Shaka Smith is an actor and host from Miami. A Princeton graduate, upon arriving in Los Angeles he landed several roles as a fitness model and began competing in fitness competitions. He won several awards and as a vegan became a leading fitness model in the industry, sponsored by Garden of Life.As an actor, he booked small roles in Disney’s Pair of Kings, short films and several commercials.
In 2015, Shaka, also an attorney began hosting a legal news show, Justice Is Served on the Black Hollywood Live Channel on the AfterbuzzTV Network. He continued to pursue his love for fitness by also hosting Fit Club, a weekly show aimed at full inclusion of health and fitness amongst minority communities.Shaka also has a passion for worthy causes and supports many charities. He sits on the board for charity, Project Save Our Surf, devoted to cleaning our oceans and providing clean drinking water to communities around the world in need.
I recently interviewed the accomplished actor and fitness buff where he chatted on his vegan lifestyle and currently projects.
Can you tell myself and the reader’s about yourself.
I am from Miami, Florida and after graduating law school decided to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles where I also began to compete in fitness competitions and fell in love with learning more about health and wellness. Currently, I host a weekly show called Fit Club where I discuss current health and fitness issues with a range of guests, including actors, doctors, personal trainers, yogis, etc.
What inspired you to be a professional physique competitor?
Actually a friend of mine suggested I compete in this new division of bodybuilding called men’s physique. I was immediately fearful of doing it, which meant that I had to do it. I don’t know why, but I tend to run towards the things that scare me most – not always a good thing, but this one turned out well.
Was it an easy transition from eating regular food to becoming a vegan?
Hey now, vegan food is regular food! I understand what you mean though and it was actually very easy, because of my approach. I gave up red meat for one year, went pescatarian the following year and then vegan after that. Having those two years to transition and really learn about food and where to shop and what to order when out made it easy when I finally did it.
Do you have more energy now that you’re a vegan?
Yes, way more and I didn’t even realize I was lacking. I didn’t experience this until the year I went vegan, so I think it had a lot to do with giving up dairy.
Was it your plan and idea to move into hosting the fit club after your career?
No, it just made sense. I had been asked to guest host a weekly legal news show on The Black Hollywood Live network – that appearance turned into a permanent spot. After a year, I had noticed no one was addressing issues of health and fitness and I was also coming across so many articles and studies regarding the disparate treatment in healthcare for minorities. So, I wanted to create a platform (and thankfully they let me) where everyone is included and we focused on prevention and education. We are so trained to fix issues after they arise and I enjoy shining a light on ways we can live to avoid the dis-ease of life.
Did you receive or witness any unfair treatment coming up in the business because of your skin color?
Of course, but as with any hardship in life that could have the potential to derail you, you have to make a choice, either give up or pursue your version of success in spite of it. I chose the latter and in doing so, I believe it challenged some traditional misconceptions and I hope, in some small way has helped to improve the situation.
Can we look forward to a return to competition or any acting projects on the horizon?
Absolutely, I am gearing up to compete in January. I recently worked on two short films that are hitting festivals and looking forward to a successful pilot season.
Do you have any advice to offer the next millennial physique or body building professional?
Do it. Forget the voice in your head telling you to “wait until…” – that is the voice that kills our potential. And once you do it, have fun. Never let the pressure of competition or comparison steal your joy. Have fun, abundantly.