BY SADÉ KELLY
It’s hard to forget the sassiness of Maya Wilkes from the classic hit sitcom Girlfriends. Black women from all over America fell in love with actress Golden Brooks as she brought this entertaining and outspoken character to life from 2000 to 2008.
Since the finale of Girlfriends, Golden has appeared on the CW’s drama Hart of Dixie and TNT’s limited award-winning series I Am the Night. Fans were also allowed to get up close and personal with Golden in the reality tv show Hollywood Divas.
On October 17th, Golden will be starring in the upcoming Vanessa Bell Calloway directed film A Long Look in the Mirror, which is a part of BET’s The Waiting Room Season 2. This film tells the story of a broken mother-daughter relationship tested to the limits after the youth-obsessed mother (Golden Brooks) receives a cancer diagnosis and struggles to cope with the disease.
A Long Look in the Mirror, which was written by Deshawn Plair and Sade Oyinade, airs on BET Her, Saturday, October 17th at 8PM EST.
Recently, Southern Laced hosted a media roundtable with Golden Brooks. Here’s what she had to say:
Question: Vanessa Bell Callaway directed A Long Look in the Mirror. What was it like working with her?
Golden Brooks: She’s such a great and creative leader. Vanessa Bell Calloway is a breast cancer survivor herself. So, I think it’s really close to her heart.
I’ve always felt that actors always make the best directors because they know what actors need. She was so close to this topic and she’s such a strong force that I just trusted her throughout the whole process.
Question: Considering that it’s a more complex than your usual roles, how did you prepare for your role in A Long Look in the Mirror?
Golden Brooks: Its important as an actor to challenge yourself so that you will he readily available when those roles do come up.
I was trained to put emotions and honesty into what this character is going through. In this character, we all have pain. We can open up our minds and it will take us there.
Question: Why do you think it’s so important to not only break boundaries when it comes to mental health but ALL health barriers in the black community?
Golden Brooks: I think that mental health and breast cancer awareness are two health epidemics that have affected the black community, especially black women. The percentage of black women that suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are very high . When it comes to breast cancer, we, as black women, don’t like to go to the doctor. Our OB-GYN needs to be our best friend.
We think “we are fine” but we have to get ready to stay ready; meaning you should take care of it before it becomes an issue…. especially since we’re getting older.
Question: How do you practice self care and keep yourself motivated?
Golden Brooks: I take my medications. I pray. I practice gratitude each morning. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’m working on making better emotional choices no matter how big or small.
Question: How much of your own personality did you put into the creation of Maya on Girlfriends?
Golden Brooks: A lot. It has to be as real and organic as possible.
Question: What advice could you give an aspiring middle-aged actress?
Golden Brooks: Age doesn’t matter. You still have to have that same conviction and perseverance as you would if you were 17 or 20. It doesn’t really change. You’re still going to be told no and you’re still going to be told yes . It’s never too late to get into an acting class. It’s never too late to do a workshop. It’s never too late to pick up a phone , call and ask someone to help you.
If God gives you breath to breathe in the morning , he’s telling you it’s not too late.