Essence Atkins

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Essence Atkins
Born Essence Uhura Atkins
(1972-02-07) February 7, 1972 (age 44)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Other names Essence Uhurra Atkins
Occupation Actress, Model
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Jaime Mendez (2009-2016
Children Varro Blair Mendez (born December 25, 2011)

Essence Uhura Atkins (born February 7, 1972) is an American actress and model. She began her career appearing on television sitcoms, before regular role on the short-lived first African American prime time soap opera, Under One Roof (CBS, 1995).

Atkins is best known for her roles on television comedies. From 1997 to 1999, she starred as Tasha Yvette Henderson in The WB sitcom Smart Guy. She later went to star as Dee Dee Thorne in UPN sitcom Half & Half (2002-06) and TBS comedy series Are We There Yet? (2010-13) as Suzanne Kingston-Persons. In film, Atkins has appeared in Deliver Us from Eva (2003), Dance Flick (2009), A Haunted House (2013) and A Haunted House 2 (2014).


Atkins began her career as a teenager guest starring on NBC sitcom The Cosby Show in 1986.[1] The following years she spent playing guest roles on sitcoms include Family Matters, before landing co-leading role opposite James Earl Jones and Vanessa Bell Calloway in the short-lived first African American prime time soap opera Under One Roof in 1995.[2][1] The following year, she co-starred with Keri Russell in the short-lived Fox teen soap opera Malibu Shores. One of her television roles was in the Saved by the Bell spin-off, Saved by the Bell: The College Years in 1993. She appeared in the pilot, but when Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, a regular from the original, opted to return, Atkins's character was written out.

From 1997 to 1999, Atkins starred in the WB sitcom Smart Guy as the older sister Tasha Yvette Henderson. From 2002 to 2006 she starred alongside Rachel True in the UPN sitcom Half & Half playing Dee Dee Thorne, her half-sister. She also had supporting roles in films How High (2001), Deliver Us from Eva (2003) opposite Gabrielle Union, and Dance Flick (2009). From 2010 to 2013, she starred in the TBS sitcom series Are We There Yet? opposite Terry Crews.[3] Atkins later starred alongside Marlon Wayans in the parody films A Haunted House (2013) and A Haunted House 2 (2014). In 2016, she was cast opposite Wayans in his NBC sitcom Marlon.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2009, Atkins married Puerto Rican collegiate football free safety Jaime Mendez. They met Valentine's Day 2008 through the online dating service Her Half and Half co-star Valarie Pettiford performed during the reception.[5]

On August 9, 2011, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child together. Essence gave birth to a son in December 2011. The happy couple announced the news via Twitter. [6]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Nikita's Blues Nikita Short film
2000 Love Song Toni Television film
2001 Nikita Blues Nikita
2001 XCU: Extreme Close Up Tamikah Jones
2001 How High Jamie
2002 Looking Through Lillian Andrea
2003 Deliver Us from Eva Kareenah Dandridge
2007 Love... & Other 4 Letter Words Roxanne
2008 Love for Sale Candace
2009 Dance Flick Charity
2010 Preacher's Kid Peaches
2010 N-Secure Robin Joyner
2011 Bachelor Party, TheThe Bachelor Party Michelle
2012 Dysfunctional Friends Alice
2012 From This Day Forward Patrice
2013 Haunted House, AA Haunted House Kisha Davis
2013 Act Like You Love Me Kelly
2013 'Holiday Road Trip Clara
2013 My Sisters Wedding Tandy
2014 A Haunted House 2 Kisha Davis
2014 Girlfriends' Getaway Lauren
2014 My Other Mother Candy
2015 Sister Code Corrine Wells
2015 Battle Scars Elsie Ramirez
2015 Girlfriends' Getaway 2 Lauren
2016 You Can't Hurry Love Camille
2016 Illicit Nadine


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby Show Paula Young Episode: "Vanessa's Rich"
1989 Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby Show Paula Young Episode: "I'm "In" with the "In" Crowd"
1991 Sunday in Paris Allison Chase TV short
1991 Charlie Hoover Amy Episode: "Out of the Frying Pan"
1992 Family Matters Becky Episode: "Brown Bombshell"
1992 Here and Now Khalila Episodes: "Love Handles", "A.J.'s Big Leap"
1993 Saved by the Bell: The College Years Danielle Marks Episode: "Pilot"
1995 Under One Roof Charlotte "Charlie" Langston Series regular, 6 episodes
1995 Wayans Bros., TheThe Wayans Bros. Nina Episode: "Farmer's Daughter"
1996 Parent 'Hood, TheThe Parent 'Hood Chantel Episode: "One Man and a Baby"
1996 Malibu Shores Julie Tate Series regular, 10 episodes
1996 John Larroquette Show, TheThe John Larroquette Show Jocelyn Episodes: "The Blues Traveller", "Cheeses H. Taste"
1997–1999 Smart Guy Yvette Henderson Series regular, 51 episodes
1998 Promised Land Rachel Episode: "Mirror Image"
1999 Moesha Piper Davis Episodes: "Party's Over (Here)", "Unappreciated Interest"
2000 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Marnie Episodes: "Love in Bloom", "Salem's Daughter"
2002–2006 Half & Half Dee Dee Thorne Series regular, 91 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
2005 Love, Inc. Renee Episode: "Mad About You"
2007 Football Wives TV pilot
2007 Class, TheThe Class Melanie Deacon Episode: "The Class Has to Go to a Stupid Museum"
2007 House Capt. Greta Cooper Episode: "The Right Stuff"
2010–2013 Are We There Yet? Suzanne Kingston-Persons Series regular, 100 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
2011 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Monica 5 episodes
2012-2013 Mr. Box Office Samantha Owens Series regular, 22 episodes
2016 Marlon Angie Series regular


  1. ^ a b "Essence Atkins". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "New Black Series Is Hanging On". The New York Times. 11 April 1995. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  3. ^ LexiB (2009-10-26). "Essence Atkins Returns To Television In TBS Comedy, Are WCategory:People_from_New_York_Citye There Yet". 
  4. ^ Nellie Andreeva. "Essence Atkins Set As Female Lead In Marlon Wayans' NBC Comedy Pilot - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Elaine Aradillas (2009-10-15). "Half and Half's Essence Atkins Says I Do". People Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  6. ^ Elaine Aradillas (2009-10-15). "Half and Half's Essence Atkins Says I Do". People Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 

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