Tijuana Ricks ©2019

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About Me

With Brian Hastert on the set of The Vampire Leland

photo by Noura Jost

Louisiana to Brooklyn

I grew up in a town of 3600 people in Southeast Louisiana, surrounded by sugarcane fields and swampland. I've come a long way since leaving my small town...

I left Louisiana to get my undergraduate degree in Performing Arts and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to receive my MFA in Acting from the Yale School of Drama. After graduation, I moved to New York and began an incredible career as an actor, performing in more than 90 episodes of television, multiple films, and stage productions. I've had the honor of sharing the screen with industry greats such as Viola Davis, Dustin Hoffman, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. You can currently catch me on Billions on Showtime as Tonelle "T" Burton sharing the screen with Paul Giamatti or as reporter Thembi Wallace on Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones streaming on Netflix.

 

After a long, dry pilot season in 2015, I dove head-first into self-producing with a short comedy I produced and starred in called Human Resources: Sick Days Aren't a Game. HR premiered at the LA Comedy Fest and went on to be an official selection for SoHo International Film Festival, St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, HollyShorts Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, and the Atlanta Film Festival where I was named, "A Filmmaker to Watch." 

In 2016, I decided to explore directing with a comedy pilot I also co-created and produced, The Vampire Leland - an official selection of the New York Television Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, SoHo International Film Festival, and SeriesFest. IndieWire singled The Vampire Leland as one of "8 great pilots that deserve a network home" that has "professional gloss, plenty of fun plot threads to explore, and a wry tone that had us hooked."

 

Growing up, I was a cheerleader, the president of the library club, a pageant queen, in the math honors society and the only black girl on the state championship tennis team. I’m a risk-taker and have moved in some crazy, different circles in the many lives I’ve lived. I believe everyone has a story and I want to hear them. I’m a thoughtful problem solver, creative, sometimes silly and always ready. Empathy is my superpower. I love building worlds on film and am working to be an example of success for the next generation of weird black girls from tiny towns.