'Mixed-ish' star Trinitee Stokes on playing Tamika and why she finds the ABC show relevant for young women
ABC's 'Mixed-ish' has been one of the most warmly received shows this fall as the 'Black-ish' spinoff charts Rainbow Johnson's (Tracee Ellis Ross as the adult Bow, and Arica Himmel as the young Bow) childhood growing up biracial in the 1980s.
Trinitee Stokes, who plays the recurring role of Tamika, one of Bow's classmates, sat down for an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW). Stokes is best known for her role in the Disney Channel show 'K.C. Undercover' which also starred Zendaya. The 13-year-old actress also released her book, 'Bold and Blessed: How to Stay True to Yourself and Stand Out from the Crowd' last year, where she answers questions from fans on friends, faith, and fame, and empowering girls and boys to embrace their big dreams.
On the transition from Disney to ABC, Stokes says that she always wanted to be on a primetime ABC show and finds it really exciting. She feels her work on 'Mixed-ish' is different because she has never acted in a period piece before as the ABC show is set in the 80s and now she gets to do a lot of 80s fashion and 80s hairstyles.
On her character, Tamika, Stokes says that she is a little bit rough. "She's really helping Rainbow kind of figure out whether she has to choose sides, whether she has to choose to be African-American or to be Caucasian or if she's able to find the balance of being both." Stokes says that Tamika wants to help people just like she does, only her character does it in a very different way, "She does it in a harsher manner, but in her own special way, she wants Rainbow to make sure that she doesn't get embarrassed."
Tamika will continue trying to bring Rainbow along through the rest of the season. Stokes also teased an upcoming episode where she and Rebecca (Isabel Myers) will bicker and team up against Rainbow to make her choose a side. Though the episode will be intense, Stokes promises that it will be fun.
As someone who promotes the empowerment of girls, Stokes is pleased with the subjects 'Mixed-ish' deals with, specifically the episode which featured the history of African-American hair, and what it means to her as a biracial girl. Stokes said, "I think it's amazing that 'Mixed-ish' is actually covering important things that girls today are struggling with." She says that even though the show is set in the 80s, the struggles young girls face are relevant even today.
This is something Stokes focuses on in her book. She recently came back from Africa where she was promoting her book and helping promote literacy. She speaks of how her parents helped her write the book and is grateful for "the opportunity to empower girls and boys of all ages to love who they are, just the way they are."
She says the themes in the book are very similar to the show, of "loving who you are, having high self-esteem and surrounding yourself with the right people."
Stokes believes that 'Mixed-ish' is relevant for young women because it covers the many struggles they go through daily. She says, "It covers being bullied at school or being talked about by people you think are your friends. It also covers feeling the need to fit in," something Stokes agrees that girls today also go through.
However, Stokes says that things have changed a little bit, "[Biracial kids] are accepted a little bit more because they have people to look up to like Misty Copeland." She also adds that "sometimes things are still the same because [biracial kids] still might get bullied and might have a hard time finding friends because of the way they look."
In addition to working on 'Mixed-ish' and promoting her book, Stokes is also working on some secret projects that she cannot reveal details about yet. In the meantime, she is having a lot of fun with the other cast members of 'Mixed-ish' as they always hang out and says that it is "really amazing to be able to be a part of such a different and unique show."
'Mixed-ish' airs on ABC on Tuesday nights.