Friday, October 10, 2014

Exclusive Interview with "Hollywood's Golden Diva" Golden Brooks


Hollywood's Golden Diva
By Belinda Trotter James 

The golden child has emerged to take her rightful place as a Hollywood Diva. I'm talking about the fabulous Golden Ameda Brooks.  She is one of America's talented Hollywood actresses. You've seen her work for years in various television and movie roles such as The Jamie Foxx show, Promised Land, Moesha, Beauty Shop, Hell's Kitchen, CSI:Miami and Hart Of Dixie just to name a few. This is just a few because her career has allowed her to appear in over 30 television and film roles. She is best known as the sassy assistant, Maya Wilkes on UPN/CW Girlfriends for eight seasons.  In her current project she is playing herself on TV One’s, Hollywood Divas reality show. Many actors don't do reality TV, but this must have been a role she just couldn't resist.  "The funny thing is that I was looking for something different to do in addition to my acting," says Golden.  "I was doing the Hart Of Dixie and felt I just wanted to switch it up a little bit and maybe host some events while continuing my acting stuff.  Sometimes you just want to switch it up to add excitement to your life."  

Well, her angels must have heard her desire to spice things up because in that moment of Golden pondering switching up her life to do different things that famous quote, "Ask and you shall receive", manifested in her life. Her manager called her with a great opportunity and said, "Carlos King and Todd Tucker are doing a show call Hollywood Divas and they inquire about you."  Golden's manager went on to explain that it was a reality show and instantly Golden thought at first, "Oh my God, a reality show", but she kept her ears open to hear her manager out.  Well, well, well Golden asked for a spicy life and what did she get... a reality show. "When he explain to me what it was and how they wanted to do it to be different from the other shows,  it was really something that I felt I could get on board with at this time in my life", explains Golden.  "It sounds like a show that I can actually springboard all the other facets of me that I can share with my fans and the audiences."

 If you are a fan of Golden and wondered why you have not seen her on the social media networks is because she is very private.  She has been so private that she finally just got on the social network bandwagon one month ago. So please go to her Twitter page   and show her some love. This is definitely a great way for her to open up to show people the real Golden Brooks.  "You will see on the show this is who I am as a mother and as a writer," says Golden.  "As the show continues you will be able to see all these other facets of me. I also want to show young girls that this business is not easy. It's not about being negative; it's about showing the real side. It's not about waking up and having pretty make up, pretty hair, pretty clothes and tons of followers on social media. For me it's really about the work and the craft.  That's what I try to showcase on the show.
 The first reality show I remember watching was Survivor and people thought reality shows would not last as long as it has.  Survivor is in its 29th season. Some actors are a little upset that reality stars are getting all the lime light. Some actors have spent years in workshops and classes in pursuit of their big break and instead they find themselves competing not with other actors, but with average folk and their real life stories.  I had to think back to my days as an actress on the set of One Life To Live soap opera and my short lived movie career.  I participated in acting workshops and classes. Now I'm thinking maybe I didn't have to study so hard to be an actress.  Who knew reality stars would take over the networks without taking one single acting class.  Some actors are really on the fence on whether reality stars deserve to be stars or even famous.

However, Golden had a different perspective on the matter.  "It's not the people," begins Golden, it's the executives who are hiring them.  They don't just show up someplace without someone hiring them.  They are just the puppets and the studios and networks are the puppeteers.  Business is changing so I don't get mad at the player; you sort of have to get mad at the game.   The game has changed.  It's not the same day and age where actors go to do their summer stock, Shakespeare and theater.  You can still go to do that because there is still a huge community of actors in this business and outside of the Hollywood business that still thrive and work based on their laurels, but then there's the side of the business that is changing and it's going in the direction of social media and how popular you are on a reality show.  It's easy money; it's easy business. I get it. Does it scare me? Yes, but I thought how cool would it be to use this medium that I find to be scary.  I'm taking a piece of pop culture that at one time scared me and now I’m going to use it to my benefit.”

On various reality shows we have seen different types of personalities emerge and this show seems to follow the same formula or did it? What would make this show different from what we've been seeing so far? Golden explains, "I think that Carlos King  and Todd Tucker took a show that they understood to be the plight of the black actress. Yes, things are changing however, we still need more images.  I thought it was a great idea for them to bring five actresses together to create a show about producing a show. It's like art imitating life.”  We laughed and thought about the concept behind the Seinfeld show created by Larry David. One of the main characters on the show, George always said it's a show about nothing.

As you can see Golden said yes to Hollywood Divas.  Actually she thought it would be stupid to walk away from a project like this. She is really excited to see how people will respond to the show. As each show goes on, it will be as if you are watching each layer being peeled off like an onion. "With each episode you get deeper and deeper into the lives of each girl”, says Golden.   In the promo for Hollywood Divas you see Paula Jai Parker crying at what seems like frustration and not because she's mad at someone however, we do see arguing along with an array of other upsetting emotions. Seeing people upset on reality shows seems to be a popular formula for great TV ratings. However, Golden explains, “When you watch the show you will see differences and you will see where these differences are coming from. When you see where the frustration is coming from, then you will understand what you are viewing on the show."

