Tasha Smith: “I Was Sick Of Myself”

(Photo credit: @tasha4realsmith)

The daughter of a single mother who gave birth at 15 to her and her twin sister Sidra, actress and director Tasha Smith grew up around gangs, drugs and poverty in Camden, N.J., a city that one time was named the murder capital of the nation. “I’ve been to the worst place I could ever be,” she says to PEOPLE, “but I always had a dream—I knew I was going to go to Hollywood and be legit.” She’s telling her story now, she explains, to help encourage others. “Your dream,” she says, “is the best thing you’ve got.”