4 Questions With Beverly Johnson
The supermodel talks about her role in Tyler Perry's Good Deeds and her friendship with Whitney.
BJ: I did two episodes of Meet the Browns, even though I really don't act very much anymore. That's how I got a chance to meet Tyler Perry and got to know him. He offered me the role, and I said, "Of course." I play Gabrielle Union's character's mother, Brenda, which was like a cakewalk for me. She's a lovely, beautiful, bright young lady, just like my daughter, Anansa, so it really wasn't a stretch for me to play her mother.
I have a few scenes, and it was just really great working and seeing Phylicia Rashad again. [Perry is] so easy and wonderful to work for. There's no drama -- no pun intended -- and it's about getting on with the work. It was a very pleasant experience.
TR: You mentioned your daughter, Anansa, and how she is also a bright, beautiful young lady. The world will get to see you work to strengthen your relationship with her and her new family on Beverly's Full House. How will this show differ from the type of reality TV that people have become accustomed to viewing?
BJ: What's wonderful, again, is working with Oprah Winfrey -- it's like working with Tyler Perry. You're talking about a woman of great integrity, and her network stands for that. We were talking [about] developing a constructive reality show, as opposed to the other types of reality shows. I love the other reality shows just like everybody else -- I'm just as addicted; my daughter got me into that -- but this is a different kind of show. Meaning that hopefully there's a lot of takeaway where people will walk away with something that will enrich their lives besides being entertaining.
Everybody's life is very interesting, I think, and it's not that we're any different. I just think our intentions were a little different. And I don't want to give away a lot of the show, but if it weren't for the show, Anansa and I wouldn't address a lot of things that every mother and daughter have -- [like] that mindset where things kind of just get swept under the rug, and it's like the elephant in the room, and nobody really talks about it or whatever has gone on in the relationship. It's also a show about communicating and getting close to people who you really care about, and a show about how to listen and how to build stronger bonds.
TR: Beverly, you're really involved with a lot of projects, including a new line of hair-care products that's coming to Target next week. Why is it important to have a diverse portfolio?
BJ: It's the Model Line, and we're bringing hair to Target! We're going to start it off with drawstring ponytails, and Target hasn't had hair for 20 years. I was with a company for 14 years that would not distribute [my wig line] to black-owned beauty-supply stores or to retail stores. [The line] was only distributed in the Korean-owned [beauty supply] stores. So I have the opportunity, now that I do own my own company, to distribute my hair line [to whomever I choose].
I think it's very important in life that one has and one develops all of [one's] abilities. I think that it's great. I always tell my daughter, always have different things to fall back on. It keeps the possibilities infinite for oneself [so that if] something happens to your one line of work, you have other talents. I've always been about that. I'm a plan B, C, D girl, and that's how I've always operated. I'm busier now than I've ever been in my entire career. The company is my full-time job; that's what I do.
Aisha I. Jefferson is a contributor to The Root.