Golden has not put her foot in the directing pool yet like other actresses, however she is a writer and a very good one.  She wrote an episode of Girlfriends, Snapback and you will also see her writing on an episode of Hollywood Divas. “On this show you will see all the different aspects of me as an artist”, reveals Golden.

It still boggles the mind of the average person to find out that some actors and actresses have never met or even crossed paths.  This is the case with Golden and the other cast members which include Paula Jai Parker, Countess Vaughan, Lisa Wu and Elise Neal.  Golden knows of them of course however, she has not had a chance to actually work with them until now.  "I would say before this I was friendly with the girls however, we were not girlfriends”, says Golden.  “I didn't know any of them really well. Paula and I have had some history.  We both auditioned for “Girlfriends”. I've seen Elise at events and auditions, but I never really got a chance to know her. Countess and I got a chance to work together twice on The Parkers and Moesha.   Lisa was the only one that I really didn't know fully”.

The difference between acting and being on a reality show is like night and day. On the one hand you don't have to memorize lines however, on the other hand you are open to revealing your innermost thoughts.  Golden’s character as Maya Wilkes on “Girlfriends” was a sassy girl who spoke her mind always. However, the show was scripted and she was told what to say.  On reality TV you get to say whatever is on your mind. "When you’re acting, you can hide behind a character,” says Golden.  “I loved hiding behind Maya’s character.  It was great because if I was in a bad mood, I couldn't wait to get to work so I could say, ‘Oh hell no!’ I loved it. I think every black woman has a little bit of Maya in her”.

In the world of reality television it can be a long day of trying to act normal on camera.  Golden adds, “It's kind of like a long improv class. When you're in an improv class there are no lines and you don't know what's coming next. You don't even know what your scene partner is going to say. It's kind of like that, but it's about your life and the truth of your life along with the pain of your life.  I'm a true believer of showing your flaws. I am not in the editing room so I am not in control of what the audience sees.  When I show my flaws it’s because I'm not perfect. I have fears, I get scared, I have insecurities, I have doubts and I wanted to show that part of me. You can show all of those feelings through a character on a scripted show, but when you are doing a reality show, you truly have to find your moment in what you want your viewers to see and that's the difference.  

Another project Golden is working on for TV ONE is a “Second Chance For Christmas”. It’s with McKinley Freeman from the television show “Hit The Floor” and after that she already has another movie lined up to do. So life is very good right now.  “Everything is just great”, says Golden.

Motherhood is all about juggling your home environment, career and children. Golden is no different from other women in this department.  She juggles to keep her home in order, her career as well as taking care of her beautiful five-year-old daughter, Dakota. Of course mothers want to know the secrets of how other mothers seem to keep their lives in order.  Golden simply says, "I just do it.  They say it takes a village. I was in New York for four days and it was so hard being away from Dakota. It's hard being away from her, but I have a great support team. I have to make it work and you will see me tell her on the show that mommy has to work and go on auditions.  I do all this because I want to leave a legacy for her. I want her to see mommy working and trying to be my best.  It's good for little girls to see that.

Well let's see if her little girl will catch the acting bug just like her mother. Golden laughs and says, "I don't want to get her into acting. I may not have a choice because she is just so sassy. It would be great if she would be a veterinarian or a bio chemist. I am hoping for that however, she loves to dance.  She's such a great little dancer. I want her to do whatever she wants to do. Right now at this age I don't think I want her to act.  I want her just to be a normal kid that does well in school.  We have her in piano lessons now. I just want her to have a normal life”.

Dakota may just end up being a dancer just like her mother.  Yes, Golden was a figure skater as a child and won many trophies to prove it.  She is also a classically trained dancer who studied and taught ballet, jazz and modern dance.  In college Golden studied media representation of minorities with a minor in theater.  Her education will definitely come in handy on Hollywood Divas.

Even though everything looks great for Golden at this time I’m sure there are moments when things don't look so good.  No matter what things look like on the outside, you must hold on to your dreams in order for them to manifest.  You have to really want to be in this business in order to deal with the hills and valleys that you may come across. With that being said we always look to those who have gone before us to give some type of advice on what to expect as we go on our journey.

Golden advises, "My thing is that you should stay true to who you are; stay true to your talent and always first and foremost have trust and faith in God. This is a tough business.  It doesn’t matter how much you study and trained or how pretty you are, there is going to be moments where it gets tough.  If you are true to who you are and of course study, do the work, take acting classes and read the classics, I think you will be well prepared. I think there is nothing worse than an actor who doesn't really have that much more to say other than talking about their acting. You definitely want to be that well rounded person and in order to do that you must constantly educate yourself.  Acting is a walk of life; it's about taking on other characters and really being part of the world. Be one with the world and really take on your environment”.

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