As an actress, producer, singer-songwriter and mother, Jada Pinkett Smith has stolen our hearts for years with her beauty, grace and incredible diversity in the entertainment industry and beyond. In the TNT drama series HawthoRNe, this one-woman wonder captures her audience once again.
Rachel Cicurel: Were you able to draw on your mother's nursing history as inspiration for Christina's character?
Jada plays Christina, the passionate chief nursing officer at Richmond Trinity Hospital. With unwavering commitment to to her role, the actress exemplifies an everyday hero. But hasn't she always?
Jada Pinkett Smith: I pretty much used my mother's über problem-solving skills. She is a woman that's quick on her feet, very organized and very dependable and trustworthy, and so I definitely used those qualities for Christina.
RC: Did your own maternal instincts play a role in your character development?
JPS: It's interesting because I play a mother on the show, a single parent, of a teenage daughter, and Christina mothers completely differently. I actually have to go against my instincts. Christina's actually a kind of an old-school mom. ... Some of the decisions that I make and how I handle things with [my daughter on the show] sometimes, or how I talk to her at times, is definitely not Jada's get-down as far as how she parents, which I think is hilarious.
I have three teenagers in the house now, that I'm raising now, and how I deal with them and how I deal with her is just totally different, totally. I'm like: this right here is a straight up disaster, and I look at my daughter on the show and she's a really good kid, because for most kids, they would totally rebel. And she doesn't.
RC: What drew you to this specific medical drama?
JPS: I really loved the project. I loved the script, and I really loved the idea of showing an ensemble of everyday people who do extraordinary things for people that they don't know. And I felt like in these next few years, we are going to, as Americans, reach for our internal heroes to endure the years that are to come, and I really felt like this show could inspire in that way.
RC: How do you separate being an executive producer of HawthoRNe from being an actress?
JPS: You literally have to just switch hats. You know, when I'm on screen, I listen to the director and I listen to the producers when they have notes for me as an actress. "You've got to try this; you've got to do that." I come off of the set and I go into the video room, and then we have discussions as an executive producer. I go, '"Okay, I feel like we need to move this scene here and there." Literally, you have to take one hat off, and just understand- you have to listen to people and be very aware. It's like okay, if your director comes to you and says, "Jada, I need you to try this emotion in this scene," now I'm an actress taking a note from my director. And so really you just have to have a level of awareness and openness. And, you just have to be very fluid and you just have to know when and where to take and put on those two different hats. That's the best way that I can describe it.
RC: It seems like so many women these days have difficulty balancing their work and their home lives, and you seem to have done a fantastic job. Do you have any advice for other working mothers?
JPS: I really feel like it's important to leave work at work. We have to realize that, you know, 6 o'clock, or whenever the day's over, it's over. Turn the pagers off, turn the cell phone off, come home and be present for your family. And then 8 o'clock, get your kids ready for school, get in the car, and once you drop them off, you can turn all the devices back on and get back into work mode. But it's really being able to compartmentalize and just really give authentic focused time to each area, versus trying to blend them all together. ... Go home, do the mommy thing. Go to work, do the work thing. You know what I mean? And I find that that has really worked for me.
RC: How did you get involved in Wicked Wisdom? Have you always wanted to have a music career?
JPS: I've always wanted to sing rock. And then it kind of journeyed into metal, so I just decided maybe about 10 years ago to just do it. I just said: "You're not going to live forever. Just do it". So I just decided to kind of stick my foot out there, and then Wicked Wisdom was born.
RC: What can we look forward to in HawthoRNe?
JPS: I think HawthoRNe is a really heartfelt show, and I'm hoping that people are looking for a place that they can laugh and cry, because it's a dramedy. So I'm hoping that people will see it as such.
RC: Lastly, is there a chance of a love interest for Christina?
JPS: Oh yeah, for sure. You've got to have some love up in there. So it'll be a slow build because she is a widow so it will be a very complicated area for her, which I think is cool because love is always a complicated area, so why not complicate it even more?
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, March 10, 2014
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