Stephanie Beatriz Stephanie Beatriz
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE -- "Tactical Village" Episode 119 -- Pictured: Stephanie Beatriz as Diaz -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Vixen Chat: ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ Actress Stephanie Beatriz on Andy Samberg and a Single Girl’s Guide to L.A.

Each year, the TV and film awards season is sprinkled with red carpet recaps, predicted winners and the occasional surprise. This year, that surprise was Brooklyn Nine Nine. Led by SNL alum Andy Samberg and featuring a slew of familiar and new faces, the Fox comedy pulled an amazing feat with two Golden Globe wins and a fleet of new fans.

Vixen had the chance to chat with fierce female lead Stephanie Beatriz on her kickass role, being star struck at the Globes and why Los Angeles is still a must-see city.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

 Stephanie Beatriz

VIBE Vixen: You have a theatre degree from Stephens College, which happens to be a women’s school. How much of an influence does your single sex education have on you today?

S: I can definitely say that it had an effect on me. It was very women-centric and a very positive environment. Not only was I surrounded by other artists that were women, but we all had voices and were allowed to share those voices and opinions.  For me, it was just the right thing at the right time. I come from Texas, which has the reputation of being kind of close minded.

What was the first movie or play that really inspired you to be an actress?

A Little Princess--my sister and I could not get enough of it. We ran the tape into the ground back in the VHS days because it was so beautiful and moving. I know the story and I’ve seen the Shirley Temple version, but Alfonso’s [Cuaron] version was so magical. I just remember thinking, “I want to do that--to make other people feel those feelings.”

Explain Brooklyn Nine Nine to those who don’t watch.

It is a The Office style comedy…a workplace comedy. It is about all these detectives that work in this office and all their personalities are different. They are forced to be together at work, but on top of the comedy stuff, you have the action side of being a police officer, which is really fun. If you ever watched Parks & Recreation then you know the vibe.

Tell us about your character.

Rosa--I would describe her as a completely unapologetic bad ass.  She is really tough; a woman of very few words. The character description is tough, sexy and scary as hell. She is really like a beast, which is great as a woman to play that kind of part because you don’t see that very often.

What is it like working alongside SNL alum Andy Samberg?

Andy is extremely focused and really smart. He’s always working hard to make the script better. He never stops…I never know when he rests. He makes it look like he is this funny goofy guy, but that is coming from a really planned smart place. He’s also a sweet guy—and humble and absolutely driven in his art form.

Stephanie Beatriz

Why should we be watching?

Brooklyn Nine Nine is hella entertaining. It’s this little universe in which you will see a lot of people that you already know--a lot of those characters are elements of people that you know already. You work with them, you know them and they’re your friends. All of the people who work in that office are slightly messed up, but embrace each other’s weird sh*t. It is just so fun to watch.

Another thing that I love about it is that different types of people watch it. I had a girl come up to me in Disneyland and was like, “Oh my God, Rosa-- me and boyfriend watch the show all the time.” It’s not a girl show or guy show.

So it’s a show for everyone?

Yes, I hate to sound cheesy, but I don’t really care.  I stand behind it.

The show took home two awards at this year’s Golden Globes (“Best Actor” and “Best Comedy Series”). What was that day like?

It was my first award show ever. This is only my second year in LA, so it was a pretty big deal for me. I was super nervous.

What was getting ready beforehand like?

I woke up really early, all stressed out. I was lucky enough to have my best friend around who is a makeup artist. She came in from New York, did my makeup and we started early in the morning. It was very surreal.  I was staring at the ceiling in this limo, one of those really cheesy ones--the one with fake stars on the ceiling. I’m staring at these cheesy stars and then get a glimpse of palm trees in the window.  I’m like, “What is happening? What is this?” It was very bizarre.

Were you star struck by anyone?

Meryl Streep walked by our table. I totally freaked and it was fun (laughs).

Stephanie Beatriz

Which is easier—comedy or drama?

I don’t know if either one of them are particularly easy. I love things that have a mix of both. My favorite kind of stuff is when things feel really real and then you laugh in the middle of it. I do have a soft spot for Shakespeare and American classic plays, but I love the challenge of comedy.

What would you like to tackle next as far as your acting?

I would love to do a play on Broadway someday. I love the feeling of having a live audience there because you are sharing the experience with them. But, TV and film--it’s one product in the end and you can watch it as many times as you want. All of us have television shows that we go back to because they make us feel connected to something we felt the first time we watched it. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve seen Mean Girls (laughs).

You’ve lived in both New York and L.A. How do you feel about both?

I really love New York. It’s like a beautiful ex-boyfriend that I know is not good for me. I’ve been there and I tried it.

What do you love about L.A.?

S: The normal things like the weather. I found a really great group of friends here. The food is so delicious and healthy--well not all of it--and accessible. The vibe of the city is great. I found what I was looking for. There are a lot of creative artists and people…I find it to be an oddly spiritual place actually.

Name 3 things every single girl must when she visits L.A.

First thing- you have to go to Café Gratitude. It’s a great restaurant with a bunch of vegan food.  Just the energy of the restaurant is really lovely. It’s so L.A. to order a dish called, “I am bountiful,” or “I am beautiful.” After you eat there, you feel amazing.

Second – Pop Physique at Silver Lake, which is my favorite ballet workout. You will see all different types of people there. Not only is it an awesome ballet workout, but the music is sick!

The last thing I would say is to go to Santa Monica, rent a cruiser and just ride all the way down to Venice.  Just take in all the sights. It’s very L.A. to be riding a bike next to the beach. There is nothing like it.

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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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