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Vixen Chat: Tasha Smith Talks 'For Better or Worse' and New Unisex Fragrance

We know actress Tasha Smith as the neck-rolling, over-the-top character Angela Williams from Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse (and Why Did I Get Married). The TBS dramedy has returned for a second season and finds the opinionated woman and her hubby Marcus generating a lot more laughs, confronting exes and counseling their friends on their relationship woes.

On her off days, Smith doubles as a casually-styled woman, wife to entrepreneur Keith Douglas and an acting coach at Tasha Smith Actors Workshop in Los Angeles. Add to that the countless trips she takes around the country to encourage women, couples and families.

Vixen caught up with the Hollywood vet (@TashaSmith4Real) to chat about the series' second run, her newly-released unisex fragrance Us and her personal style versus her onscreen self. --Niki McGloster

VIBE VIXEN: First, I want to congratulate you because it's really awesome to see Black actresses on TV. I think that’s big for the Black community. As for your character Angela, how is your character going to change?

TASHA SMITH: Well Angela is not the one going through as much drama as she was last season. She’s more of the one helping everyone else out with their drama. Her household is more balanced right now; her and Marcus are doing really good. They're working through some of the things from last season, from her burning up the car and all that stuff. But their pretty much back on track with their marriage and it seems that everyone else relationship around them are falling apart and their the ones that are helping everyone else pull it together.

That's definitely a change.
I mean Angela got old boyfriends coming through and everything

What is Angela's fashion style?
I mean, she is a fashionista more than Tasha Smith [Laughs]. I feel like I do okay, but Angela? Oh, she’s all about fashion, hair, nails, clothes. She’s all about the trends, the trendy hair, the trendy clothes and she has to be sharp in some heels every time she steps out the door. She’s’ giving you Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian with the shoes, okay!

I’m more casual but I’m learning how to pull it up, because when you look good, you feel good, and it's something about a great heel that makes you feel sexy and fabulous. That’s how Angela is and I’m kinda living vicariously through her and taking on some of her fashion traits because I used to be in flip-flops and Birkenstocks. Seriously, I used to wear Birkenstocks and flip-flops and UGGs all the time. It was always about comfort to me but between [playing] Angela and my husband, I pull it together and throw on a heel even when I’m not on the red carpet.

Overall, how much of Angela is Tasha?
Well they’re both loud [Laughs]. Other than that, some of the things Angela does, I would never do have done. I would never burn up no car, clothes. I would never go to that extreme like Angela is extreme. She goes crazy; she doesn't have that barometer in her that goes, 'You should not do this girl,' that inner voice that stops her from going too crazy.

Will we see Angela soften up a bit more this season.
Yea she’s not going to be soft but I’m going to say she’s going to be funny, and silly, and fun.  You know not mean and angry all the time. She's funny, she’s silly, she has a little bit of that I Love Lucy energy. She’s always getting herself in trouble and trying to find a way to get herself out of it, and that something that's cool and fun. She’s more of a comedic relief, not so dramatic and so aggressive.

VV: Why did you want to come up with “Us” fragrance?
TS: I needed something that I would love. I was wearing a lot of different fragrances, and I just couldn't find the one I love. [My husband and I] went to a chemist, we got our smell down, and I’m telling you, it just smells fresh and pretty and beautiful. It also has a different note when a man wears it. It's unisex and it takes on a whole 'nother smell on a ma. I love it!

Was it difficult to create?
It was not that easy. It does take patience; you got to really put different smells together until you're really able to come up with what you love. I like things on more of a citricy, floral kind of note.  So it has a lot of that in this Us fragrance.

Do you plan on creating any other beauty products started?
Absolutely, we’re working on a body butter, body cream and body wash, because I’m all about healthy skin and using organic products. And we're working on also extending the line of fragrances as well.

Sounds exciting, do you know how soon we can expect the other products?
I’m saying within the year.

Outside from what you’re building currently, what other beauty brands do you kinda love?
I love Carol's Daughter. They have amazing face butter, and I’m just a fan. Lately, as far as my day moisturizer--Neutrogena, oil free. I found that my skin has been a little oily during the day but at night it gets a little dry, that’s why I use the face butter at night as my face cream, my night cream. During the day, I use Neutrogena oil free moisturizer. I got to tell you that stuff works really good; I would spend a lot of money on moisturizers, but that Neutrogena just works with my skin.

Lastly, one of the culture trends is the 50 shades of Grey trilogy. If there was a book called the 50 shades of Tasha, what would it be about?
I’m all about motivating to be honest with you. I would probably share a lot of the things that I’ve experience and overcame in my life in a way to be able to empower people, whether it's family, personal, relationships, social or career. Just being honest and transparent to help women to pursue life and be passionate about their life and about their future. And of course lovemaking is in that too, you know what I mean? But for me, it just wouldn't be focused on that one dimension there but I would just be about, Look, this is all the stuff that I’ve gone through, this is all the stuff I overcame.

Tune into For Better of For Worse every Friday at 9 p.m. on TBS.

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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! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #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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