AHHA: Out of all of your roles, which character do you relate to the most?
Malinda: 155% Bird. What was crazy was when I was doing that character, there were so many things about her that the writers would put in the script that I would sit there and think, Oh my God, do they have like a camera in my apartment? Are they watching me? Are they bugging my phone? because there were so many things that happened to Bird that happened to me or that happened similarly to what happened to me. Im the youngest of three girls, like Bird.
At the time, I was married and had a little son and was going through relationship issues. I was an entrepreneur trying to grow up and make my way in my family and also prove that I was grown without still being the baby. There were too many similarities between myself and [Bird]. Shes definitely my favorite. I got to really put my heart and soul into her.
AHHA: When it comes to watching television, I understand youre not a big fan of reality TV
Malinda: Not necessarily, I mean I watch reality TV. Absolutely. [laughs] There are some shows out there that are definitely entertaining to me. I think if somebody has a great idea for a reality show, I have no problems with it. I think sometimes we as actors dont like the shows because theyre non-scripted and dont really call for actors. I think its a way to sort of change the entertainment industry, bring different types of talent into our circle, and also generate a lot of money for our industry, so Im definitely not mad at reality TV.
Malinda: Oh Survivor? Now thats a different story. [laughs] Im not a big fan of Survivor just since they did this whole putting of races against races. When I first heard about it, I really was skeptical in the first place. I just thought, You know what? Theyre just maybe taking it too far. There are lots of ways you can go where reality is concerned, and we already have enough race problems and issues in this country and in this world without the entertainment industry perpetuating that even more. So I thought that a show like that was irresponsible, and I definitely dont support it.
I thought Survivor was great when they were just having survival of the fittest basically. But I dont think you should take one whole group of people and say, Well lets see whos the strongest, and lets see whos the smartest, and lets see who can survive. I just think thats perpetuating something that doesnt necessarily need to be perpetuated at this point.
AHHA: Since you are a survivor in the entertainment industry, how do you go about sustaining longevity in this fickle business?
Malinda: I think Im just very careful with the choices I make. Im not in a hurry to get anywhere. Im not trying to like go from A to Z. I think if Im going to have longevity in this business, I can take it slow and easy. They say slow and steady wins the race. Thats where I am at this point. Im here for the long run, and when you run a race that is a long race as opposed to a sprint, you take your time and you actually work smarter not harder. Thats what I have done and will continue to do.
AHHA: When you were in The Wood, you were well past the age of teenager, but no one would have ever known that. Whats your own beauty product that you use religiously that keeps you looking so young?
Malinda: [laughs] You know its interesting because I get asked that question all the time. Number One, I need to be honest that I really inherited the skin that I have and I inherited the aging qualities that my skin has. I inherited it from my grandmother and mother who both look very young. Number Two, Ive found the oldest secret on Earth which is water. Water flushes out things like salt, sugar, caffeine, and it keeps your pores nice and clean. Ive tried other beauty products and of course Ill use shea butter and I use anti-wrinkle serums but thats really not what does it. What really does it is water. A little bit of exercise to keep the pores clean and water.
AHHA: How many bottles of water would you say you drink a day?
Malinda: I try to drink at least a liter a day. If I get one good liter in a day, my skin is literally glowing. Thats the time when people are like, Wow. My eyes get very clear and my skin gets very dewy. Like when you just get back from vacation, my skin looks very moisturized and hydrated.
AHHA: A liter is pretty big
Malinda: You know whats crazy? My trainer wants me to do a gallon a day. I was like, Who can do a gallon? Who has that much time to keep using the bathroom? So I say a liter and thats what works for me.
AHHA: You seem to have a lot of knowledge about beauty, and I know you have your lingerie line, but are you considering a beauty line?
Malinda: You know, Im not sure. I definitely want to do a book thats sort of skewed towards beauty, but more skewed towards self-esteem, beauty, and overall health as opposed to being product-driven. But I suppose if I do that type of book, I will suggest products that I love and that Ive found contribute towards beauty.
AHHA: Whats one gadget that you cant live without?
