It’s a growing trend: African-American female leads on prime time TV screens. NBC’s newest leading lady, actress Meagan Good, stars as detective Joanna Locasto in the network’s new detective drama, Deception, and inevitably there have been plenty of comparisons to ABC’s Scandal (starring Kerry Washington). And it’s not the plot lines that connect the two shows, of course. They’re compared because Meagan Good has now joined Scandal star Washington as the only other Black actress to score a prime time role on a leading network this century.
EBONY.com caught up with the leading lady of Deception to discuss playing the new leading lady at home as well as on the screen, shooting guns and more.
EBONY: How does it feel to be NBC’s newest leading lady and to be a woman of color?
Meagan Good: It’s been just an amazing experience, you know. It’s so important as a woman of color. And we get to do a lot of action, there’s a lot of drama, there’s the love triangle and it’s just fun. There’s a lot to it. And if you want to work anywhere in the world, it would be New York.
EBONY: You were recently married. How are you able to focus on this show while being a newlywed?
MG: In a sense it’s sad, because obviously, you are away from the person you just married and you want to spend all of your time with them and put all of your energy into it. For us, it’s constantly on the phone constantly Skyping. He comes into town as much as he can, which turns out to be more than we expected. You just stay focused. The marriage is the prize, not anything else. Everything else comes secondary to that. If I can focus on that and do the things I love and be purposeful, then it’s awesome.
EBONY: How did you break it to your husband that you’d be leaving for New York to film so soon after the marriage?
MG: I was nervous coming into it. I was like, “I really feel [Deception is] going to get picked up.” And he was like, “Well then you need to really get ready and pack your bags. I will come out there with you to set you up, and I will come back as much as I can, but you need to get focused and get into it. Have you gotten in the gym yet?” He is very, very supportive.
EBONY: Speaking of getting in the gym, do you have a special regimen?
MG: Cheeseburgers. [laughter] No, just kidding. On the show, there’s not a lot of time to work out. I have the weekends, but then Monday mornings, it’s always a five a.m. call. Which means I got to get up at four. So there’s just not a lot of time to do much, but I’m pretty active on set and I try to modify my diet, take vitamins and just condition my body to be as healthy as possible.
EBONY: Your role is very physical. Did you train? How did you prepare for the role?
MG: My pops was LAPD for 26 years, he retired two years ago. And his wife is FBI, so that works out pretty well, I got a lot of good information from them. Then I have a friend I went to high school with that gave me a lot of good information and some preparation. I also had to do a lot of working out and back strengthening stuff. A lot of it was going to the gun range, understanding how to carry the gun, how to enter and what’s appropriate protocol.
From my dad, a lot of it was the mentality of what it takes to be a police officer. How you have to be willing to give your life for the cause, and understand that at any moment anything can go completely awry and it can cost you everything. It’s been times when he used to come home and his kneecap was practically off, or he would have skin grafts all up and down his arms and be in surgery because he had burns so bad from being hit by a car or chasing someone. Just different things like that. So it’s understanding that you’re willing to do anything and everything to get the job done. That’s how I try to play Joanna.
EBONY: Post-Deception, what’s next for you?
MG: I got married eight months ago. I’ve been in New York for the past six months, so I’m just wanting to be home, cook, wash clothes, be domesticated and enjoy that. In the meantime, I am reading projects and meeting about stuff, but I’m not in a rush. Knowing myself, after a couple weeks I’ll start to be like, “Alright, what are we doing in between…” [laughter]
RaVal “Vee” Davis has interviewed legends like Chaka Khan, Prince, Quincy Jones and more at publications like EBONY, Essence and Vibe. A true cultural commentator, this girl-about-town always lets her cosmopolitan sensibilities be her guide. Check her out on Twitter @WatchHerWork.