The husband-and-wife creative duo behind the 12-member Tedeschi Trucks Band have been called two of the best roots musicians of…
A Brief But Spectacular take on second acts
Amna Nawaz: Speaking of loving what you do, as a TSA agent, Benni Latham brought lots of joy to her job.
However, after a violent incident at work, she felt the need to pivot. Today, Benni has found success pursuing her dreams through voice acting projects and commercials.
Here, she shares her Brief But Spectacular take on second acts.
Benni Latham, Actress: In 2006, I started working at TSA at LAX Airport. I was the TSA agent that was making up songs and doing funny voices and impressions while I was telling people to take their shoes off and all that jazz, because, at the end of the day, you don't know where these people are going, right?
If I can be the little soft part of their day in such a weird, chaotic place, then I'm happy to do that.
The circumstances that led to me quitting TSA was -- was pretty violent. November 2013, an individual came into the terminal and opened fire at the checkpoint. And it was a wakeup call for me. I recognized in myself that I would rather deal with the failure of trying something and maybe not being completely successful than live regretfully wondering what if.
So, at that moment, I decided I'll take fear over regret, and I made plans to quit. I decided to try my hand at commercial acting. And then I booked my first on-camera professional commercial for Samsung, where I played a, wait for it, TSA agent.
Benni Latham: Why? Because the universe has a great sense of humor.
Benni Latham: When I became a full-time actress, it felt right. I felt like I was at home. I found my tribe. And my inner child is so impressed with me right now. It's not even funny.
Some of the characters I have played include Harriet Tubman. she's very, very solemn, very dignified, and very ethereal almost. I am also the voice of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. In fact, if you call the number right now: Thank you for calling Cedars-Sinai. For information in English, please press one.
Scared you a little, didn't I?
Benni Latham: When it comes to dealing with ethnic things, racial things, I meet people where they are and then I ask questions.
So, if someone says, can you gimme a little more sassy, I'll give them examples, so that together we can come up with a library of terms and images that don't necessarily rely on stereotype; they rely on character choices. Nobody really wants to be shamed when they're trying to create art, but no one wants to lose their humanity either.
People be peopling. And you take it as it comes, because, at the end of the day, I'm already winning because I'm doing what I love. It doesn't matter. Doing things that allow me to connect with that little girl from Compton who grew up to be a bigmouth voice actress.
My name is Benni Latham, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on second acts.
Amna Nawaz: And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.