Born in the Bronx, New York, Trina McGee is the eldest child to her classical pianist mother and her Haitian photographer/revolutionist father. Although her father was absent from the family unit, his political legacy continued to shape Trina’s life. Exiled from Haiti in the 1960s for publishing pamphlets denouncing Papa Doc, he spent Trina’s youth fleeing the Haitian authorities, who would find out his whereabouts periodically and force him to run for his life. Meanwhile, Trina learned to play piano, write songs and showed an interest in acting, creative writing and political issues. As a child, she attended the prestigious and politically-acclaimed Manhattan Country School, founded in 1968, as a result of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Children of all races and financial backgrounds were able to learn and compete on an equal playing field. This base of this education has been the crux of her crossover appeal in the present day. After attending Howard University for two years with political science as her major, she decided that wasn’t her path and returned home to New York to pursue music. She was convinced she could make it when a song she wrote was passed on to some local Minneapolis, Prince-affiliated producers. The song became #1 on a local Minneapolis station and gave her the inspiration to go for a music career. Shortly after, she was approached by a movie producer in New York who thought, based on Trina’s unique physical appearance, she could procure work as an actress. The producer let Trina use his name to get an agent, and soon after she found herself in the original production of “Chelsea Walls”, acting with Marisa Tomei and Gina Gershon, directed by Jane Alexander and Edwin Sherin. After that run, she did three Hip Hop musicals, of which she was the lead rapper and vocalist. This background came in handy when, shortly after the musicals, there was an open casting opportunity from Quincy Jones, who was searching for girls who could act, dance and sing. His vision was a television show based on ‘The Monkees’ sixties phenomenon, but with a girl group in place. After seeing eight hundred girls around the country, and a rough auditioning process, which turned away a young ‘Lauren Hill’ and Regina King, Trina lasted to become one of the final four. Although Quincy’s vision never met fruition, the assistance she received from Quincy in starting a life in California has been crucial to her development as an artist.
During the next phase of her life, she got married, did numerous sitcoms and dramatic television guest spots, an action movie with Sylvester Stallone and the The Fast and the Furious (2001) director Rob Cohen, worked with Mike Nichols in The Birdcage (1996), and somehow managed to have three children, in-between. The last child was born while filming the sitcom, Boy Meets World (1993), where Trina spent three years on the seven-year ABC, TGIF staple. Although she was now a mother of three, she portrayed a teenager, simultaneously, on television. This was also one of the first interracial relationships portrayed by teenagers on television and was the result of a LA Times article which subsequently published an editorial reply written by Trina, herself, on the importance of racial tolerance.
Always a survivor, when Trina became a single mom at the end of her “Boy Meets World” run, she focused on the repairing of her family unit, which meant at that time being an at-home mom, taking on a slew of commercial work. She shook her bottom in a hot commercial with Kid Rock, was smoothed out sophisticated with a car ad alongside Halle Berry’s ex, soul singer Eric Benét (directed by Rob Cohen of the Fast and Furious), and currently has the AT&T logo slapped on her backside as her good friend, D.L. Hughley, lustfully looks on. She also starred in the last Ice Cube Friday franchise, Friday After Next (2002), and several more guest television spots. She is a consistent entity in the entertainment field and is recognized daily wherever she goes, especially by kids 5-17, who grew up on her work. She is also finding herself as a writer and currently has several television sitcoms in development. Not only has she penned these works herself, she has procured commitment from the array of star power she’s come in contact with over the years. It seems next level of stardom is Trina’s destiny.
Trina now lives in the San Fernando Valley with her three kids. She also likes painting and putting on plays, with her talented children, in her spare time.
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