Hey guys! I am EXTREMELY excited to introduce you to a special group of women. As some of you who follow me on Facebook may know, I have been tapped as one of the hosts of a new, original program on Magic Johnson’s Aspire network (check here for local listings). Exhale is a unique talk show featuring views and well, real talk, about issues pertinent to African American women. It features strong women, not only in front of the camera but behind the scenes too; I feel incredibly honored and blessed to work on it.
So I this week I’m introducing you to my co-hosts and the women behind the concept. You’ve already met Issa Rae and Angela Burt-Murray; today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Erin Jackson. I’ve known Erin for just a couple of months now and I’m not exaggerating when I say she makes me smile. And a whole bunch of other folks too. Erin is a comic with some big things brewing of late, including recently opening for comedian Dave Chapelle. More now on Erin and be sure to watch Exhale, Wednesdays on Aspire!
Are you happy at the moment?
It’s been a long time since I could honestly say I was happy. But I absolutely am. A year ago I was in the midst of a year-long struggle to evict a squatter from my home. I was inundated with legal fees. I literally had no idea where I was going to live. Today I’m totally debt free, I have a fantastic new tenant, I’m working on some amazing projects, I’m much healthier (I’ve lost 30 pounds)… Now all I need is for Idris Elba to realize we’re meant to be and I will literally have it all.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
I think I’d tell 16-year-old me that it’s important to have a plan for your future, but if life takes you in a different direction, don’t view that as failure. You just have to adapt and create a new plan. Life is about flexibility. I’d also tell her to never walk into a tattoo parlor and pick a tat off the wall. It doesn’t end well.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
This has truly been a year of transition for me. I’d say the most important thing I’ve learned is that your fortune can change in an instant, for the worse or for the better. So when you face challenges, find comfort in the fact that trouble don’t last always.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
My biggest goal for the next year is to relocate (to either NYC or LA) and to complete my book project. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m super excited about it so please stay tuned!
What’s your secret to happiness?
Umm… it’s a secret.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I’m a huge book nerd; they’re where I go to escape. So a good book and a pint of Haagen-Dazs lemon sorbet is my happy place.
What’s your biggest regret?
I definitely wish I had spent less time measuring my success against other folks’. Everyone’s path to success and happiness is different and there’s no one way to achieve anything, really.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I’m not a mom yet, but last week on a flight to Indianapolis, I taught the kid sitting behind me that it’s not a good idea to kick the back of my seat.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I don’t know if this qualifies as a habit, but I really need to try and curb my road rage. I holler. I string together insults that make no sense whatsoever – just whatever cuss words come to mind. I genuinely frighten my passengers. I really am out of control.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
The life I lead now is in complete contrast to the way I lived before. I have always been a planner, a list/spreadsheet/pivot-table maker. If I couldn’t map something out from start to finish, then I didn’t do it. But the entertainment industry doesn’t allow for that. You often have to jump without a net. I could never have done that had I not been so in love with what I do. I think I’m proudest that I didn’t let fear and discomfort deter me from my dream. It may have taken me longer than I like to get to where I am today, but I’m here.
When were you happiest?
I think I’m the happiest I’ve been in my adult life right now. I feel like everything – professionally and personally – is finally coming together and I’m savoring every moment. Of course by “savoring every moment” I mean “posting lots of pictures to Instagram and tweeting about it.”
What ten words best describe you?
Smart, funny, sarcastic, stubborn, loner, loyal, good listener, resourceful, self-aware, independent.
“Washington has been the home of a number of very good comics and a few great ones (Wanda Sykes, Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black, Martin Lawrence). Erin Jackson could be next in line.” —The Washington Post
Armed with a megawatt smile and a pocket full of dreams, Erin Jackson is poised to conquer the world of stand-up. In fact, she’d probably be a superstar by now if her friends and family hadn’t spent so many years hating on her dreams and stealing her joy.
Since first making a name for herself at colleges and east coast comedy clubs, Erin’s warm, conversational style and relatable humor have helped to propel her onto the national stage. Erin currently co-hosts “Exhale,” a provocative, hip and candid new talk show airing on Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s ASPiRE television network.
Erin has performed stand-up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” TV Guide Network’s “Standup in Stilettos” and the Dutch television show, “The Comedy Factory.” She was also a semifinalist on season 6 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Erin has appeared on VH-1 and TV Guide Network as a panelist on pop-culture countdown shows such as “40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the 90’s” and “Best Movie Kisses,” and has worked for both HBO and BET as a warm-up act for live comedy and awards specials.
Erin is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured in publications such as The Washington Post and NYTimes.com.