You have played lot of roles in different shorts, TV shows, and movies to get to this point. How were you able to navigate yourself through all of these opportunities?
It’s interesting because when you begin your career you just want to work [laughs]. As long as its not something that is too crazy. Then as you start to build your career you start to want to get more specific about the type of roles that you want to pick. Some people love all sorts of roles and the journey, and going into each character. I think a lot of us want to start to craft a past and take roles that are good for us for whatever reasons. It’s great to start to be in that zone. For a while, for the most part, if it’s interesting then I will be excited about it. Now I’m getting to the part of, “Alright. Let’s see what it is. Let’s see how it will add to the work I’ve done already, and to me as an artist.” You just take everything in one-by-one. You weigh a lot of things. You weigh the subject matter, and the writing, and the money [laughs]. Then the opportunities, and who you work with. Sometimes a great story and great people outweigh a low budget. I think you just take each one individually. A friend of mine had done a short called, Raptors, and its expanded to a feature length. At the time she was like, “You want to work on this project?” And I said sure. That was before I knew Martin Lawrence was on it and executive producing it, so sometimes when you just do this from an artistic point of view things really start to work out well.
Would you say your focus on choosing what to do is more of what speaks to you?
In a perfect world that would be the best thing. Whenever you are like, “I love this!” and then they love you, then you get to work on a project that you just love. The practical matters are involved too because you have to be paid [laughs]. I do commercials, and they are not exactly artistic, but they offer support in everything else that you’re doing. The Media character was so much fun because it was so much out of the realm of what I normally do. I got to really explore emotional extremes. I always love characters that go through emotional extremes, whether its Denzel Washington saying, “King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!” [laughs], or Angela Basset burning a car. So, that was a lot of fun to stretch in that way. That was a new side of me that I don’t think I’ve shown before. Stuff like that can have a lot to do with what I take.
Each character is different but they all seem to jump off the screen. How do you prepare for each role, or is it a different process for each?
I think it is probably the same process. I really try to find what motivates them. I try to find the humanity in them. What they’ve gone through. What brought them to this place. Why they are passionate about the things they’re passionate about. In Let’s Talk,where I play a teacher with the man issues, her sense of fairness love for herself, love for him, and wanting both of them to go on this journey together, that has to come from a real place. Or Giselle in Media, and the brokenness that has to exist to go to such extreme lengths to be heard. I just really think about those things and try to internalize them, really understand, and feel where they’re coming from so that everything is authentic. They’re real people with real histories. What you see isn’t just on screen. This was a person with a life before, and will go on to do things after. What you see on screen is a snapshot of their lives, but it’s a full person. So I think that is really important; knowing their motivation and kind of feeling where they are coming from in a real way. I try to keep the character grounded and real, and somebody that you really want to watch.
What is your favorite type of character to play, or who was your favorite character that you have played so far?
I like comedy, but right now, and maybe because it is so fresh, Giselle would be my favorite character just because she really got to go off, which is always fun. I kind of like that in comedy too because you can go extreme and I think that’s what actors love to do, and to evoke, and tell these very interesting stories. Serious TV, when you see the cop, they’re great for a lot of reasons, but they don’t really give you that opportunity to expand, play, and explore. Giselle was the one that I can really sink my teeth into and have a really good time with.