Many headlines have appeared over the past few years documenting the plight of Black actresses in Hollywood. TV One has decided to do something about it. Gather a few talented actresses together on one show and let viewers watch their personal and career drama unfold as they work collectively on a project to revive their careers. That’s the basic premise of the network’s latest expansion of its popular ‘divas’ oriented reality TV programming with Hollywood Divas.
The show made its debut October 8 and stars actresses Golden Brooks (‘Girlfriends’), Countess Vaughn (‘The Parkers’), Lisa Wu (‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’), Paula Jai Parker (‘Hustle and Flow’) and Elise Neal (‘The Hughleys’). We spoke with Parker and Vaughn to get some insight into what viewers can expect this season.
Paula Jai Parker
On her financial struggles and temporary homelessness:
“My husband and I have been living the bohemian artist lifestyle since we been together. When we brought a child into the mix it became unacceptable. We had a home when I had the baby. I took time off from Hollywood to be a mom. But in Hollywood when you’re pregnant by a guy that isn’t famous, you’re writing a death certificate. So my agent and manager dropped me.
Plus we invested money in a film that we were told would make money. We trusted people we should not have. My husband quit his job and we ended up homeless. We ended up staying in a hotel. I always heard reality shows help you get a house, so now thanks to TV One we are good.”
On addressing her issues with Golden Brooks:
“This show forced me and Golden to discuss every single issue we had. I am really jealous and possessive. So if I talked about my issues with Golden it is because the situation prompted it. I had to because I was in this tight circle where I had to discuss my grievances. Me and Golden have more in common than not. I have love for her but we had our moments.”
On the beef between her husband and mother:
“My mom is bougie and she doesn’t like my brother’s wives either. This show forced them to deal with their issues. As much as it broke my heart she ended up seeing him in a different light and giving him more respect. On the show is the first time he stood up to her and it changed they she treats him now.”
On her upcoming projects:
"I just got offered a film and one is in pre-production. We are still working on our project from the show which is in post-production. I also have a TV show on another network that people should look out for soon. My husband is back in the game now. We are a two-person working household. I want to testify that it is so good.”
On her relationship with her co-stars:
“We are regular women and will have moments of arguments but there is a solution at the end. If we have done anything wrong it is being good friends and keeping it real with each other and that’s what I love about us. We actually do care about each other.”
On how the show improved her self-esteem:
“While my fans love me I realize you gotta love yourself. I needed a jumpstart and the way to do that was surgery. I listened to my girls on the show and not only did I get work done but I changed my way of thinking. The way I was thinking needed to be more positive. That’s why I love Golden for giving me that great advice to think more positive, eat the right food and it will all work out. My diet and attitude got better.”
On her future plans:
“I am working on my music, a clothing line and a movie project. So my hands are full. I’ve been at home under my children and all to myself but I had to get my swag back. Now I am putting my voice out there.”
The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.