Violet Bordelon: Vivacious, Passionate, Sexy

Season 1
CC | tv-pg
Meet Violet Bordelon, the vivacious, passionate and sexy sister of Ernest Bordelon, the recently deceased patriarch of the Bordelon family. Violet is the aunt of Charley, Nova and Ralph Angel. Here, actress Tina Lifford (Parenthood), who plays Violet, and visionary filmmaker Ava DuVernay discuss what makes Violet such a fascinating character.

Ava begins by explaining that Violet was a tricky character to pull off. "This is a woman who's in her 60s and is vivacious and exciting, and I didn't want that to be a caricature of kind of a sassy black mama," Ava says. "I really patterned her after my own mother, who's in her 60s and still has the energy and vibrancy and the sparkle in her eye."

Tina explains how she prepared for the role. "I stepped beyond my idea of womanhood and sexy, and I let the energy of Violet show me who she is, and Violet loves being a woman," Tina says. "Violet is passionate. She's at that place in life where life is changing, and you know that it's not going backwards."

Tina describes the forces at work in Violet's life. "She's just lost her brother," she says. "She is finding herself in new ways. She is experiencing love like she's never experienced in her life before. It makes her aware of how quickly it all can go away, which makes her passionate about living the moment today."

Ava reveals why Violet is unlike any character you've ever seen on TV. "She lives life in a very free way. She has a younger, live-in boyfriend, but even saying that kind of diminishes the depth of their relationship," Ava says. "She's not a character that I've seen on television before, and so we needed an actress who could really bring seriousness to a character that's really, in some ways, more light, and so she was the perfect marriage of that."