Meagan Good: More Than Just Hollywood's Siren
Your mind's immediate response to Meagan Good may register her as a sexy siren. More times than not, audiences instantly assimilate any of the star's new character roles to her previous acts as an enchanting seductress or dangerous temptress. But there seems to be a veil wrapped around the Hollywood veteran that hides the complexities of each new venture. Despite film after film alongside some award-winning entertainers, audiences fail to connect the grown up Good with her dramatic, breakout performance in Eve’s Bayou or recognize her ability to channel and relate to each woman's story.
Psuedo-acting experts are only checking for Meryl Streep-style depth and Viola Davis-esque passion, but Good harps on paving a lane that speaks to young women, even if it's in more sexually-driven ways. It seems that we wish to solely identify the brown-skinned beauty as the young girl trying to buy ice cream from Friday’s Big Worm, but at an ever-youthful and quite stunning 30 years old, the Los Angeles-born thespian looks to expand her well of talent by recording with the H.E.L.L.O Girls and assuming more leading lady performances.
On a recent Thursday, the confident Californication star hopped on the line following a trip to Sundance, giving us a true glimpse at her life’s new chapter. As she turns the page, she dishes about a new level of self-actualization, her hopes to star in a Whitney Houston biopic and the one time she might have went crazy over love. – Niki McGloster
Cover Photo Credit: Giuliano Bekor/CPi Syndication
VIBE VIXEN: How was Sundance?
MEAGAN GOOD: It was really good. I mean, I didn't get a chance to see a whole lot of movies or do a whole lot 'cause Learning Uncle Vernon had me pretty tied up, but it was great. The movie turned out excellent. I'm even hearing conversations about Common and the younger boy, Michael [Rainey Jr.], for Oscar buzz.
Nice! Now, last year word was buzzing about the girl group H.E.L.L.O Girls. Fast forward and tell me how the music coming along now.
I always said that I didn't want to sing because I wanted to be considered a very serious actress, not an entertainer, but singing is a passion of mine, rapping is a passion of mine, and in the way that we decided to do it, it's very fun. We're not taking ourselves too seriously, and our vibe is kind of like Beastie Boys mixed with Gwen Stefani. We kind of just do what we want to do; that's what I love about it. The music is fun, and I think that the audience that we’re trying to reach will definitely be receptive to it. It’s not negative; it’s not saying ‘Boy, you want me’ and all this other crazy stuff. It’s about girls having fun and respecting themselves and being fly, doing their thing.
Your character on Showtime's Californication is a singer as well. Did you identify with this role more because of that?
Well, she’s a very different girl in a different place than I am at. This young woman, Kali, she basically wants to pursue her dreams and her goals, but she’s had a rough time and now she’s determined to make it. I didn’t focus so much on the singing as much as I focused on trying to bring the truth of who this character is and not trying to judge her.
How was it starring in eight episodes alongside David Duchovny?
Awesome. Our birthdays are actually two days apart, and we get along famously. I mean, just good chemistry. He's a really good guy, really funny and quirky. He just made it very easy and made me very comfortable.
It’s no surprise that you’re so grounded in your faith. With this show being so wildly open and sexual, especially between you and Duchovny, how do you prepare for the intimate scenes to balance your strong morals off camera?
I think that they're natural things. I think that, for me, it's about portraying a character creatively and artistically as an actress. I believe that God has gifted me as an actress and intends for me to use that gift, but He also intends for me to use it to glorify him. So, if I'm playing the most perfect, religious girl then nobody gets anything out of it. It’s like being a Christian and only hanging out in church. When I play a character, I try not to judge her because ultimately it's about where she ends up and what she learns from the journey, no matter what happens along the journey. Does she become a better person?
Jumping into a bit of Oscar talk, what role would you want to play in the future to gain Oscar-worthy attention?
I want to do Whitney Houston's life story. I think that would be an incredible story to do. I talked to Whitney a little bit about it, and she's open to it, so I want to see what happens with that. Hopefully, in the very, very near future. She has Sparkle coming out, and I've heard good things about it already. I heard she looks beautiful, she sounds beautiful, she looks healthy and she's the Whitney that we know and love. And so I think that would be a great place for her story to end and really just be beginning, if they were to do her life story right now.
Playing Whitney would be a heavy task. If you do get the role, how would you prepare for something so major?
I'm definitely a Whitney fan, and I have been since I was a little girl. Me and her are both Leos, so we very much vibe out the same way; we understand the same things. You know, I'm a Christian first above everything. I don't believe in basing my life on the stars because it says in the Bible not to do that, but I do believe that characteristics of different signs are very true to the person's personality. I think me and her are very similar in that way. I definitely understand her.
Nice. Well, you know Brandy made a statement recently expressing that nobody could play Whitney like she could play Whitney. Would there be a competition between you two for this role?
No, I love Brandy. I've known Brandy since I was 10 years old, and it's kind of one of those things. When they did the Dorothy Dandridge story, Janet [Jackson] wanted to do it, Halle [Berry] wanted to do it and I think Whitney might've wanted to do it too. There were quite a few people, and I really think it's just about getting it done. Hopefully, whoever does end up doing it, people will be receptive to that person.
Out of all the roles that you've played, which character do you identify with the most?
I identify, to a certain degree, with almost every character that I've played. I think I've felt the most connected to is this character that I'm playing in Think Like A Man because she's so optimistic and so hopeful for the best. She's a little bit naive and very much close to who I was at 22.
So you feel that she's learning those same lessons that you've already learned?
Um, yeah. I'm not as naive as the character is and, with guys, I've always been extremely cautious. My father and my mom separated when I was four and, of course you always have a lot of residue over that when you're a young woman, so I was always on the defense. I was never as naive as her, but I was equally optimistic.
