September 2018 is officially gonna be lit, y’all. Just when we’d finished gushing in anticipation of Beyoncé’s next Vogue cover—shot by the first black cover photographer in the magazine’s 126-year history—fellow Condé Nast publication Glamour is bringing its own bit of #blackgirlmagic to the table, giving its most coveted cover of the year to Tiffany Haddish.
Styled by celebrity favorite Law Roach in Valentino, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Giuseppe Zannoti and ASOS, Haddish livens up the streets of New York City in a series of photos by Billy Kidd—with makeup and hair by by black celebrity artists Dionne Wynn and Oscar James, respectively.
And back-to-school season becomes even more colorful with our favorite funny girl, who next plays a teacher opposite Kevin Hart in Night School and tells interviewer Niela Orr if she wasn’t a comedic star, she’d likely have been a sex-ed teacher, joking, “I guarantee none of my kids would have STDs after I finish teaching them.”
And while Haddish isn’t known for an especially sexed-up image, she admits that her bawdy sense of humor was developed as a defense mechanism after a history of sexual abuse and an assault at 17.
“I notice that men are afraid of women that are aggressive,” she tells Glamour. “So to protect myself I become semi-aggressive. You hear about, ‘Tiffany always hitting on somebody,’ but that’s to keep them from hitting on me.”
Thankfully, Haddish’s painful history—which also includes physical abuse and foster care after her mother suffered a mind-altering car accident—has only informed the realness she brings to her comedy. And she’s very aware of the power of her unapologetic portrayals, representation-wise.
I just think that a person is ignorant when they say, “Oh, you’re being a stereotypical black person.” Well, what’s that? Explain that to me, because that’s an actual person, and everybody deserves to see themselves onscreen. I feel like all facets deserve to be seen—from the doctors to the janitors to the baby mamas to the side chicks. ...
It’s funny because people are like, “Oh, Tiffany Haddish is ratchet.’ No, I’m your typical chick from the hood. And as ratchet as I might talk, or people think I carry myself, I am making a living portraying myself.
It’s become a little more than “a living”; since Haddish stole both scenes and our hearts in last year’s Girls Trip, the 38-year-old actress has skyrocketed to the top of Hollywood’s “it” list. Aside from the unfathomable honor of cooking greens with Oprah, she has also been nominated for an Emmy, presented at the Oscars, and in June, became the first black woman to ever host the MTV Movie and TV Awards, reportedly boosting the annual televised event’s ratings 21 percent.
And yet, for Haddish, the secret lies in her eternal optimism. “My opportunities are whatever I create,” she tells Glamour. “My thoughts from two years ago is what’s happening right now. I really think my thoughts are my magic wand.”
Right now, Haddish’s thoughts are on making money moves, citing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as inspiration. “If he can make $65 million, I can make $65 million too,” she says. And when it comes to how she’s using her money, she tells Glamour it’s family first:
I got my mom out of the mental institution, like I said I would, in December. ... [and] I ain’t never said this out loud, but I want to be able to give every one of my siblings a million dollars to create whatever they want to do. That’s four million dollars that I don’t need.
According to Haddish, if you can dream it, you can do it. And who are we to argue? “Believing in myself is what got me to where I’m at,” she says. “And when you do that, it comes right back.”