Dont let the pretty face fool you at least thats how the old saying goes. Too bad some of the characters on The Wire didnt know better when baby-faced Snoop rolled up on them. The benefactor of the seemingly innocent smile that masks the world-weary teen assassin is Baltimore native Felicia Snoop Pearson. The 20-something may often be mistaken for a high-school student, but her hard knock life experiences have blessed her with ageless wisdom.
Even more compelling than her characters storyline is Snoops own life story. Born pre-maturely to drug-addicted, incarcerated parents, Snoop was raised by a Foster Grandmother. She was dealing drugs by age 12, and was imprisoned at age 14 for an eight-year bid. Snoop attained her G.E.D. and was released after serving six years. While she aspired to be a rapper, she didnt necessarily have a major plan for her next moves.
Although shed never watched The Wire, Snoop was discovered in a Baltimore nightclub through a chance run-in with actor Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar Little on the show. Her role as Marlo Stansfields androgynous soldier in Season Three eventually led to speaking parts, and her thick Murdamore mumble became the talk of fans everywhere as Season Four developed.
While AllHipHop.com has been down with sinister character since day one, we finally got our chance to have a talk with the real-life lady about a number of interesting topics. Shes paid her dues early in life, is paying dues in entertainment, and is paying it all forward by speaking to kids about the importance of education and focus. While Snoop didnt want to drop too much information on her upcoming roles, she did mention that shes going to be making her rap debut in the near future. But thats off the record so read on for what we can tell you!
AllHipHop.com: Snoop was a character that came on initially as a silent threat, then in Season Four you had a much bigger role. Tell us a little about how you got your personal experiences involved in helping you develop the character.
Felicia Snoop Pearson: Im from the hood, and I know what everybodys lookin for. I know how people down here do that slang and how they carry themselves [with] that swagger, period. My swagger is all the same, so it was just half me [and] half the character.
AllHipHop.com: You had a rough childhood, and really had to grow up very fast. Do you feel like you never really got to be a kid?
Snoop: I dont know, I mean thats probably why I like to joke and smile now. I had a childs life a little bit from like five on up to 10. Thats when life just started changing. I always played and joked around, but I was just one of them serious kids where you [couldnt] play too much or Ima get serious.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people who had to go to prison young, or grew up too fast and had a rough life – as they get older, that child starts to come out more. They have a more playful side and enjoy life in a different way
Snoop: You already done been through so much, you gettin older now. Why waste your life doing the same ol bulls**t that didnt get you nowhere?
AllHipHop.com: With the fourth season of The Wire, there were some things that were shocking to people who dont understand the streets of Baltimore, or really any major urban city streets. The really young kids being involved in drug running and murder or what have you. Was there ever anything in the script that surprised you or kind of made you go Wow?
Snoop: No, people keep saying The Wire is harsh – The Wire is just being reality. It can be more harsh, because the writers and producers know some harsh things, but I dont think the public is ready for that. They souped it up a little bit, but theyre letting you know this is the future. If you dont get a hold on the future then its a wrap. Old people, even people in their 30s or whatever, aint coming outside. Theyre gonna be scared to come outside.
AllHipHop.com: Snoop doesnt show a lot of emotion overall, but there was one scene where Chris kills Michaels stepfather because of the child molestation issue. Snoops face was just like Oh my God – like you couldnt even believe that that much rage came out of him. What was going through your mind during that scene?
Snoop: That scene right there wasnt even an act for me, because the way that they did it was surprising to you. I was like Dang he looks real, the dummy looked real. Im like God damn, they could make this happen like this? Thats crazy. The facial expressions that they used, that wasnt fake right there.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned people will say The Wire is too harsh. Considering youre one of the few [actors on the show] that actually grew up in that environment, how does it make you feel to have that stuff come to light, and be criticized like this isnt real?
