Vixen Chat

Vixen Chat: Tatyana Ali Talks Panamanian Roots + Old School Beauty Remedies

Tatyana Ali began performing and acting at the tender age of four. So many remember her during Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days when she played the character Ashley Banks, but at 32, she has created her own identity. After earning a degree from Harvard University, giving back to several communities and acting as a role model for students across the country, Tatyana has resurfaced as the star of the Martin Lawrence-directed show Love That Girl.

VV caught up with star (who, by the way, loves Christian Dior) for a little girl talk as she dished about her skin care regimen, her workout routine and being back in the studio! --Krystal Holmes

In Love that Girl, you play Tyana Jones. Are you anything like that character in reality?
No [laughs]. Sometimes I kind of wish I was. Me personally, I’m a lot more reserved than Tyana. The funniest thing about Tyana is that she loves to compete with people, but me, I pretty much just compete with myself. What I do love about her and what she has actually taught me is she’s just completely fearless. She acts and then thinks afterwards. I’m totally the opposite; I think for a long time, then I make my decision, then I act. There’s something about how spontaneous she is that I really love and she’s not afraid to fall and make a mistake which I think is really admirable.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, what would you tell them about it?
It’s a coming-of-age story about a young woman in her late 20s. She’s trying to find out love, trying to balance her family, trying to live her best life and she makes a lot of mistakes along the way.

When you made an appearance on Pastport, you explored your Panamanian roots. Did you learn anything about your heritage as a woman?
That whole trip was incredible. I learned a lot about my culture, about my family, about my personal identity. Here, growing up my mother speaks Spanish as a first language.

Do you speak Spanish fluently?
I speak a fair amount. I read it and write it. My dad doesn’t speak Spanish, so it wasn’t until my grandma started living with us that we had it in the house, but I understand it a lot. Being in Panama, oh my goodness! The Black people there speak Spanish everywhere. There was this one moment when these women in this town called Portobelo, which is the oldest town of the original Panamanian ports, were singing this beautiful song with African rhythms in Spanish, welcoming me and my sister back home. The song was basically saying, ' You’ve been gone for so long, we are so happy to see you back home, welcome, welcome.' It was like a celebration song, and I was so emotional because it really did feel like I came back home.

I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Yeah, this was a totally different experience. I got to know the country for myself, have my own memories about it and then my mom and my dad flew out towards the end of the trip. It was just fantastic.

Do you think you will go back and visit more frequently now?
Yeah, I’ll go back to visit when I get a chance. I would love to get a place there that I can go visit whenever I wanted to, just get on a plane.

Are you back in the studio?
I’m in the studio playing with sounds and working with a couple of people. I’m trying to just treat it real sort of organically. I want to really contribute something different to what’s going on in music, like something really personal. There’s so many stories that I will tell.

Does it feel any different now that you are older being in the studio as opposed to when you were younger?
It feels totally different. I feel more free because it’s not my first time. Because I am older, I kind of feel like that’s where I’m at in my life right now, where I can do whatever I want. It’s a lot more fun, and I am kind of fearless in there now which is completely different from when I was younger. Back then, if you were an actor wanting to be a singer people were like, That’s wack. And because I was younger, I was worried about that. This time I could care less, and it doesn’t even matter because actors sing and singers act.


What’s your day-to-day skin care regimen?
I really like Murad, because if anything my skin is a little bit dry but I try to keep it really simple. My mom always told me the less you do the better, there are not a lot of facials, not a lot of chemicals just leave it alone.

What about the makeup, do you try to keep that natural too?
When I’m not working. You know, work makeup is something different, but when I’m not working, I try to keep it really simple. I like Kiehl's. They have this tinted moisturizer that’s really light, that’s like every day. If I want something more for night time, I use Bobbi Brown. They have great colors.

Do you have any tips on how to get rid of blemishes?
It’s kind of old school but it really works: toothpaste. Like, if you get a zit or something and you put toothpaste on it, the next day it just makes it go through the process a lot faster. I don’t know what’s in the toothpaste that does that, but it works. Another really good thing is if I have a breakout or something, I’ll steam the face in the shower or put water on a stove and use a towel to steam and it gets all the impurities out. They are all old school remedies but those are the best.

How do you stay fit?
I love spinning, it’s my favorite. It’s really intense and it’s great music. I love it! You burn like 400 to 600 calories in an hour. There’s nothing else that does that, and its just fun you know, dancing to the music really fast. So I do that, and I try to switch it up. I’ll do some palates one day or I’ll do weights the other day. I try to do it at least three days a week.

On a normal day, do you prefer jeans and sneakers or slacks and heels?
Everyday when I go out, I like jeans and heels. I love that leggings are in right now. They are the most comfortable things ever, so I’ll wear those, some high-heeled boots and a t-shirt.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET!

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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