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Demetria McKinney talks about a divided house, she works in Hollywood


Although Demetria McKinney has said that her original goal was to be a singer rather than an actress, the actress known for "House of Payne," "A House Divided," and "Motherland: Fort Salem" is no stranger to Hollywood or the entertainment industry. 

However, having successfully weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and still doing what she does, McKinney said she has a lot to be thankful for and loves the work and brings the characters to life for the audience to enjoy.

I think this pandemic has highlighted the need for structure and the need for prioritization. Being a working actress in this environment really scared me. And here I am, here in Vancouver living the dream (photographed by "Motherland: Fort Salem"), and still with "A House Divided" is the longest running show on AllBlk. McKinney said in an interview with AFRO Live.

"I've seen the cast, even before Mrs. LisaRaye joined us, and I was very willing to have the opportunity to learn, not just from Mr. Jacobs, but from everyone. Even the newer folks, I'm watching all these shows, I'm watching these transformations and all these people are taking all These are the choices they make and I'm like, "Well, that was kind of dope," she said of the actors and crew she works with, on "A House Divided."

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“And Mr. Larry (Lawrence) Jacobs has been very nice from the start. It is so nice to go in and see the people you have seen forever, you will always be down to earth, embrace what you are trying to bring, and also congratulate you when they think you are doing a good job,” McKinney added.

The actress plays Carissa Walker, whom the audience meets in the first moments of the first episode. McKinney, like Carissa, brings to life a strategic, seductive and sometimes seemingly evil character.

Demetria McKinney talks about a divided house, she works in Hollywood

“I got the text for the first time from Mr. Dan Garcia, I read it and I look at it at the end, and it was crazy because you could literally see a question mark hovering over my head. I’m like, 'Did you just kill someone?' Like, 'What am I going to be about?' be on that show?" But that was so exciting because I'm used to being the good girl, the hope, the one who's carrying around," McKinney said. "Carissa has no plans, no intentions, to be good. 

As if it's just not her at all. So since season one, she's gone in as a villain and morphed and mutated and evolved to get more and more brutal every season. In season three, she had to sit a little bit. Pat her up A little bit, the FBI and all that. But since she had time to sit down in an orange suit, she had time to make some plans."

Through strong and accurate acting and writing, audiences begin to empathize with Carissa's complex character layers.

"I wasn't really expecting to be rooted in all the bullshit and chaos I cause on this show, but I think it also explains why empathy is so important in everyday life," McKinney joked, waving her finger and using slang, "I'm not saying she's got an excuse, But now we understand some of the reasons why she would be who she is, the loss of her mother, her father's situation, what he told her 'through, and what this mindset would bring'.

Despite her work on A House Divided and Motherland: Fort Salem sustains McKineey year-round, the actress and singer said she's excited about the revival of both women she plays.

"I love 'A House Divided' because Carissa is Carissa, and she's a stand-alone entity in my career. I can honestly say the same about Anacostia, which I play in 'Motherland: Fort Salem.' I'm a military brat, so I understand the world, but there's That magic and there's this girl's strength in it, that I've never really experienced experienced in a show... to be here and to be able to be transported into this world where my voice really has strength, tangible strength, to see that weakness isn't a weakness, as a strength And it's part of getting you to grow "and build and work," she said. Then move out of here (Vancouver) for six months and eight months, go to "A House Divided," and know I can take off those boots, put on those worst suit and heels, and go to slice someone very quickly.

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McKinney, who has been in the entertainment industry for nearly two decades, said that people must be willing to put in the hard work in order to want to work as an actor or performer.

“Because people think that once you have something successful like 'House of Payne,' or 'A House Divided' or 'Motherland: Fort Salem,' automatically that's the time to go. That's business, 'no', a big part of it. So The thing I would say to people who want to do this is that you have to do this, not for fame, not for fame, not for influence, you have to do it because you have to do it. I have to stress that Fame, and money, there won't always be, so stack your chips, because once one job is over, you're technically unemployed. You're sitting there trying to find the next thing, you're always in test rotation, as if it's a constant hustle and bustle,"

"So if you're not ready to say, 'I'm in this because I can't do that,' wait until you are. Because it's going to get tough, it's going to be really tough, the competition is intense, and your ability to turn around and everything may not be as important as who you know." "You may not have the looks, but you have the talent. There are many different things working behind the scenes that you can't get into. So keep going," said McKinney, but understand that if you're going to be involved in this, be in it, because you can't be so.

Demetria McKinney talks about a divided house, she works in Hollywood