Malinda Williams: This Woman’s Worth, Pt 2

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. I’m 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]. She’s definitely my favorite. I got to really put my heart and soul into her.

AHHA: When it comes to watching television, I understand you’re 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 don’t like the shows because they’re non-scripted and don’t really call for actors. I think it’s 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 I’m definitely not mad at reality TV.

AHHA: Survivor?

Malinda: Oh Survivor? Now that’s a different story. [laughs] I’m 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? They’re 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 don’t support it.

I thought Survivor was great when they were just having “survival of the fittest” basically. But I don’t think you should take one whole group of people and say, “Well let’s see who’s the strongest, and let’s see who’s the smartest, and let’s see who can survive.” I just think that’s perpetuating something that doesn’t 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 I’m just very careful with the choices I make. I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere. I’m not trying to like go from A to Z. I think if I’m going to have longevity in this business, I can take it slow and easy. They say slow and steady wins the race. That’s where I am at this point. I’m 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. That’s 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. What’s your own beauty product that you use religiously that keeps you looking so young?

Malinda: [laughs] You know it’s 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, I’ve 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. I’ve tried other beauty products and of course I’ll use shea butter and I use anti-wrinkle serums but that’s 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. That’s 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 what’s 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 that’s 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, I’m not sure. I definitely want to do a book that’s 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 I’ve found contribute towards beauty.

AHHA: What’s one gadget that you can’t live without?

Malinda: Something that people don’t know about me is that I’m such a nerd. I’m a complete “almost-techie.” I know everything about web design, the latest gadgets, the fairs, seeing what’s new and what’s coming out next. Really my favorite gadget is my iPod; I don’t go anywhere with out it. But then my PDA, my phone, those are things that I don’t know what I would do…like if there was a reality show that said, “Ok we’re gonna take away all of your gadgets for three months and put you in a house without gadgets,” I’d be perfect for that show because you’d 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: It’s 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, she’s gonna be Malinda.” So that’s actually where he got my name from.

AHHA: Speaking of fathers, let’s talk about your new movie Daddy’s Little Girls. How would you describe your character Maya?

Malinda: Maya is interesting because I tried to find this girl who was completely normal. She’s a Paralegal. She works for Gabrielle Union’s character, who is an attorney and it’s 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 Union’s character is very crisp; she’s 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 woman’s 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 people’s lives. I could sit here and say from my point of view that there aren’t enough fathers versus dads and it would be unfair, because I really don’t know. The only dad I can truly speak of is my own father. When someone asks me if my son’s father is a good father, you have to ask the boy that. You can’t ask me, because he’s 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 what’s going on in the world in terms of the military?

Malinda: [sighs] Wow. Just hearing the President’s State of the Union speech disheartens me that he’s sending 22,000 additional troops to the Middle East. I certainly don’t want to see any more bloodshed, whether it be from Americans or foreign people. I don’t 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 didn’t. 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 don’t fully understand the inner workings of what’s going on and why we are truly at war. People speculate and there’s things that we’re being fed as to why they are over there, but I don’t think we truly know why they are over there dying. I know one thing that I believe is that it’s 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 people’s lives at stake.

AHHA: Are you involved in any political organizations?

Malinda: I’m 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 I’m 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 you’re 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 you’re more naïve and more carefree like, “That doesn’t have anything to do with me.” Whereas when you get older you’re 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 don’t 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, what’s next for you?

Malinda: I’m 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. We’re looking to produce some films. I think that’s gonna be next for me!