General Hospital’s Maurice Benard started his video podcast, State Of Mind, as a venue to get real about mental illness and other prominent issues, but he has also found it to be a great tool to get to know more about his fellow Port Charles residents. Such is the case with this week’s special guest Tanisha Harper, a semi-recent addition who portrays Police Commissioner Jordan Ashford, whom, until recently, he hasn’t shared much screen time with.
Maurice Benard And Tanisha Harper: Getting To Know You
Benard, who plays mob boss Sonny Corinthos on the iconic daytime serial, welcomed the model-turned-actress to his YouTube show. “I have a guest today that I am going to get to know a little more. She’s on General Hospital. Actress, big-time model, and writer, she’s like a jack of all trades.”
Harper shared a little bit of her background, being born in Toyko, Japan, all the lovely traditions and contrasts that Japan has to offer. She also noted ways her family is still significantly influenced by the Japanese culture and how their big move to Arizona led to her being “discovered” in a shopping mall by an agent at the tender age of 14.
The host joked that they had a lot in common, her being a model and him being a failed model, giving them both a big laugh, but the conversation quickly turned serious when they discussed the reality of the entertainment business and its effects on people. “If you care too much about what people think, it can really mess you up,” Benard pointed out.
“That is something that has been quite debilitating for me my whole life,” The actress shared. “That the industry [modeling] in particular, and the entertainment industry as well. Everything is based on your looks. As a model, it is based on your looks. Are you tall enough? Skinny enough? Are you proportioned enough? Whatever it is.”
Tanisha Harper: Conquering The Stereotype
Her modeling career started innocently enough, doing shoots for stores like Kmart and Dillards. Still, as she matured and grew taller, the jobs included swimwear and traveling worldwide, and the expectations and judgments increased to an unhealthy level.
“I got here, and they said you are too skinny because, in California, they liked the girls to be a little healthier looking.” She explained, “It was more lifestyle oriented. And I couldn’t help that. It wasn’t as if I was trying to be skinny. I was just a skinny kid.
“So, it’s funny, where you have one spectrum where models are starving themselves and doing anything to be thin. And here I was trying to gain weight, having to hire nutritionists to gain weight just so that I could work in California, to fit that mold of what they wanted.”
For actors, auditions can be even worse. Harper spoke of her experiences. “And then going to auditions. They tell you straight up to your face at these auditions, ‘You’re not tall enough’ or ‘Your boobs are too big’ or ‘They are too small’ or ‘You have acne.’ It was a lot.”
She was always trying to downplay that she was a model because people tended to judge her unfairly because of that. “So I pumped up that, ‘Oh, I was a writer. I edited a magazine.’ I always tried to lead with that because I wanted people to see that there’s so much more to me.”
The pandemic changed that. “Now I need to celebrate that. Own it. And be proud of it. ‘Yes, I am a model. Yes, I am an actress!’ They are all great.”
The down-to-earth actress covered so much more with Benard, such as her stints on reality shows Project Runway and Models of the Runway and how she will never do a reality show again. She also revealed the special meaning of her Japanese middle name.
Tanisha Harper talked about her shared experience with fellow GH co-star Josh Kelly (Cody Bell) on a primetime telenovela-like series titled Desire. You can also find out how her parents’ 50-year union inspires the kind of relationship she would like once she gets her ducks in a row and much more!
General Hospital fans will even glean an upcoming storyline tease from Benard and Harper as they discuss a darker turn for Sonny and Jordan. Watch the full State Of Mind episode here. Follow Tanisha Harper on Instagram. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, or State of Mind.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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