Angela Means Kaaya is many things. Actress, comedian, mother of an NFL player, personal chef, and now she’s adding another occupation to that list: food truck operator.

The actress best known as ‘Felisha’ in the ‘Friday’ movies is taking her vegan soul food concept Jackfruit Cafe and putting it on wheels, prepared to serve customers in her original Crenshaw/Jefferson area, Santa Monica, and more.

Kaaya spoke with the Daily Press about her newest vegan venture, why she adopted a vegan lifestyle and more.

First, I have to ask– how does it feel to have a character of yours permanently etched into the cultural lexicon?

(Laughs) It still trips me out because of the way people react to me! Once it registers that it’s actually me, it’s this beautiful moment I’ve given people and I love that. You gotta see it in their eyes, then they shout “IT IS YOU!”

I’m just a normal person, but they react like that character, Felisha from Friday, is a real person. They’re shocked that it’s me. It lasts like 90 seconds, but it’s a beautiful shared moment.

What led you to becoming vegan?

I’ve been straight vegan now for three solid years, but I’ve been on and off vegetarian and vegan my entire life.

When I was a kid, I grew up around farming and I’d see our animals disappear overnight, then I realized why those animals were disappearing. You know these things happen but you don’t see what goes on. You think it’s okay because society says it is and grow numb to it.

But if you don’t see how your food is made, what are you doing? When I first saw a slaughterhouse, I was making pigs feet once a year and eating deep-southern soul food. The experience woke me up instantly.

I questioned as a kid and got complacent, got lost in the world sauce, but that woke me up.

You were an actress, then a stand-up comedian; what led to your foray of becoming a restaurateur?

I was called to this, pulled to it. I always followed my bliss, no matter what.

I couldn’t do anything else if I tried. I’m just a football mom that took it too serious. My son grew up doing sports — he’s in the NFL now — and I was the snack shack mom. Didn’t buy snacks, made all my own.

When I was a stand-up, in order to make money I had to travel. But I couldn’t raise my baby from hotel rooms all over the country. I just kept telling the universe, “I know you got me.”

Now I crave taking care of people. Particularly now that my son is out of the house now. So it’s been a seamless transition from football mom to private chef to restaurateur and I’ve been in this business now for a year.

You became a personal chef and created your own puddings and desserts aside from the vegan food you’re known for– were you self taught?

You know, ‘self-taught’ is an interesting word because you talk to people and learn things … I’m an alchemist, is what I’ll say. I just started listening and transforming raw foods into edible stuff.

I remember when I used to write comedy, things just pop into your head because you exercise that muscle for it. Like you as a writer, your vocab will pop into your head and that’s how this food business is.

I know if I can take these flavors and match them up with my intentions, people will come for it. I just know this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m getting ready to flip some Impossible burgers between Santa Monica and Jefferson. I want to be by the beach, selling healthy food to people.

Your initial Crenshaw location is a vastly different socioeconomic situation than Santa Monica– was that a conscious decision to serve there? And on that note, what brings you to Santa Monica?

Being mobile, I can go anywhere I want and that’s that. Jefferson Park was my start and I’ll always love it there and I’ll finish there. My mission was and always is to help people transition to a meat-free diet and help them. Taking healthier foods to that area has been a blessing– I recently read on our Facebook wall that one of our customers changed their diet after seeing how vegan food could be done, and they lost 40 pounds! It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to do that for someone. I’m privileged to do so in that area and now here in Santa Monica.

With a food truck, I can go there part-time and still do the things I wanna do things.  I wanna go to the ocean, I wanna park by the beach, I want sunshine and the ocean air. I raised my son in the valley and told him my latter days are going to be spent in sunny Santa Monica and that’s what I plan on doing.

I’ll figure a schedule and keep customers informed when I do. Here one day, there the other. We’re definitely gonna serve people both places.

How would you describe the style of the food you serve?

It’s vegan, plain and simple. But it’s a taco truck, vegan burger truck, so much more. It’s southern and all over the place. You can get some beans and rice and jackfruit and it’s fast and casual. Chicken sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, avocado toast. Impossible burger sliders, it’s gonna be dope. I’m geeked.

Will the food truck menu be different from the Crenshaw/Jefferson brick-and-mortar location?

The menu won’t be too different. We won’t have black-eyed peas or collard greens or yams or plantains — at first. We’re going to get a second truck and that one will be huge will be able to handle the prep and cooking of all those items. It’ll handle those big soul food platters people loved.

When should Santa Monicans expect to see the Jackfruit food truck around town?

I pick up the food truck July 15 and I’ll be parked there on Montana the same day! I’m so excited for it! (Laughs) I just broke out into a big smile. I just signed all the contracts and I exhaled. I’m ready for Santa Monica.

Why should people try it out? What sets it apart from other vegan options in the city?

First of all, because my food is soooooo good. Secondly, its a service. I look at it like that. I’m going to help you transition off meat and into a healthier diet. There’s already testimonies on my Facebook wall about that!

Why should people come? Different reasons, based on who you are. A little kid will come because the food is good, mom will come because it is convenient. It’s a place of happiness, fellowship, and great food. Come to Jackfruit. You’re gonna laugh, you might cry, you might cheer, do a cartwheel if you want. Just be you. It’s just a dope place.

I’m so passionate and geeked about what I do, you just gotta come see me in action. Come say, “Hi, Felisha.”

angel@www.smdp.com