Alongside this particular cast, what are some of the things you took away from any of the other women on set?
Well, the reason I love Gabby [Union] so much is because we did Deliver Us From Eva together almost 10 years ago, and she really took me under her wing. She went to the head of Sony/Screen Gem and she said to him, 'Clint, this girl is really talented. I really want you to start working with her. I really want you to help her out.' In this industry, especially in this industry with Black folk regarding Black women, it's very rare where another Black woman will go to bat for you and want you to get a job knowing that you guys could possibly be going up for the same role. And that's the type of person that Gabrielle is. She's an honest and genuine person, a real lover and she went to bat for me. All those [Screen Gem] movies kind of came from that one relationship that Gabrielle introduced me to. It's not that she taught me something in particular, but she showed me that there are good women out there that are not catty and that actually want to see you succeed.
Sticking with the theme of the film, when did you get to a place where you were fed up with men and their games?
I've been fortunate enough to be able to play the game like the boys do. By the grace of God, I haven't had a whole lot of bad luck, but it's because I've been so guarded. I really just try to keep God first, so that's kept me out of a lot of pit holes. There's nothing that I've really done that I regret. I've made maybe one mistake that I could [handled] differently, but that's pretty good for being 30 years old and I lost my virginity when I was 19, so I feel pretty confident that I've done well in my relationships. I really haven't had to play the games because, with the guys, my mom made me so abreast to what's going on that I was able to bypass a lot of BS.
As much as what you're saying is true, women aren't always at that place. Was there a time when you just got caught up in love and couldn't just walk away?
You know, I've definitely had a first love and a second love. [Laughs] I've definitely been very much in love more than once, but I really value myself too. I try not to lose myself in the relationship. I think when you start to compromise yourself, that's when you get married. That's what that's appropriate for. I think it's good to compromise in general in relationships, but I don't believe that you should compromise yourself fully until you're partnering with someone on that marriage level.
Have you been in a relationship that made you crazy, similar to your character as Parker on The Game?
Yes. Yes I have. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Okay, how was that?
I mean, when you find yourself walking out on the side of freeway in a different state at three o'clock in the morning because someone has pissed you off, and you are completely convinced that you're walking to the airport that is ove an hour away, you've pretty much lost your marbles there. [Laughs]
Yeah, that's way out there, but you don't seem like you have the Jazmine Sullivan in you.
Yeah, I'm not crazy like I'll bust the windows out your car. I don't like to be vindictive, but I am the type of person that'll be like, 'You know what? Nigga forget you, and I'll be on my own!' [Laughs] I'm one of those people who will mentally check out when I get so mad.
Okay, Miss! Now, you just turned 30, but you look like you're pushing a cool 25. What's the secret?
You know, my mom and my dad look fairly young now too. My mom always taught me as a young girl to stay with over-the-counter products, so I've been using Clearasil since I was a teenager. The only thing I use that's not over-the-counter is eye creams. There's this one, Peter Thomas Roth, and it is incredible. It takes the bags away, it takes dark circles away, it makes it so smooth under my eyes. It trips me out how good this eye cream is. Then, I'm trying to make healthier choices when I eat, I'm trying to work out a little bit and I'm trying to drink more water. You know, the usual things. Mainly, I try to stick to a facial regimen that I do morning and night. At this point, it's about being preventive. Everything I do from here on out is about keeping it the way that it is.
Do you find yourself taking the natural route often, or do you enjoy getting glam and putting on makeup?
You know what, it's weird. When I turned 30, it was like this light clicked on in my head and I was like, I feel more attractive without makeup. I've been wearing makeup since I was a teenager because I was in the industry and obviously they do makeup on you day in and day out. You learn all these tricks, and you become addicted to doing all these different things. But I don't know what it is. Basically, [at 30] was the first time that I really looked at myself and said, I'm really happy with all of me. I feel good about every part of me. I stopped wearing makeup altogether for a couple months, then more recently I started putting on a little but of eyeliner and concealer here and there for meetings.
I'm glad you that you talk about natural beauty because there's a definite change to women embracing their natural states and being confident in who they are effortlessly. Women are redefining themselves, in some ways, but how do you see women specifically redefining themselves in relationships and success?
Well, I don't know. One thing I don't like is the mentality that's kind of evolved in the last 10 years. I know there's a double standard when it comes to men and women, in terms of how they go into relationships. You know, guys can hook up with whoever they want and they're just guys. Girls hook up with whoever they want and they're H-O's. That's always bothered me, but one thing I've learned over time is that we are women. Ultimately, when it comes to sex, the anatomy [of a guy makes us] the submissive ones to a certain degree. And I think that women need to value their bodies more and value what they allow and who they allow to do that to them. I think that's the one thing that I don't like that's kind of been redefined in the last couple of years. It's this 20th century woman who can do things like a man, and I think, from a business standpoint, sure, but when it comes to physically, I think that we should value ourselves more.
It's said that throughout your 20s, you make the mistakes and in your 30s you learn from those mistakes. Since you recently made it to this new chapter, what do you feel as though you're just beginning to learn from your younger self?
Oh, gosh, so much. I learned that I need to really keep my eye on the prize which is God and not worry so much about what other people think of me. And if I keep my eye on the prize, people will think what they need to think of me, good or bad. I've learned to love myself more. I've learned to really be okay with any imperfection that I have physically. I've learned to forgive myself for any mistakes I've made. I've learned to love other people for who they are. I've learned to accept people for who they are. I've learned more about what my purpose is and what I'm most passionate about. Um… what else? I don't know, definitely for me, I think 30 has really been life-changing, as far as how I perceive the world and how I perceive those around me and how I perceive myself. I've never had so much peace of mind, and I've never been so overly confident and I've never been so content with the journey. And I just feel good.