We all know actress/comedian Angela Means, who’s best known to us for asking Smokey (Friday) to “borrow his car right quick.” However, after scratching the surface, there’s much more to the cult-classic star than we could ever fathom.
Raised in the country on a farm, Angela went from handling hog slop to hanging on a porch in South Central Los Angeles with Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in Friday. After strolling runways for the likes of Bob Mackie and Bill Blass as a fashion model, in the early 90’s she portrayed the character Felicia in the feature film Friday and gained international notoriety.
Soon after, Angela left the entertainment business to become a stay-at-home mother. Following her son leaving home for college, Angela went into a deep depression, began eating unhealthy, and ultimately put on a lot of pounds. To climb herself out of her hole, she began focusing on eating clean. Nowadays, she lives the vegan lifestyle, and evens owns/operates a popular Smart Kitchen (Jackfruit Cafe)!
Recently, Angela took time out of her hectic schedule to sit down with us to discuss entrepreneurship, mental health, pop culture, and all sorts of high-vibrational stuff.
Check out our Angela Means interview below!
Parlé Magazine: Thanks for joining us Angie! We’re honored.
Angela Means: Thank you, guys. The pleasure’s mine.
Parlé Magazine: Let’s just get this out the way, first – how many times in a week do you hear (via online or in-person), “Bye, Felicia…” from fans & are you over it?
Angela Means: I lose count! It’s still so ingrained, but not only in pop-culture, in everyday life as well. As you probably already know, I have a love-hate relationship with the phenomena of “Bye Felicia” – on one hand, she’s very interesting and funny, though on the other hand, people also use that phrase to dismiss folks and hurt their feelings. It’s a catch 22.
Parlé Magazine: We’ll get back to Friday in a minute. We see you’re a vegan chef now! Tell us about your Jackfruit Cafe & how you got started in the health & wellness business.
Angela Means: I was a series regular on Nickelodeon‘s show, Skeeter, where I played the mom. When the show ended, I became a stay-at-home mother. My son, and only child, is my whole world and I couldn’t leave him with some random nanny. His father & I co-parented, nonetheless, and my son went on to become a state-title winning, 2-time All-American QB in high school (with a 4.0 GPA, might I add!). When he elected to go to school on the other side of the country (University of Miami), he mended mommy’s heart by earning ACC rookie of the year.
While all these wonderful things were happening for him, alternatively, I went into a funk & began suffering from an extremely deep depression. I had never had an issue with food, but all of a sudden, I became obsessed with it. At the time, I was still eating meat, and I consumed so much unhealthy food on a daily basis that I ended up weighing 227 pounds. In turn, the depression & weight gain attracted illnesses. With so much on my sons plate, I didn’t want to burden him with the “sick mom” thing while he was pursuing his dreams. With much insight and intuition, I started juicing, went vegan cold-turkey, and the weight just melted off! The depression lifted, and I was able to look back on what I had accomplished in less than 8 weeks.
It was so profound, that I felt it somewhat of a duty to publicly share how I healed myself. It was right around the time all of the documentaries were coming out, and there was one in particular called “What The Health”. I felt like African-Americans, especially, needed my help to understand what this vegan thing was all about. So I was down in South Central one day, and I stumbled upon an empty kitchen inside of a donut shop…and several months later, I opened Jackfruit Cafe there. As I suspected, black folks from all over the city showed up in waves; there were lines coming out of every door! Eventually, the donut shop owner kicked me out because we took over the space, so I purchased a food truck and parked it in front of the donut shop. Ha! Before long, I ventured into the ghost kitchen industry, where I have been serving for the past 3 years. I’ve received so many accolades, but my proudest moment was being named “Best of LA” by vegan authority VegNews. Presently, we are developing a line of spices (Jackfruit Cafe Spices), thereby, our fans can cook our exact dishes at home. I’ve also garnered the attention of manufacturers who can get my foods in the freezer section of grocery stores. I’m not at liberty to discuss it too much right now, but I’m working with one of the baddest females in the business – she’s almost as iconic as Felicia! Lol.
Parlé Magazine: Wow, how inspirational! Curious, what are your favorite dishes to make & grub on?
Angela Means: What is my favorite dish? Hmm, I’m going to answer that question with a question. Have you ever seen the film Sophie’s Choice? It was one of Meryl Streep’s finest performances. Read the cliff notes and you’ll understand why I don’t have a favorite, per say. I love every single one of my dishes – from the Soul Bowl with Black Eyed Peas & Collard greens to my Birria Tacos!
Parlé Magazine: Yum! Being vegan, Angela you’re evidently into treating yourself well physically. With the state of the world right now, tell us what you do also to treat yourself well mentally & spiritually.
Angela Means: Like Kanye, I too am bipolar, and like many other artists and comedians I have suffered through unhealed trauma. With that said, my care-of-self has to be very intentional. I must pay attention to what’s happening with me in order to assist our community. Dame Dash explains it so well when he openly discussed Kanye‘s condition. If I take on too much, or/and eat unhealthy, that’s when the mood swings occur. If you recall, before Ye stated he was going “Defcon 3 on the Jews,” he confessed he was tired. I listen to a woman name Dolores Cannon, therefore I know why I am here…why all of us are here. We are on an assignment to live out our lives so when we go back to the source, we can download all of the information that source wants to know. That’s why it’s extremely important not to judge anyone, because everyone is here on a particular assignment. But most importantly, I live by the simple yet potent phrase, “May the flowers remind you why the rain was necessary.”
Parlé Magazine: Being an actor, a model, a comedian, an entrepreneur, a mother, etc., you’re obviously multifaceted and a super talent. What’s another thing that most folks wouldn’t suspect you’re into?
Angela Means: This sounds so corny, but when I get back to the source I can say, “I have no more talents left because I used them all!” Lol, I actually have a book though that’s soon to be published. It’s entitled “The Seven Sinners And The Angel Who Loved Them”. It’s a fantasy fiction, with lots of gore that takes place in the music industry. It’s really good.
Parlé Magazine: Now, back to Friday. Have you caught wind (from Ice Cube or anyone else associated with the series) about the final Friday being filmed/released? Can you share some exclusive, never-heard-before news regarding this matter?
Angela Means: No, I have no news to share…you know just as much as I do 🤷🏾♀️
Parlé Magazine: You touched on Kanye West earlier. Quick — Kyrie Irving, Dave Chapelle, “cancel culture” — what are your thoughts on all of this stuff?
Angela Means: After Dave Chapelle‘s brilliant monologue on SNL, I have nothing more to add on the subject. Dave said it all.
Parlé Magazine: Totally agree! Lastly, what advice would you give to an upcoming, African-American woman that’s presently attempting to break into the entertainment industry (film, music, etc.)?
Angela Means: Don’t come to Hollywood if you don’t know yourself. Better yet, don’t come to Hollywood if you don’t love yourself! Be prepared always – and always, always, always be on time for appointments.
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