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From left to right: When Love Kills Cast Tami Roman, Niatia ‘Lil’ Mama’ Kirkland, Lance Gross, and director Tasha Smith. (Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez c/o TV One)

*Prior to carving out a successful career in Hollywood, actress Tasha Smith (“Empire”) was an exotic dancer.

She dropped the scoop during her interview with The Breakfast Club while promoting tonight‘s TV One biopic she directed, “When Love Kills,” a true story about Falicia Blakely, a former stripper currently serving life in prison.

Check out below the details Tasha revealed about this time of her life.

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recalls being a stripper

Tasha Smith On Why Stripping Ain’t For Everybody:

Tasha Smith: “There are some women that can probably handle that lifestyle and not get caught up, like you look at Amber Rose, you look at Black Chyna, they did pretty well for themselves right? But every woman, I feel, can’t go into that world and really handle the mental pressure that they may have in that world. And to me, Felicia Blakely was one of those women. She was young, she was looking for a way to make some money…. Hey, I used to be a stripper, okay, so I understand. I don’t know if y’all knew that…anyway…it was before iPhones, LOL.”

The Breakfast Club: What was your stripper name?

TS: “Brandy. And guess what the song was I went up to? “Push It.” LOL. […] And I’m telling you honestly I wouldn’t have made if I had to strip today….because women are doing tricks. […] We weren’t doing all those acrobatic strippers back in the day. You know, all you had to have was booty and titties and I was making money ’cause I had that.”

On Why She Refused To Strip In Black Clubs:

TS: “I would not dance in Black clubs. I wasn’t dancing for you Negroes…I was not doing it okay? I was like ‘You gotta work too hard in the Black club, in the White club all I gotta do is take my top off, they see these titties, I’m PAID! LOL.

On Why She Became An Exotic Dancer:

TS: “Back in the day I was so broke, I was doing stand up comedy…back in the day you didn’t really make a lot of money doing stand-up. […] Sometimes you might make 15, 20 bucks…it wasn’t a lot of money. Also so for me, I needed to survive. For me, I needed to support my comedy career, my acting career.[…] Most of the comics I know, didn’t even know I was stripping. I would go from the comedy club to the strip club, do a quick 3-4 hour set…go back to the strip club. […] So it was just a way that I was just surviving. But I got out of the club.”

“But I remember as a young girl, vulnerable, needing love, needed acceptance, needing to survive, I know my path could have been different. Like, I ended up here, doing this, directing, living my dream…Falicia Blakely ended up serving life in jail. You follow me? She was so young, she made some wrong decisions.”

Watch Tasha Smith & cast interview on The Breakfast Club:

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Don’t forget to check out Tasha’s directorial debut, “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story,” tonight at 9/8c on TV One. Click HERE for more info.