When did you first start playing and what made you enter the entertainment industry?
I’m originally from Houston, Texas, and when I was a kid I played in church, so that’s where my love for the theater started. It wasn’t until high school that I decided to move to Los Angeles. And throughout my time at Chapman University, while I was studying acting, I took the train to town, I stayed for the summers, and I just had a feel for LA Going to town was always a priority for me. Of course, it is a difficult career to undertake. So many people come here for this dream, and you go up against so many amazing actors for roles, so I was trying for a long time. I have performed in smaller theater groups for years. At one point my creative partner Dime Davis and I said, “It’s hard and it’s hard to find opportunities, so what can we do to help ourselves?” It was then that we started to create our own projects. She wrote and I produced and acted in it.
This led us to make a short film together called Sugar, which started to shake things up. From there, opportunities arose and I started meeting people and then I booked the character Trina on Unsafe. It was so out of the box of any character I’ve played before, but when I booked more people were like, “Oh, that girl is kinda interesting.” Unlike all of the theatrical work I had done before, this was one of the most important on-screen roles I have had to date. It’s really cool because it’s one of my favorite shows, and Unsafe opened a larger portal for future conversations and opportunities. And finally Justin Simien called and I auditioned for Bad hair.
What’s interesting about you in Unsafe and Dear Whites and now Justin Simien’s latest film Bad hair is that they are all satirical. What role have satire and humor played in your life?
You know, honestly, for me, I like real characters and I like to anchor them. And I think in comedy the stakes are higher, and when you authentically play a character, I feel like that’s where the humor comes in. This idea that it’s real, but in a weird situation. . It played a drama-like role, which is about creating the character and being honest with him. And then once those settings are there, you can have fun and play.
What intrigued you the most about the script for Bad hair?
Well, I understand this character. I know what Anna Bludso went through and I have experienced similar versions of it. You know I have my own hair trauma and I have my own stories of wanting something so badly, chasing a dream and being told the way you are isn’t good enough. You have to adapt and conform even to be considered, even if you have the talent. There are all of these rules that you are supposed to follow, but in the end the only way to win is to break the rules. And so this journey that she goes through in the movie is almost like a diary entry to me. I liked it. I’m not necessarily in that place in my life that I feel like I have to conform so much. Still, I knew I could be honest and honest with her. And I was grateful that Justin wrote a role like this and used the experiences of so many women, and then put it in this world and layer it and wrap it in satire and horror and real commentary. authentic.
You’ve talked about how you see yourself in parts of Anna’s character before, but have you ever felt pressured to compromise on your journey? And do you feel like you’ve finally come to a place where you’re like, “Nothing more?”
Early in my career, a lot of people told me what I had to look like to be an actress, which is so insane because as an actress you take on so many different characters, there’s a metamorphosis that occurs. But all of the advice and feedback I received from people who had worked in the industry for years had to do with changing who I am – chipping away, tucking in or hiding parts of myself for me to do. present in a cookie cutter. And I took that advice because they had been in the industry for a longer time and wanted to be successful, but at one point I looked up and said, “I don’t even feel myself. So I went on a self-journey to find out who I am, and in the process, I decided to be myself as much as possible. I think this is the first step, and don’t get me wrong, I’m still figuring out, I’m still learning, but when I started making a decision for myself I wanted to live for myself as much that I can, that’s where more opportunities presented themselves.
Speaking of your personal grooming journey and hair journey, do you have a moment that you remember when you decided to set things your way (despite your relationship to your hair or your approach to your career)?
I think the first moment was when I decided to cut my hair. I decided that I wanted to have a relationship with him in a way that I had never had. I have never been natural. I have always had chemicals in my hair, weaves or straighteners. I decided I wanted to start over and try something new and see what happened and just cut everything. I think it was a turning point in my life that I didn’t know would start to bleed into other areas of my life. So yes, it’s a hair journey.
The special thing about this movie is that it does a great job of showing how, from a young age, black women learn to idolize Eurocentric beauty standards. How do you think this film and your role defy those standards?
Well the obvious thing is that there are so many beautiful brunette bodies in this movie. The cast represents the entire diaspora and the colors of Blackness – and it is shown and put before your eyes. The film also talks about assimilating and how by assimilating we all lose who we are and how we never end up being what we want to be. And at the end of the day, it celebrates the idea that you choose how you want to be and how you look, and it’s beautiful as long as it’s your choice. It celebrates the dark in a way that makes no apologies for the dark, and it gives a lot of women and men something to be proud of, either individually or culturally.