tika sumpter,

*Tika Sumpter paved her way in Hollywood after years of supporting roles in soap operas, movies and TV series.

Now she stars as bad girl Candace Young on “The Haves and Have Nots,” but getting to where she is today, she played nice.

Sumpter dishes to Essence for the magazine’s August issue about being a hard-working Hollywood actress while rocking the hottest denim fashions for fall.

The journey of Sumpter getting where she is today took much hard work (along with her nice personality)

“I used to work at a movie theater and sold hams at Honey Baked Ham during the holidays. I sold a ton of hams, and they offered me a regular job there, which I turned down,” she said.

She continued with, “I feel like anything you do, just do it 100% because then that work ethic will bleed through when it’s time to work on your dreams. I was working in customer service and had a verbally abusive boss. One day I decided to quit and pursue my acting passion with everything I had. One week after quitting I booked ‘One Life to Live.'”

Sumpter is definitely one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood, but loving her job is how she handles the hectic schedule best.

“It’s hectic. It’s fun, but it’s mostly just work, work, and work. Everybody’s like, “Oh, do you joke around on set?” I mean, sometimes, but our schedule is so strenuous on that show, so we work really hard and have to just move, but it’s great,” she said.

She added, “I watch Tyler [Perry]. I watch Oprah [Winfrey]. All the people on her team are dream builders, and they believe in other people’s dreams. I feel like this is a home where I feel safe to expand my dreams because these are people who are accessible. They scraped their way to the top. They worked really hard, and they support other people in their camps who want to go beyond just what is right now.”

But when she does get time off, maybe she’ll get to venture into playing a historically significant, real-life black woman.

“There’s so many amazing black women with stories to tell. It can go anywhere from a musician like Whitney Houston to Sojourner Truth. That would be a really good movie…just called ‘Truth.'”

For more on Sumpter’s key to success, check out Essence‘s August issue.