For years, there were very few young actresses who were working as consistently and successfully as Kyla Pratt. She made countless appearances on popular shows like Family Matters, Moesha and The Parent ‘Hood, and is known for her roles in films like Love & Basketball, the Dr. Doolittle movies. But Kyla is best known for voicing Penny Proud on The Proud Family and playing Breanna Barnes on One on One.
While those roles have been great, now that she is a full-blown adult with two kids and everything (Lyric, 8, Liyah, 6) she doesn’t want to be defined as the actress only doing light-hearted, kid-friendly work.
While visiting the DL Hughley Show this week, she opened up about it. DL spoke about how when people see you having success in one lane, it limits the kinds of things that they can see you doing in the future. For example, certain opportunities might not be sent her way because some people, including her family actually, only want to see her as the family-friendly actress. She says it’s been “really hard” to deal with at times.
“I’ve told my family for years, look, I’ve done a lot of kids stuff. I’ve done a lot of stuff my kids can watch. I don’t want to think about, if I decide to do something else, y’all looking at me crazy,” she said. “So just know, I have enough footage for my babies to see and if I want to do something else, they can see it when they get grown, and know mommy was a grown a– woman.”
“I also don’t want to limit myself,” she added. “I don’t want to limit myself to anything. I want to try everything. I want to try different things.”
However, the now 33-year-old actress admits she hasn’t been able to track down certain roles that could be edgier or quite different because she’s very busy with her family. Also, after having her youngest daughter in 2013, she was focused on trying to get her mental health back on track.
“With everything that’s going on with my life right now and raising kids and running all over the place, I really just be like, ‘Okay, what’s coming to me? Oh no wait, I don’t want to do that.’ And I think for the first time because I let people know, I went through postpartum with my youngest, my brain is finally working again,” she said. “I love writing. I love creating and learning about the other side of the industry.”
When she found out she was pregnant with her second child, she was on Let’s Stay Together. It was around that time, even before the baby was born, that she said she realized she needed to take a step back to work on herself, as opposed to work.
“For some reason this energy just came over me,” she said. “I’m a super positive person, I find the best in everything because I’m like, I don’t have time to be sitting around feeling no type of way, and I constantly felt myself fighting this negative energy for a while. I didn’t realize anything was wrong with me.”
When she had her daughter three months early and she had to leave her at the hospital, the distress of all that, compounded by the negative energy she was feeling, became a bit too much.
“I went through separation anxiety, I went though all these different things, and it kind of frustrated me,” she said. “I love writing and I love creating and thinking about all these different roles that I’d love to do, and for years I couldn’t really focus and I didn’t understand why.”
She realized, without an official diagnosis, that she was dealing with depression. Despite not seeing a doctor about it, she was able to turn things around for herself for the better.
“I was like, something’s going on with me, I need to do something, I need to start working out, I need to change how I’m eating, I need to do something,” she said.
“I’m one of those people, I’m just always trying to get better. Everyday at anything, I’m like, what can I work on? What can I do? And to have this energy I was just like, what is wrong with me? Something is wrong and I’m being everything for everybody and I need to figure out what I need to do for me.”
And now she’s feeling fine and ready to take on all the roles, including the grown a– woman ones. We look forward to seeing what comes next for her.
In the meantime though, take a walk down memory lane with Kyla by hitting the flip to see how she’s grown before our eyes over the years: