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Meet Taninna Oukacine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Taninna Oukacine.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Today I’m an actor who loves to bring joy and laughter to everyone around me. It all started when I was five years old, living in New York. When I was a child, I’d loved to explore new activities as well as different places/cultures. I think that derived from my family having mixed cultures; my mom being from Italy and my dad being from Algeria. I’m a first-generation American and living in New York allowed me the opportunity to explore a lot of wonderful things.

Doing what you love is a motto my family lives by. My mom always believes that you should try every hobby until you find what you love to do. She put me in soccer, basketball, gymnastics, karate, hula hooping, cooking, baking, guitar, piano and the list on and on. Any hobby I mentioned I was interested in she right away signed me up for it. I never really found my niche until one day I decided to join a theater camp at the YMCA. My mom had done some theater in her college years and was fascinated with my decision to commence it. From the very moment I started, I knew that acting was exactly what I wanted to do as my career for the rest of my life. It brought me joy and happiness to make audience members feel all kind of emotions as well as possibly changing something inside them. Even my mom knew after seeing me up on that stage that I was meant to do this. She saw a certain spark and naturality she had never seen me do with the other hobbies before. Acting has been my passion ever since that very moment in my life. Since then, I decided to obtain more professional types of training, eventually leading up to present day where I am currently living and studying acting at a university in Los Angeles.

I would be nowhere today without the love and support from my parents. My parents have sacrificed so much for me to be able to peruse my dreams and I am eternally grateful. Without them, I would be nothing. They have made me into the strong, independent, loving woman I am today. Because of them, my dreams are a reality and I get to accomplish my goals. I strive to make them proud and I know one day I’ll be able to give them the world as they’ve given me.

Chase your dreams and don’t ever give up on them. Be true to yourself and be kind to others. That’s what I live by today.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We all deal with struggles in our life. Life isn’t meant to be easy. We have to work hard for what we have and what we want.

A major struggle that has been occurring for me is the distance from where I live now to my home from New York. It is a six-hour plane ride from LA to New York and honestly the distance from my family is quite a struggle, especially if there is an emergency back home. Thanksgiving 2018 was a rough moment for me because my grandma had passed away. I was in school and unfortunately I was unable to make it back home for her funeral at such a short notice. It was devastating to be so far away during this time of crisis, this time when my family needed me and I needed them. It was a hard moment but it allows you to rethink about the wonderful people in your life. It shows you not to take people for granted because you don’t know how long you have with them. Because of this, I always try to appreciate every moment and not get stuck in the past. Life is meant to be appreciated.

For me to be an actor, that is a struggle in itself. Not everyone I know is supportive of me pursing this career. I constantly meet people who throw their negative energy on me as soon as they hear I am an artist. I’ve been told by people I thought I admired that I was never good enough and that I should find a career that has a more “stable income”. Time again and again I am being told that I won’t succeed in this business and that this is a stupid career. What makes it worse is that it is sometimes the people that I love that say these things. My parents are very supportive of me but not everyone in my family is. They believe that what I am doing is a waste of time and a waste of my parents’ money. I feel every artist has this struggle with their society around them. People are too afraid to think outside of the box and they are too scared to try anything that could be seen as a potential risk. The more I look around me, the more negativity I see rather than positivity. Its sad to see that but I believe we have to overpower all the negative energy around us and turn it into something beautiful and worth living for. As artists, we can change the world around us and make it into a better place. Forget the negative ideas and thoughts. Flourish them into something greater with your work.

Everyone faces struggles and obstacles in their life. Its how you overcome them that makes the person you are as well as the life you choose for yourself.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite childhood memories was when my family and I have traveled to Europe as well as Algeria. I remember one instance in where we were all just sitting in the airport waiting for our next flight and we just started laughing. We were reminiscing about the good times we’ve had and just sharing stories with each other. I was with my mom and my dad and we were just talking. I really remember this moment because out of the busyness of the airport, it felt as if we were the only ones there. When you spend times with the ones you love time feels limitless and it feels as the world around you stops for a brief moment in that joy.

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Image Credit:
Mia Redwine -MKR Studios

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