Reaching All "Heights:" Actress Erica Hubbard

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 15:29 Written by  Essence McDowell

Erica Hubbard has starred in everything from Hollywood blockbusters like Save the Last Dance and Akeelah and the Bee, to notable sitcoms CSI: Miami and Everybody Hates Chris and Lincoln Heights. Yet even with all her successes as an actress, Hubbard credits her greatest accomplishments to youth empowerment. She has dedicated part of her life to inspiring underprivileged children around the nation.

EHHubbard began acting at age nine in commercials for McDonald’s, Reebok, Sears and Kellogg’s. She went on to attend Columbia College Chicago and despite her earlier commercial successes, she chose broadcast journalism as a major and theatre as her minor.

As a thespian, she re-discovered her true passion. So after developing her talents in Chicago’s historical theatres with her Bachelor of Arts degree, Hubbard carried her love of acting to California to pursue a career.

It didn’t take long for Hubbard to grab hold of her dreams. Her first major debut was a lead role in the film A Cinderella Story. She went on to star in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and various popular television series’. However, it was through her role as Cassie Sutton on the NAACP Image Award–Winning drama, Lincoln Heights, that she finally gained critical acclaim.

Hubbard’s role in Lincoln Heights led her to a more fulfilling opportunity. The series had addressed serious teen issues, and ABC Family network sent Hubbard to speak to pregnant teens in Detroit.

“It was originally about representing Lincoln Heights,” said Hubbard. “But it turned into being a voice of the community.”


After receiving an abundance of feedback from the appreciative young girls, Hubbard took on a more active role in youth encouragement. She began to travel across the United States to spread messages of motivation and inspiration to the youth.

Fueled by the positive effect of her endeavors, Hubbard decided to start The Erica Hubbard Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization that gives scholarships and educational assistance and communicates positive messages through speaking engagements and seminars in schools, churches, charity events and community centers in at-risk neighborhoods.

“To encourage the youth, we need more people to go out in the communities and help. These kids are hurting and they need someone to talk to. They need someone to listen and show that they care,” said Hubbard.

Her experiences helping the youth have led Hubbard to a greater dream: Her goal in 2011 is to open a community center in a south side of Chicago where she was born and raised. She envisions the community center as a place where children can go to engage in creative activities, have computer access, homework help and be provided with healthy foods.

“It’s my goal to give back, and I feel that is most powerful thing you can do with success,” said Hubbard. “It’s all about making a difference. Not just in television and film, but if you can make a difference in someone’s life, that speaks volumes.”

GLOSSY UPDATE: Erica is currently starring in BET's original sitcom Let's Stay Together airing Tuesdays @ 10:30 p.m. EST -- after The Game.


Essence McDowell

Essence McDowell

Essence McDowell is a freelance writer for GlossMagazineOnline and recent graduate of the Masters in Journalism program at DePaul University.

She can be contacted at

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