Snoop: It is what it is – everybody has their opinions about everything. People dont agree with a lot of things. Me coming from the streets, I already know that its reality. I already know how Baltimore could get sickening, [and] its not even just Baltimore, its everywhere. If people go to Chicago just anywhere across the globe, its happening in Jamaica, its happening everywhere. The Wire is just making it reality, its letting the President or somebody know, Hey you gotta grip on the world, period. Its sickening,
I think that was a good thing that they did showing the schools – some teachers dont care and some teachers do. I had a couple of them like that, that dont even care about you, theyre just there for a paycheck. They just partied on Sunday, coming in on Monday with a hangover, they dont feel like doing [anything].
AllHipHop.com: How has the reaction been for you as a new star – to experience that love from people?
Snoop: I love it. Everybody [says] Is it scary because you blew up overnight? I say, Man I been a star in the hood, now Im nationwide.
AllHipHop.com: As far as your next roles coming up, what do you have planned? I know youre in Killa Season 2
Snoop: Yeah, I really cant speak on it right now, but I have a lot of things thats poppin off for me. Everyone just wait and see, I love people doubting me thinking I cant do this or that because Im fresh in the game. Thats what I live off of, Im from the streets. You get your energy and everything off of [being] hated. I dont wanna be typecast.
AllHipHop.com: Youve been very open about your sexuality, who you are and your background. Have you ever thought of bringing your life story to the forefront?
Snoop: [laughs] Yeah, I thought about it. Ive been this way all my life, if my grandmother accepts me, I dont care about the world or whoever else dont accept me. As long as she accepts me I feel good about myself. N***as bleed just like me, girls bleed just like me. Love me or hate me, or leave me the hell alone.
AllHipHop.com: If somebody comes to you with a role and they say, Okay Snoop, were gonna put a weave in your hair and we want you to wear this miniskirt, would it freak you out?
Snoop: Nah, because Im going to school right now, for my walking, talking and everything. For me to come out my character or whatever, just have the money right and Ima do it. It aint nothin but acting.
AllHipHop.com: Was there ever a movie that you saw when you were young that made you say, I want to be an actor?
Snoop: Menace II Society, I wanted to be O-Dog.
AllHipHop.com: If you could go back and cast yourself in a role thats not in a hood movie, what would it be?
Snoop: Set It Off, its kind of hood but its like half and half. [Movies like] Scarface and Menace all got the same thing going on. I wanted to be one of the Black actors and get it on and poppin. Like a Black Scarface, Boyz N The Hood, everything in the hood. People be so interested, and thats why it blows up. If you got a hood movie and everybody say its right, they comin out. You makin money off of that.
AllHipHop.com: Michael K. Williams told us he didnt really care about being typecast in roles as long as he was getting checks, he cares about eating.
Snoop: Me, Im worried about the checks, but you also gotta figure out what type of movie you gotta get in. Say they pay you $20,000 to do this movie and the movie is bulls**t. Then your fans start going down and your credit starts going down like, She was in that, I aint like that. You think this one will be alright? Im just tryna stay hot, I aint tryna look for anything, Im also tryna get money – everybodys tryna get money. Thats how you fill your stomach up and pay your bills. Im not tryna get into no crappy movie, Im tryna be in something thats hot and keeps me hot and shows my abilities on the screen.
AllHipHop.com: How does it make you feel to know that you have young fans who look up to you?
Snoop: I just thank God and hope that I can change two of em. I aint sayin I can change the whole population of my fans. I just pray that they listen and believe what I say out my mouth because the streets aint right. My story – I hope that it just changes a few peoples mind frames so they can get the education I never got. I had to get mine in the penitentiary. I got it, but it was the way I went about it. Get it while its good, because you cant scrub a toilet or nothing without a diploma. Back in the day I remember everybody had housekeeping jobs and all that, now you need a diploma to get a housekeeping job and its just crazy. You need a diploma saying you got something.
What Ive noticed now is since Ive been a part of the show, Season Four they gave me a big part, elderly people see me in Target, Wal-Mart, the mall, wherever I go and they just pull me up like, Oh my God, you look scary on TV but you so sweet in person and I be like Thank you. [Laughs] They be like I think you could be my granddaughter or something – I be like Aight, thats whats up.