The divas, and gentlemen, came out in full force for the New York City red carpet event and screening of VH1’s latest scripted series, “Daytime Divas,” starring the diva of divas Ms. Vanessa Williams. The Whitby Hotel hosted, and most of the cast including Chloe Bridges, Fiona Gubelmann, Camille Guaty, McKinley Freeman, Executive Producer Star Jones and of course the grandest diva of them all, Vanessa Williams, were at hand. Other notables included trans author/activist Janet Mock and TV personality Kelly Osbourne, who was the sweetest diva of all.
The red carpet came alive when the fashionable ladies started to arrive. And of course Star Jones’ date was her adorable little furry friend Pinky, who almost stole the show. I must say, they were all gracious, giving every last reporter an exclusive. Then came the screening of the pilot episode. The room was filled to capacity. Everyone headed downstairs to the after-party, where drinks with names inspired by the show were being served. I, myself, had me a couple of Satan’s Sisters, which is the title of the book the show is based on.
We partied the night away with the cast and special guest stars of the show. It was a night to remember, and following are my exclusive interviews with the cast of “Daytime Divas,” which can be seen Monday nights at 10 p.m. on VH1. Tune in for the drama, bitches!
Samara: How does it feel being in New York, bringing “Daytime Divas” here?Vanessa: You know, the crazy thing is seeing my picture on the side of phone booths all over the place, and people always texting me like in the subway with my image as a diva. I mean, it is a character, but it’s a lot of fun.
Tell us about your character, the diva Maxine?
Vanessa: Maxine Robinson is the producer of the daytime talk show called “The Lunch Hour.” She’s the producer, she’s the star, and she runs a pretty tight ship, but a lot of the women that she works with are always striving to be the #1 chair.
Tell us about the rest of the cast?
Vanessa: We don’t have here Tichina Arnold, who plays the stand-up comedienne Moe. We’ve got an evangelist, who the name of her character is Heather; she has an interesting story line, ‘cause one of her children is transgender, and that’s a great juxtaposition for someone who you assume would be one way and is actually a wonderful, caring mother on the other hand. We’ve got Chloe Bridges, who plays Kibby, who’s a young former child star who’s dealing with substance issues and has a special relationship with Maxine. And we’ve got Nina, who’s played by Camille, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, hardcore. And then McKinley who plays my adopted son who helps run the show.
How do you feel being back on TV?
Vanessa: It’s great. I mean … it feels like I’ve really always kind of remained, because after I finished “666 Park Ave.” I did “Royal Pains,” I did “The Good Wife,” I did “Broad City” last year. I just finished doing “Difficult People,” so I’ve been able to be in front of the camera every year.
Samara: How does it feel to be in New York?
Camille: Oh, it feels great to be in New York. It feels great to have this show finally coming out. I feel like we held on to this baby for so long, and now we can just like enjoy it. You know?
Tell us about your character.
Camille: Well, my character has the veneer of seriousness. You know, she’s smart. She’s the reporter. She’s won a Pulitzer. But this woman is very… vindictive, I should say, and scandalous, and she really does do whatever she needs to do to get what she wants.
Wow! Sounds like a diva.
Camille: She’s a diva. She’s powerful.
So you’re the Latina representing in the show, right?
Camille: I am the Latina, but you know what’s interesting? Chloe is half, but I’m full. My background is Cuban and Puerto Rican. My dad’s from Cuba. My mom was actually born here in New York, the Bronx. A little shout out to J.Lo. Same school. My mom’s older though.
Do you speak Spanish?
Camille: Yo entiendo todo, pero no puedo hablar bien. [I understand everything, but I can’t speak it well.]
Oh, wow. That was good.
Camille: Yeah, I know. I have a good accent when I say that. I practice that line a lot.
Any new projects?
Camille: I do. I actually have a project dropping the day after “Daytime Divas” premieres. June 6, “The Wedding Invitation” is coming out, which is a comedy–so funny. It’s a comedy that was produced, directed and acted by all women. All the crew was women. … Right now we’re about women in film and media; it’s kinda … we need to employ more. So I feel like with this project I wanted to become a part of it, because here we are women empowerment. You know? We need to.
Thank you so much. See you later, chica.
Camille: Thank you, chica.
Daytime Diva’s Monday’s 10 pm on VH1
Samara: How you doing Fiona? The show takes place in New York right?
Fiona: It takes place in New York.
Where do you guys shoot?
Fiona: We actually shoot in Atlanta.
So how do you feel being here in New York where the show is supposed to take place?
Fiona: Well, I mean, come on, New York is very exciting. It’s very fun. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m excited to be here. I wish the show shot here.
Where do you live?
Fiona: I live in California, in Los Angeles. Actually, I wish the show shot there.
So tell us about your character Heather?
Fiona: Heather is a conservative Christian who has very different viewpoints of everyone on the show. She is a really fascinating character, because she has issues that you’ll see in the pilot that are conflicting with her religious beliefs, and she has to make decisions in regards to her family and figure out who she is and what she believes.
And how was it working with all these divas?
Fiona: [laughs] You know, I think diva is a compliment. I mean, it’s a strong, passionate woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and that’s something I need more of. I really respect these women so much. I’m a pretty shy person. I like to just be at home. So when I’m around, and I’m watching these women command a room and speak their mind and not take shit from anybody, it’s inspiring. And they do it in a polite way. There was no drama on set. It was so much fun. I learned so much and grew as a person.
So no actual “diva” attitudes?
Fiona: No, unfortunately not. It was pretty incredible, because the entire cast … everyone’s been a lead on a series at least once, so people were like, “This is a job, I know how to behave, I know what to expect.” And that was great, ‘cause it makes 12 hour days [work], and everything went smoothly.
Do you have any other projects coming out?
Fiona: No. This is it right now. … I’m just enjoying some down time right now, and just spending time with friends and family. I was gone for about a year and a half out of town. So right now I just want to see my friends and live my life.
Mc Kinley Freeman
Samara: Tell us about your character on “Daytime Divas.”
McKinley: “Daytime Divas” follows a daytime fictional talk show, the making, both on camera and behind the scenes. Shawn Robinson, the character I play, plays the day-to-day producer of the show. Shawn’s responsibility is to make sure all the pieces are going the way they’re supposed to, which they normally don’t, and try to wrangle the people to do what they need to do, which they usually don’t. So there is always something for Shawn to be doing.
How was it working with all these divas?
McKinley: I loved it. It was easy for me. When you start with Vanessa and Tichina, Camille, Fiona, Chloe and all the fantastic guest stars we had, it’s a real cool family to be part of. For me, it’s an important show, because you have all these divas, so it’s implied that there is all this drama, which there is, and the show is about [that], but ultimately it’s these strong women coming together to have each other’s backs no matter what happens. I think it’s an important narrative that people pay attention to.
Behind behind the scenes, who is the least diva-ish one to work with?
McKinley: Hmmm. Everybody was cool. There is no one that literally stands out more than anyone else. I think when you work five months, and you’re up early, [and] you’ve been in a place for a while, there’s always times [when] things can go wrong, but we never really had any of those moments. So it’s been pretty smooth.
Anything else you’re working on?
McKinley: Yeah, I produced a movie, “ILLICIT,” [which] hit theaters in May and can be seen [on] video on demand on Comcast now, and I’m recurring on Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong” on the OWN Network, and who the hell knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow, but the goal is to stay hustling.
Daytime Diva’s Monday’s 10 pm on VH1