Vixen Chat: Bianca Lawson on ‘Teen Wolf’, Longevity, and Beauty Secrets That Keep Her Looking Ageless
If you look up the definition of “longevity,” a picture of Bianca Lawson should be next to it. She’s been in the acting game for 20 years and her resume includes roles in Saved by the Bell, Save the Last Dance and more recently, The Vampire Diaries. She’s the actress everybody knows, but can’t quite name; the supporting player that completes the story.
Today, she assumes the role of Ms. Morrell on MTV hit Teen Wolf, where she is finally the adult and not the teenager. During our Vixen Chat, we talked about what role she still wants to play, working on (another) hit show and why she doesn’t seem to age.
Has acting always been your dream?
Acting has always been my number one dream. When I was younger, I did it more just as a personal passion and school was my career. I always thought this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, but I always left the door open in case I wanted to do other things. But it’s pretty much been my number one forever.
What’s one role that you’re still dreaming of doing?
I’ve always wanted to play Cleopatra. I’m a huge Elizabeth Taylor fan and I loved her Cleopatra. I love playing strong, powerful women who own their sexuality. I’ve never played an addict and I would love to do that.
Who’s been your favorite character to play so far?
I enjoyed them all for different reasons. I have to say I loved this miniseries for Showtime called Feasts of All Saints. That’s probably one of my favorites because it was so different from anything I’d gotten to do and I got to spend time with Anne Rice which was like a dream.
If you could spend a day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’ve always been fascinated with Einstein, so I’d love to chat with him and pick his brain. The one person if I could spend time with would probably be my grandmother who passed when I was one.
For those who don’t watch, what is the premise of Teen Wolf?
The story of Teen Wolf is about owning your own power and coming into yourself. We all have these callings where we have to step up and be a larger version of ourselves. Scott (Tyler Posey) has to make that transition from a boy to a man who has great responsibility. I think it’s a really powerful message. My character is the guidance counselor and a lot of other things that are going to be revealed. Her and a couple of other characters are keeping the balance between good and evil.
What are your thoughts on the supernatural?
I feel there is so much more going on beyond our senses. I don’t know if anyone knows for sure, but I definitely feel like there’s much more to this existence that we encounter in a human way. Nature itself is so miraculous. Birth is miraculous—a human being grows inside your stomach. That’s magical to me!
What is it like working behind the scenes on Teen Wolf?
Every set is different, but this particular set is fantastic. Not that I have been on any bad sets, but there’s always a different vibe because people have different energies. It just seems like everyone is so excited and believes in what they’re doing. I’m not there everyday and I’m not someone who puts myself in the position to give advice, but if anyone were to ever come to me, I’d happily do that.
You’ve been acting for over twenty years. What’s the key to longevity?
I don’t know if there’s a key to it. I just felt like I had no other choice. There was never any other options for me. There was never a plan B. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t do it. I never had a master plan. You have little goals along the way, but I think longevity in anything requires endurance.
When you’re not on TV, what are you watching?
I just did a binge of Orange is the New Black. When it was the last episode, I was like “Noooo!” (laughs). I’m also a big fan of Homeland and House of Cards. It’s easier for me to catch up on things on Netflix or On Demand. Some much time passes where I can’t watch TV, so I have to catch it on an off day.
We’re convinced you don’t age. What’s you’re secret?
That’s very sweet! I definitely think genetics play a huge factor. I don’t really have a routine or regimen and I think that’s the secret—the simpler, the better. I’ve been using the same products since high school. I feel like the more you leave yourself alone, the better. When people are constantly changing products and doing what the ‘new’ thing is—it drives your skin, hair and body crazy. Stick with what’s working and listen to your body. I’ve always been a water drinker. My mom never had soda and stuff in the house. I’m allergic to sunscreen so I don’t avoid the sun, but I don’t dwell in it.
What are some of those products you use?
I have really sensitive and dry skin, so I use Cetaphil cream cleanser. I’m a big fan of aloe vera. My mom had an aloe plant when I was younger and we used that for everything.
Have you had a set of actor friends throughout your career?
I’m definitely someone who isn’t on the scene. I have the same friends I’ve had for years. I have a couple of friends in the industry, but not a ton of actor friends. I go to work, I do my job and if a relationship develops organically, those are the longer lasting ones. I’ve got my same little group that I’ve had for 20+ years.
What’s coming up next for you?
I have a film I produced that’s going to air on Lifetime. I’m excited because that was the first time I was the lead where you’re in every scene and it was so rewarding. And as a producer, I got to be involved with decisions in a way that I had never been before.
Will it be your typical Lifetime-type of movie?
It was written specifically for Lifetime, so it’s definitely got that tone. It’s about domestic violence, and being a young woman. I would love to do more producing. It gives you a little more control. It’s a really fulfilling creative experience for me.
What advice can you give to brown girls looking to join the acting world?
Absolutely believe in yourself. In all situations, nothing is perfect. I wouldn’t focus anything that’s perceived as lack or how many roles don’t go to black actresses. Have tunnel vision. Don’t think of what’s wrong. Think how can I change this? How can I create something for myself? Don’t try to meld yourself into what’s ‘successful.’ Know what’s interesting or different about you and own that. Eventually, people will come around. Surround yourself with supportive people who will remind you what you’re original goal was. It’s easy to get caught up and frustrated.