The Cast of Hollywood Divas Uses Their Platform To Inspire
Growing up, it was common to idolize some of our favorite characters on your favorite TV show or film. If you’re like myself, you may remember coming home from school, watching shows like The Parkers and Girlfriends or even films like Sprung and Why Do Fools Fall In Love. Interestingly, we always wondered what their lives were like behind the scenes, without the flashing lights, or clapperboards. Many of those stars are still in the business years later and we get to follow along with their lives on a show like Hollywood Divas.
In 2016, reality TV is growing steadily at an increased rate. Premiering back in October of 2014 on TV One, Hollywood Divas immediately caught the attention of many around the internet. Produced by Vivian Payton and executive produced by, Carlos King Lashan Browning, Anthony Sylvester, and Todd Tucker, Hollywood Divas is the show we’ve all been waiting for. Actresses Paula Jai Parker, Countess Vaughn, Lisa Wu, Golden Brooks, and Elise Neal all graced our living room TV screens taking us on a journey of African-American women in Hollywood and the many adversities they face as individuals and in the film industry.
While revealing personal aspects of their everyday lives, the five ladies managed to rack in tons and tons of viewers. The show did so well that it has had two successful seasons and is now back for season three. While leaving one cast member, Elise Neal, behind, season three kicks off, bringing in actress and reality TV star, Malika Haqq–who we just recently interviewed earlier last month.
“Season three, it is by far my favorite season because we are getting back to our roots, in terms of really diving into the world of acting. The girls have amazing individual success that you’ll see the journey that each girl embarks on. We have a new diva, Malika Haqq, who has joined the cast and brought a very fresh perspective to what it’s like being involved in–what we like to call, ‘Young Black Hollywood’. So, we get to see her journey from where she started off with ATL–that movie and done things since then. We get to see the journey that she’s been on and how she integrates with the cast. So, this season, there’s tons of highs, some lows, of course, some drama, but, this season has definitely been the best so far because we are tackling issues that are definitely prevalent in Hollywood from the various cast members that we have,” executive producer, Carlos King, explained.
33-year-old Malika Haqq is most known for her role as ‘Star’ in the 2006 film, ATL–which she portrayed alongside rapper and actress T.I. and Lauren London and her twin sister, Khadijah. However, although she finds film and TV scripts as her safe haven, Haqq eventually ventured over into doing some reality TV. Her role in reality TV began with her best friend, Khloe Kardashian, as she became a part of the Keep Up With The Kardashians cast and many other Kardashian sub shows. But, Malika Haqq is back to reclaim her place in Hollywood as an actress. This time, she not only has her sister and her best friend by her side but, also, four wonderful ladies to help her out along the way.
“It was just so worth it. I keep giving the credit to Carlos because sometimes it takes people to see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. You desire them,” Haqq says with much joy. “I’ve desired to see how far I could push myself. Booking one job, just getting an audition or a callback, it just changed everything for me. I’m still in the beginning stages of growing confidently within myself and knowing that I can do it. But, I have been surrounded by a bunch of women–meaning the ‘Hollywood Divas’, who have proven that regardless of where your career has started–whatever bumps you’ve gone through on the road, if you just don’t quit it, your talent doesn’t leave you.”
“You just change your mind and you get back out there. They did that for me. They may not know it, but it’s just being around an environment full of women; that’s the mark that they’ve made,” Haqq continued. “I kind of backed out for a very, very long time. I stayed in the reality space that was safe for me and, you know, pays the bills. I’m just really honest. Um, more than anything, I think that this season, for me, was getting to know a group of women who are a lot more seasoned and mature than I am. In life, in different directions, and being just what we all love–which is our craft. The show obviously embodies drama; I don’t know what group of women you could put together and not expect that. That’s friends, that’s family–it’s everything. But, all together, I have to say that it was a really great experience. I think that the audience is going to get a lot out of what we bring in season three of Hollywood Divas.”
For Haqq, she makes it no secret that Hollywood Divas was definitely something she’s proud to be a part of. Let’s just say, although things may have started out rocky in the beginning, the other four ladies grew to love her as well.
As they travel through the troubles to reach triumph, the show has become a learning experience for all five cast members–even the vets, such as Paula Jai Parker–who you may know from a series of 90’s classics. To name a few: Friday, Woo, and Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.
In season one, we got to see everything from Parker’s financial troubles to even family troubles. But, as the seasons progressed, White turned her tribulations into a testimony. A testimony to inspire.
“Well, I think everyone’s journey is highs and lows. Mine is not any different than anyone else’s. I think that’s why people could relate to me speaking my truth because I am willing to be honest about those highs and lows. I am working. I didn’t think reality worked, but it does. I’m so thankful to Carlos for giving me an opportunity to reinvent myself. I’m excited about this next phase of my career because I’m a grown woman now, and there’s so much more that I can do that I wasn’t able to do because I felt like I was put in a box. I have been able to branch out now and I’m so thankful for the process. This season, I’m able to share that with the world. I go from beginning the season with a cancelled show to getting a job that is the dream job. I’m on Ray Donovan this season. I’m just so thankful and just ready to do what I was put here to do. The devil is still in my way, but I’m knocking him down! I’m trying, really, to knock him down. So, that’s my storyline this season. Oh, and, I’m laughing this season!” Parker expressed.
The first episode of season three premiered on July 6th, sparking a great amount of elation within the mass media community. Seeing all of the previous ‘diva fiascos’, we can definitely see some drama brewing in the episodes to come.
Opening with updates on Lisa Wu’s life and her disappointment of discovering the news of her ex-husband Ed Hartwell remarrying to actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, the first episode was already pretty steamy and emotional for viewers to watch.
“There’s a lot going on this season. A lot of changes, a lot of surprises. A new cast member, Malika. We’ve had a lot of great fun. With me, I can’t give away too much, right? So, there’s a lot of disappointment, of course, that’s been in the media a bit. So, there’s some disappointment there. But, a lot of dating events. You’ll see my love life. You’ll get a tad of it. Then, you’ll see this new project that I’m working on. I’m doing this new animation project. I’m really excited about that. Also, a theatrical film. We have some great talent attached to that. Loretta Devine, Terry Owens–the list goes on and on. So, I’m really excited about showcasing that as well.”
Nonetheless, there’s still no stopping Ms. Lisa Wu. She’s still the sexy, sassy, and sophisticated as ever, on her grind in Hollywood. The same goes for Countess Vaughn as well.
We’ve seen Vaughn’s struggle with her weight loss, previous mistakes, and even her singing career. Now, she proves that it’s it’s all about her victory and what’s next.
“What’s new with Countess? Basically, I’m just discovering my own voice. I went through a lot with my thyroids, with my father being sick, and just being able to break away from all of that drama and focus on my music,” Vaughn relates. “I was able to do that. I wanted my girl, Lisa Wu, to help me with this dream that I wanted to accomplish. She really helped me out! So, discovering, you know, my creative side. She really helped me, and, Paula, we got to another level of our friendship. I had my moments where I’d get mad at her, but, still, all in all, we are family. Like Lisa said, I don’t want to give away too much, but just discovering my voice. That’s about it.”
Although we weren’t able to speak with Golden Brooks, she’s currently working on her own projects and can’t wait for the fans to see what she’s been up to in this new season.
Faced with every challenge, in life and even with each other, the cast continues to shine. Within each cast member, is a story still being written and still being told to inspire!
Hollywood Divas airs every Wednesday at 9/8c on TV One.
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