Tiffany Haddish was interviewed as part of Variety’s Power of Women feature, a series of profiles on influential actors, activists, screenwriters, producers and beyond about their work in 2018. Most of the conversations centered on what’s next for #MeToo one year out from the Weinstein allegations and the progress of Hollywood in general, which Haddish touched upon, but it’s her no-nonsense money talk that really stuck out. When asked about how she felt about her Emmy win, Haddish immediately responded, “Can I be honest? Not that much! Because I didn’t get a check with it.”
“When people really want those Oscars so bad and those Emmys and everything so bad, I thought it was because they give you a check. Like they come out with the award and they hand you a check! I’ve been watching sports and NASCAR, horse races, championships, football games, they get a trophy, a ring, and a bonus check. But when you win an Emmy, they give you a gift bag of a bunch of things that you probably not going to really use. I like the trophy a lot, don’t get me wrong, but they could have put a check in there!
Jada [Pinkett Smith] broke it down to me and she said that it’s a big honor because that means your colleagues, the people that work in your same field, voted for you, and they like what you’re doing….[But] I care about being able to take care of my grandma, take care of my mama, my niece, my sister, and brother, and if I ever have children take care of them, create some generational wealth. And I think the only way to do that is to have some money so you can buy some land and things like that, and then buy a studio. Yeah, I need checks! I don’t think anybody’s obligated to give me anything. I only think I deserve what I work for and that’s that.”
She went on to explain that she believes part of the reason there is a gender pay disparity is because women just don’t talk about money openly enough:
“I think the reason why, a lot times, we don’t get paid the same as men do is because we don’t talk about it. I think we do need to talk about it because I sure get in there and I’m like, “Hey, Kate Hudson. How much do they pay you for that? What kind of perks do you get for that?” I didn’t know they could fill your room up with whatever kind of food you want. That’s why I done gained so much weight, because she told me about all the food you can get. I’m like, you can bring me some tacos and I want an In-N-Out burger.
You know what they say? “A close mouth don’t get fed.” And a lot of times we don’t open our mouths because we don’t even really know what we’re supposed to get. So, that’s why I do the research. I ask around. I’ve made friends with line producers that cut those checks, production managers, so I can be like, “So, on average, how much does a girl get paid for? How much does a guy get paid?” OK, I’m gonna ask for the guy fee on this one.”
Advice to live by: ask questions, be transparent, and get the guy fee.