Check out our interview with “The Oval” & Tyler Perry’s “Ruthless” breakout star actress Melissa L. Williams.
BET’s “The Oval” tells the story of a family placed in the White House by people of power while also highlighting the personal side and everyday lives of the staff who run the inner workings of the nation’s most iconic residence. On the new hit series, Melissa portrays twin sisters ‘Denise’ and ‘Ruth,’ polar opposite roles, both with their own agenda.
Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless” follows Ruth Truesdale as she’s forced to play nice with a scandalous religious cult of powerful sex crazed fanatics in the hopes of freeing herself and her daughter. Williams stars opposite Stephanie Charles (“The Paynes”), Anthony Bless (“Tyler Perry’s Sistas”) and Bobbi Baker James (“House of Payne”).
Follow Melissa at @melissa.l.williams
Hi Melissa, please tell us a little about you?
Hey! I’m Melissa L. Williams. I’m an actress who is currently on The Oval and Ruthless on BET Plus, which premieres on 3/19.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Loud, passionate, and driven.
Who is your role model?
I have so many. Definitely my mom and God, always. Career-wise, my role models are Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, and Viola Davis.
How did you get started into acting?
I got started when I did my first church play – an Easter play in middle school. After that, I was hooked. I performed in as much local theater as I could and later studied theater at Clark Atlanta University. Once I moved from Atlanta to LA, I’ve been working in the industry ever since.
How has this changed your life?
Believe it or not I grew up shy and this was a great way for me to be more outspoken. Acting felt like a safe place. It was therapeutic and allowed me to express myself in a way that I wasn’t able to.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is getting to do what you love and get paid for it of course. The worst part would be others misunderstanding you if you’re typecast because of your look. This is why it’s so important for me to produce my own projects.
Tell us about your work in BET’s #1 ranked new scripted series “The Oval?”
I play Ruth and Denise. They’re two totally different characters even though they are twins. Both are crazy in their own way. One is ruthless in the white house and the other is ruthless outside of the white house.
And about your roles as twin sisters ‘Denise’ and ‘Ruth?’ How challenging was it to portray two characters?
It wasn’t very challenging because I was offered Denise first so I was familiar with the character, but I did have to film Ruth the next day. The challenge was that I didn’t have room for error because I had to memorize lines and shoot the very next day.
And about your work on Tyler Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless?”
We shot in 7 days (12 days total). The best parts were being so heavily involved throughout the process, which was a great experience.
What other projects have you been part of?
Most recently, the film, Dutch. Past projects are Hello Cupid, Rosewood, The Game, If Loving You is Wrong, and Poz Roz.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I love being able to create and not having distractions: aka a survival job. I’m able to freely create and have the means to create my own projects.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
In addition to my current roles, I would love to expand with an action role to represent the “all woman.” I’m not a woman who can just put a dress on, I can still play with the boys. I want a lot of women to see that black women can play all roles. I would also love to do suspense and romantic comedy. I will do it all!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Right now it’s cashew cheese — it’s the new wave!
And your favorite cheat food?
How would you explain your fashion style?
Evolving — it ultimately depends on my mood. I love fashion so I like to play around with different looks whether it’s something chic, edgy, or just casual. I love it all.
How would your best friend describe you?
Caring, funny, hard worker, loud, goofy, and somebody who is willing to help their friends out whenever they need it.
What’s next for Melissa L. Williams in 2020?
I’m not slowing down. Ruthless premieres on March 19. I have a film, Dutch, in which I star opposite Lance Gross coming soon. I’m also releasing music and have additional projects to be released at a later date.
What is your own definition of happiness?
It’s an unexplainable peace that no one else can understand but you and God. MY connection with God and reminding myself of the things that he has called me to do. With him I can do everything and anything.
How is a normal day in your life?
Lately I’ve been waking up at 7am. I work out, make a protein shake, check emails, talk to my team, and work on a scene for an audition. Later, I’ll go do something fun like watch movies, cook dinner (I love to cook!), or read. I’m currently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Going to church, eating a good brunch (with bottomless mimosas), wonderful convos– no phones, and finishing it off with a bike ride at the beach. Living in LA, I tend to take the beach for granted.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Michelle Obama — I have so many questions for her about her strength, maintaining her individuality, everything. I would love to have at least seen Michael Jackson live, as well.
Best advice ever given?
The ones who cares the least wins.
Do you support any charity?
I do! I’ve been working with the Young Storytellers for quite some time. It’s an arts education program for middle schoolers where we work with those who are interested in the entertainment industry. For each student that’s interested, we help them develop ideas and then write scripts. Once we’re done we perform for the rest of the school. It’s an amazing program that allows kids to express themselves in a way that they may usually not get the chance to. I LOVE it!
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
My bible, food, and a good chapstick.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I will be an EGOT for sure!
Favorite song? Why?
Right now, “Diamonds” by Rihanna. When you do finally get the door of opportunity to open we have to remember that there’s a reason why you’re there so you shine bright. It’s once in a lifetime and doesn’t happen all the time.
What music do you like?
R&B, Hip Hop, Gospel, Christian Rap (Lecray is really dope!)
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s a business. It builds your brand, whether you’re selling something small or promoting yourself to impact the world. Otherwise it can be a distraction.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Find a way or make one.”
Favorite Singer/Artist: Beyoncé
Travel Destination: Jamaica
Sports Team: OKC Thunder, always!
Tv Show: Schitt’s Creek…it’s SO good!
Book: “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes
Photo Credit: Tommy Flanagan