Essence Atkins is a popular American television actress. She has had a lucrative television career since the late 80s and has appeared in several popular shows in recurring roles. Some of her shows include Smart Guy, Are We There Yet, and Half and Half. Apart from television, she has also worked in a few movies and is a model as well. She also produced a short movie titled Darryl in 2014.

Early Life and Beginning of Career

Essence Atkins was born as Essence Uhura Atkins on February 7, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York. Her first television appearance was as Paula Young in The Cosby Show, where she appeared for two episodes. She appeared in bit roles in other television shows after that and even appeared in the pilot episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years but did not make the cut to the full show. Her first recurring role was for six episodes of Under One Roof in 1995 where she played Charlotte “Charlie” Langston. This recognition got her a stint of ten episodes with Malibu Shores in 1996 and finally her breakthrough came through Smart Guy.


Smart Guy ran for two years from 1997 to 1999 and Essence Atkins appeared in it as Tasha Yvette Henderson for 51 episodes. This role made her a household name and attracted several more professional offers her way. She also acted for a while in the hit TV show Sabrina: The Teenage Witch and appeared in movies such as Nikita Blues and Deliver Us from Eva.

Another huge recurring TV role came her way in 2002 in the form of Half & Half. As Dee Dee Thorne, she played the lead role in this show and appeared in 91 episodes until 2006. With this, Atkins’ popularity as a television diva was firmly established.

Other television shows in which she has frequently appeared include Are We There Yet? and Mr. Box Office. Her television career still goes strong with several offers lining up her way.

Personal Life

Essence Atkins married Jaime Mendez, a Puerto Rican footballer in 2009. Her wedding was much talked about as the couple met on an online dating site and met for the first time on Valentine’s Day. They have a son who was born on Christmas Day in 2011 and is named Varro Blair Mendez. The news of the son was announced by the proud parents on Twitter and found instant reception on other platforms such as Instagram.

On the Internet, Essence Atkins is frequently confused with the popular diet in her name. However, she is not related with the Atkins Diet.

Awards and Recognition

Essence Atkins has been nominated several times for her television roles. She has been nominated twice for her performances in Are We There Yet? and Half and Half for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. However, though due recognition has come her way through her several memorable performances, she has yet to win any of the major awards.

As of 2015, her net worth was estimated by online sources to be in the vicinity of $5 million.

Last Modified: Apr 7, 2020

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