What's Next: She'll soon appear in Lifetime's anticipated remake of the 1989 weeper "Steel Magnolias," alongside an all-African-American cast that includes Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott and "Pariah" breakout Adepero Oduye. Rashad is playing bride-to-be Shelby, the role made famous by Julia Roberts in the original.
Yeah, I know! I said that to Alexis [Lloyd, the writer/director] last night. He always wanted it to premiere in the dead of winter so people would see it and long for the heat wave. But I think it's cool that it's opening now, because it feels like it's happening as you're watching it. It's so hot outside!
So you shot this in the summer of 2009. How hot was it on set, given that this was all shot on location?
The one scene between me and Justin Kirk, there was no adding the sweat. It was there. Folks had to dry us off because we were dripping so much. We were in a loft in Brooklyn, and there was no air circulation in there. The fans had to be turned off because of the sound. But luckily the scene took place in our underwear [laughs].
Are you from New York originally?
I am! I grew up in Westchester, in the suburbs.
So this marked your first onscreen role after graduating from the California Institute of the Arts in 2008. What was the learning curive like for you on this set?
It was a huge learning process. I didn't know what 'make your mark' meant! I was not accustomed to that world. In theater, if you don't get into your light, your voice still carries so there's still something happening.
It wasn't just my mother's influence. You're born with a certain love of something. Music was my first love, and that's the world I work from. Growing up I was surrounded by artists, so my upbringing supported this lifestyle.
Was your mother wary of you pursuing this path?
She wasn't wary. I didn't want to do it when I was a little kid. I think she felt a little more at ease; she wanted to make sure I had a normal lifestyle growing up.
Did she take you on set?
Yeah, I was on set all the time. When I was born, I think it was the third year of "The Cosby Show." She brought her baby to the set so she could do her job with me around.
How do you deal with the pressure associated with following in the footsteps of your mother?
I didn't have to. That kind of energy is going to be there, but I don't have to feed into it. People are going to think what they are going to think, but at the end of the day all I can do is be myself and trust that what I have to offer will stand on its own. And so far it has. I'm not worried about people comparing me to her. I will just keep on doing my work.