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GH’s Maurice Benard & Tabyana Ali Talk Building Confidence With Comedy

Find out how the young actress battled depression and gained confidence.

GH's Maurice Benard & Tabyana Ali Talk Building Confidence With Comedy

On the surface, Tabyana Ali oozes poise and confidence far beyond her years, but that hasn’t always been the case. The young actress, children’s book author, and, yes, comedian, sat down with General Hospital castmate Maurice Benard on his video podcast show, State Of Mind, and discussed struggling with racism, anxiety, and depression, and finding her groove and her funny bone with comedy.

Tabyana Ali: Facing Her Fears

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, the youngest of six children, Ali always knew she wanted to perform and has been acting since the age of 8. But knowing what she wanted to do and executing it was another matter, especially when she was struggling with anxiety and depression at home. “Because of certain things with family life, I always struggled with turmoil.” The young actress explained, “There was a divorce. It was painful to watch. It probably would have been better if we had left.”

She described how it affected her. “For myself, it was just an up-and-down thing of depression. On the outside, I think I was visibly fine, but on the inside, it was hard. My mood swings would just fluctuate all the time. One minute I was fine, and the next, I just couldn’t get a grasp on anything.”

It was someone close to her who pushed her to break out of her destructive behavior. “I remember my mom saying, ‘You can’t lay in bed all day. You have to eat. You have to get up. You have to go outside. You have to do something.’” She continued, “I would just lay there and say, ‘I am going to do it eventually. I just need my time to feel what I am feeling.’”

Tabyana Ali: Finding Her Way To Comedy

Sprina fans are so caught up in the Port Charles couple, they can’t possibly imagine the latest Trina Robinson performing stand-up, but she did. And it really helped to build the actress’s confidence. “It was more of a thing of my old manager’s idea,” she shared with Benard (Sonny Corinthos) how the idea came about. 

“I have always been interested in comedy in general. I love making people laugh and smile. I just think that is my strong suit. My manager was like, ‘You remind me of Whoopi Goldberg. I think you should do stand up.’ I did my first stand-up at Flappers Comedy in Burbank. I had about 60 people turn up for me for my first show.

“As any comedian will tell you, it isn’t easy, and you are bound to have a bad night. I had one show, and I completely forgot everything but I went on stage.” She disclosed how it played out. “I was about five minutes in, and then everything goes blank. I just started speaking Russian. There was a lady in the front who was Russian. I was like saying, ‘Thank you guys for letting me mess up. I’m Tabyana Ali.’ And there was one lady all the way in the back who said, ‘Continue speaking Russian!’”

Ali felt defeated and fell apart in the green room. “I’m crying and saying, ‘I’m never doing this again. I can’t.’ That was the main room with 200 people. I was probably 16 at the time. But there is a smaller stage at the Flappers Club [in Burbank, California]. I tried to redeem myself there.”

Showing the same spunk she threads into her GH character, Trina, the actress rallied. “My mom told me that, ‘You fell off this horse. Just try it again. You have another opportunity right here. Just go ahead and do it.’ So I took off my heels, and I took off my earrings, and put my hair up. And I was like, ‘Guys, I just messed up in that main room, but I am here to make it up to you.’ It was the same day.”

Maurice Benard was impressed by her revelations and assured her that the audience would be too. “This channel is 99% love. I can tell you that you are going to get bombarded with love.”

Tabyana Ali spoke about growing up in Texas, family struggles, and battling racism. She spoke more in-depth about her own struggles with anxiety, depression, and mood swings as well as her experience auditioning opposite Sydney Mikayla (ex-Trina) and Raven Bowens (now Chanel Dupree on Days of our Lives) for the role of Trina and finally getting the part three years later. View the full episode here.

Fans can follow Tabyana Ali on Twitter and Instagram. Check out her book on Amazon. State Of Mind is nearing the 80K subscriber mark. Check it out and follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

General Hospital 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 GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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