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Essence Atkins: Her Life, Goals and Purpose

Atlanta News & Entertainment / October 31, 2014

CLICK HERE to read the full of  Essence in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE


SYLVIA: Right, yes it is. We’ve seen you in several diverse roles and now you have embarked upon the original movie My Other Mother, which was produced by Swirl Films and directed by Stan Foster. How did you hear about this role and what you’re your preparation process?

ESSENCE: I actually was working on another movie of the week in Trinidad when I got the offer, actually, from Eric, who is the owner of Swirl Films, and I’ve worked with him before. He sent me an email and said, “Hey, I know you’re in Trinidad, but I really want you to play this part.” And he told me that Lynn Whitfield was attached. Well, that was the first reason to say yes. I’ve worked with Lynn before, twice before I actually on two other projects, an independent movie called Act Like You Love Me and on Are We There Yet, the TV series I did with Terry Crews, she played my mother in both of those projects. So I had worked with her before and I was anxious and excited about the possibility of working with her in a more dramatic realm, and working closer with her, which was just an extraordinary experience, such a blessing, really, because she’s an amazing woman and a very dynamic and interesting and cool person to be around, but besides that, she’s such a great artist. So it was a learning experience, and it was an enjoyable one for me. And then there was the script, which Kiki won the ABFF Screenwriting Competition that UP does and she won for her original screenplay and I read the script and I just thought that the characters had a lot of dimension and they were dealing with, a lot of people say “Well, how can you relate to the whole you’re adopted, what’s it like to long for answers about your biology?” But I think that longing is longing, and I do relate to being at a stage in your life where your career is what you wanted it to be, what you worked for it to be, and still feeling like something was missing, and I think a lot of people can relate to that, male and female. Just the idea of what matters to you and what brings meaning to life when you put so much time and energy into just one aspect of it, which is your professional career. So that was the thing that really intrigued me and I was able to kind of anchor into. And the rest of it was some questions, some research, and then just imagination, which is an actor’s best tool sometimes.

SYLVIA: Can you tell us a little bit about Candace Meyers, the character that you’re portraying, and are you able to really identify with her as far as your own personal experiences?

ESSENCE: Candace Meyers, she’s a go-getter. She’s a successful woman, she’s at the top of her game. She hosts a talk show, a contemporary talk show with a cohost played by Russ Parr. And they’re doing very well and she is a woman of excellence and she is a woman of integrity, and she’s very demanding, and a lot of people misinterpret that drive and don’t like her for it, and she can be abrasive. And part of that has to do with her just not encompassing her whole life and not living a full life, and again, as I said earlier, I think that that’s something that as we embark on our professional careers, we often do neglect the rest of life and focus so much on accolades and achievements that we just put the rest of it to the wayside. So that’s one of the things that I really loved about her. And the journey that she goes on, initially, she wants to find her biological parents because she thinks that will give her some sort of answer and perspective. And it does, but not in the way that she tried to micromanage it to do. And again, I think in the end, what it is that she was ultimately searching for was just what mattered most to her and what was most important, and finding some sort of balance between what we all are talking about these days, which is that life-work balance.

Read Essence full interview in PRESTIGE SEPT/NOV 2014 ISSUE


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