Malinda: Something that people dont know about me is that Im such a nerd. Im a complete almost-techie. I know everything about web design, the latest gadgets, the fairs, seeing whats new and whats coming out next. Really my favorite gadget is my iPod; I dont go anywhere with out it. But then my PDA, my phone, those are things that I dont know what I would do like if there was a reality show that said, Ok were gonna take away all of your gadgets for three months and put you in a house without gadgets, Id be perfect for that show because youd see me withdraw and meltdown. [laughs]
AHHA: Speaking of the web, your theme song (Malinda by Bobby Taylor) on your website was a clever choice.
Malinda: Its actually really my theme song. My father named me after hearing that song. He was overseas and serving in the Army and my mother was pregnant at the time. He heard the song and said, If we have a girl, shes gonna be Malinda. So thats actually where he got my name from.
AHHA: Speaking of fathers, lets talk about your new movie Daddys Little Girls. How would you describe your character Maya?
Malinda: Maya is interesting because I tried to find this girl who was completely normal. Shes a Paralegal. She works for Gabrielle Unions character, who is an attorney and its set in Atlanta. I tried to find a regular girl from Atlanta who would be a Paralegal, but who would also be very interesting. In order to be an assistant like that you have to be very helpful. Gabrielle Unions character is very crisp; shes very sharp. She needs her notes, and she needs her Blackberry, and she needs her appointments.
I just tried to find the balance between this girl still being somewhat normal and trying to feed her kids and maintain normalcy and still be this womans harried assistant. I think she was interesting and very fun to play and Tyler Perry as a director was amazing to work with.
AHHA: The movie portrays a father who also assumes the responsibilities of a dad. Having a child, do you feel there are enough dads versus fathers?
Malinda: It would be unfair of me to make that kind of judgment call without really knowing what goes on in peoples lives. I could sit here and say from my point of view that there arent enough fathers versus dads and it would be unfair, because I really dont know. The only dad I can truly speak of is my own father. When someone asks me if my sons father is a good father, you have to ask the boy that. You cant ask me, because hes not my father. The only father I can speak of is my own father who is an amazing father. I think when you try to assess what a good father is, you have to ask the child.
AHHA: You said your father was in the Army. How do you feel about whats going on in the world in terms of the military?
Malinda: [sighs] Wow. Just hearing the Presidents State of the Union speech disheartens me that hes sending 22,000 additional troops to the Middle East. I certainly dont want to see any more bloodshed, whether it be from Americans or foreign people. I dont want to see anyone else dying. When I think back to potentially my father served two terms in the Vietnam War, and he was a paratrooper. My dad made it out whereas tens of thousands didnt. I could potentially not be here, let alone potentially not have my father, and I know there are so many families in that position today.
I just wish for whatever reason I know we dont fully understand the inner workings of whats going on and why we are truly at war. People speculate and theres things that were being fed as to why they are over there, but I dont think we truly know why they are over there dying. I know one thing that I believe is that its always about a bottom line and always about a dollar. War is big business, and I just wish they would find other ways to conduct big business instead of putting peoples lives at stake.
AHHA: Are you involved in any political organizations?
Malinda: Im really not into politics, but as I get older I definitely get into it more because I am a mother. Locally, I try to find out who my council people are and Im following what the governor is doing because ultimately it does affect my child, it affects his school, it affects our community. In the bigger picture, when youre dealing with the country as a whole, that does trickle down to us. We see the effects of the economy, in our employments, our health care industry. I am beginning to follow it a lot more because when you are younger youre more naïve and more carefree like, That doesnt have anything to do with me. Whereas when you get older youre like, Wow that has everything to do with me.
At this point I feel like we have a President who is sort of running the country by himself. As I understood it when I was in school, Democracy is run by the people, and I really dont feel like at this point yeah even if I go out and vote or if I have a say, I kind of feel like they do things to ensure that the power still lies with them as opposed to us, the people.
AHHA: On a happier note, whats next for you?
Malinda: Im going to try to produce a film project, a film comedy with a friend of mine. We have sort of formed a production company, Terri J. Vaughn and myself. Were looking to produce some films. I think thats gonna be next for me!