One part of Trinitee Stokes’ daily self-care routine includes writing her “I am” statements.
“For example, I am great at math,” she says with a laugh. “I do my I ams, from the most complex thing to the least complex thing, because those are things that I actually want for my life. Day after day, month after month they start to happen.”
The 13-year-old is manifesting what she wants for herself. A strong sense of purpose is perhaps how the actress and author has accomplished so much at such a young age.
Starting her acting career at age eight on Disney’s K.C. Undercover, she now has a recurring role as Tamika on ABC’s Mixed-ish and has published a book Bold and Blessed: How to Stay True to Yourself and Stand Out from the Crowd – complete with a forward from the formidable Angela Bassett. A lover of all things fashion, shoes and bright colours, Stokes also has a fashion line in the works, set to release later this year.
It’s a lot. But what’s clear after speaking with Trinitee Stokes is it’s only the very beginning.
You released your book Bold and Blessed. What can you tell me about that book?
So Bold and Blessed is a book that really encourages young girls and young boys of all ages, to be themselves and to love themselves unapologetically and not to conform to fit in with the crowd. In that there’s also some super fun things. I have some pictures in there, I have cooking lessons, I have hairstyles, trivia, Q&A.
You started out on Disney’s K.C. Undercover at eight years old. Tell me about your journey, being a young girl who has this acting job, but you also have other interests in things as well.
When I was eight years old shooting K.C. Undercover I had so much fun. I actually was the youngest person on the show so that was pretty cool as well. At first it was a little difficult to kind of channel all of my different interests, but now we kind of got it down to a tee.
I love to act; I love to make people laugh and inspire people and be able to just make people go somewhere happy.
You’re only 13 years old. What is it like being an author and actress, and having all these different things under your belt at such a young age?
I’m a new teenager. It is pretty cool to have all those amazing things under my belt because it’s all things that I love to do. I love to act; I love to make people laugh and inspire people and be able to just make people go somewhere happy. I love to sing, I love to write, it’s something that I’ve always loved to do. Everything that I do is something that I’m extremely passionate about.
Let’s talk about Mixed-ish and the new role you have now. In the first episode where it’s Bow (Rainbow) at lunch and you’re a little bit of a mean girl to her. How does your character differ from you as a person?
That’s extremely polar opposite of myself. I’m extremely kind and I’m caring. But you know, me and my character really both want to make sure we do our very best to make everyone welcome, even though I do it in a calm sweet way and my character does it in a rough, harsher way, what she really wants to do is make Bow feel welcome.
And I see even in the episode where it’s for picture day and Bow gets her hair straightened and your character, Tamika, kind of goes to her and is like, ‘are you sure you want to do that? Like, you don’t want to ruin your hair.’ And she kind of doesn’t understand. But you do have that transition of being nicer. Warming up to her. So, with Mixed-ish, how is it playing that role? And also, kind of having those same coming-of-age experiences on screen versus your real life?
It’s awesome. It’s really cool being able to play a character that is the polar opposite from me; it’s honestly a little fun. I really like the topics that are talked about during the episodes of Mixed-ish. I love how we talk about how people feel the need to conform with how they wear their hair or, how people feel the need to try to fit in with groups at lunch. So, I think it’s really important. My character Tamika, she’s really trying to help Rainbow as best as she knows how.
I really like the topics that are talked about during Mixed-ish. I love how we talk about how people feel the need to conform.
Your book has a forward from Angela Bassett, who was recently honoured at Black Girls Rock. During her speech she kind of touched on a message that aligns with your book’s message about walking into your purpose. What was the experience like getting that forward from her?
It was really, really amazing to have a forward from Angela Bassett because she’s an actress that I look up to in so many different ways. I look up to her because she plays some outstanding characters and I also look up to her because she knew her purpose and she stuck with her purpose and she encourages women and men to just love themselves and be who they are. She’s amazing.
In her forward, she touched on you being a shining light and you really putting yourself out there to encourage others. We’re in the age of social media where it’s easy to have yourself influenced by others and really have your light diminished by other people. As a new teenager, what are some of the ways you’re working through that?
I myself have to, you know, turn off my Instagram and my Snapchat and my Twitter notifications, because you do start to go to Instagram and see how many likes you have or see how many comments you have or what people are saying about you. But I quickly realized that what people are saying about me is not important. What matters is what I say about me, what God says about me. Those are the comments that really matter and not what other people are saying about you.
I quickly realized that what people are saying about me is not important. What matters is what I say about me, what God says about me.
You talk in the book about your faith. How has your sense of faith really helped to grow your career and your belief in yourself?
Well, my faith honestly has got me to where I am today. I go to God for everything and God was the one that gave me the courage to act. I mean, God is everything to me and my faith in him is of utmost importance because without him I wouldn’t be nothing.
What are some things that you want people to know about you Trinitee, the young woman who’s growing up?
What I want people to know is that when you run into me out at the grocery store, that is the exact same way that I am at home. I’m the same vivacious little girl that you guys see on social media.
Your kind of ahead of your years and I’m sure you’ve heard that before. I just want to know a little bit more about where that really comes from.
It’s a gift from God. I do not know how but being this confident takes a little bit of time. Because there’s always people who are always trying to tear you down or make you feel bad about yourself, so it did take a little time.