as though the star hasn’t seemed to age a bit. Jada, what’s your secret?

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Jada’s many hair moments never cease to amaze.

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Jada’s put in work both in front of and behind the camera for three wonderful seasons on her medical drama HawthoRNe.

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During the Red Table Talks Jada said being a mother is one of the "most extraordinary experiences and the most fulfilling experiences in my life."

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Jada says she treats her children Jaden and Willow Smith like little people, not children. “I don’t dictate what they should and should not do… that’s why we have that trust.”

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Jada is so in love with her husband. The actress told ESSENCE, "That's my boo. It's like he's another part of me."

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Jada tells ESSENCE she is moving ahead with her campaign to end sex trafficking in the world. "When something speaks to you as brightly and as strongly as this particular issue speaks to me," said Jada, you put every resource that you have to move things forward."

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ESSENCE.com wishes this phenomenal woman, actress and mom a happy 44th birthday.