rutina wesley rutina wesley
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 09: Rutina Wesley attends the Audi Golden Globes Weekend Cocktail Party held at Cecconi's Restaurant on January 9, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Vixen Virginity: Rutina Wesley on Her 'Firsts'

The big day is right around the corner and True Blood uber-fans are certainly waiting at the edge of their seats for the premiere to drop. Vixen chatted with True Blood star Rutina Wesley about her experiences as an actress and the countdown to the last days of the vampire phenomenon. The final season will premiere on Sunday June 22 and we can't wait.

Wesley a.k.a Tara Thorton got candid for our “Vixen Virginity” rundown, where we discussed some cherished childhood moments and some, well, mortifying ones. Scroll through to learn more about the saccharine sweet starlet behind the hot-tempered character. 

All Photo Credit(s): Getty Images

rutina wesley

How was your experience filming 13 sins?

It’s a horror film based on this game that has 13 challenges and each challenge is different than the next. Each challenge gets progressively harder. I play Mark Webber’s wife in the film. We go on to play this game to try to win money. So the film is about seeing what lengths people will go to get what they need fore their loved ones and for survival. It’s real life and we’re dealing with real issues throughout the film. Like, he has a racist father. There’s a mentally challenged brother we deal with. There’s a bunch of elements thrown in there and then it’s kind of scary on top of that. It’s a little bloody too.

Do you think someone would play the game?

 I thought about that. Like, what lengths would people go to get something they really want. I think that there are actually people who would play the game. It’s easy to get sucked in because you do the first challenge and then you do the second challenge. Then you get to a point where you’re like well I got this far

Do you enjoy doing horror films most? Would you consider doing other types of films? 

I’m kind of up for all forms and different types of genres. For me, I just want to be able to tell a good story and work with good people and create things. So I don’t have a particular genre that I want to do. I think the next thing I want to do is a romantic comedy. That’s something that I’ve been dying to do.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the last season of True Blood and I have another film called Last Weekend—I’m not sure when that will be coming out; it’s running the festival circuit. So just True Blood for now and I excited, but also sad about it. Things are going pretty steady.

 

rutina wesley 

VIXEN VIRGINITY: MY FIRST…

First time being fired from a job

I’ve never really been fired from a job. My first experience in the business was this job that I did for The Color Purple and I didn’t get to go on to the Broadway production. I had just got that job right out of college. It was my first big job and I was very new and so there were a couple of things as an actor and as a singer that I didn’t get to work on and so because of those things I wouldn’t go on to do the Broadway production of it and I was so hurt. It was a big deal for me to do it because it’s like one of my favorites of all time. To not continue on with the production was a huge blow to my ego. I learned a big lesson like you shouldn’t hold on to things too much because you never know when it can be taken from you. I will never forget that.

First acting experience

 I did a musical at a community theater when I was about 10-years-old. I remember I said my line and everyone laughed and I thought to myself, “I think I want to do this.”

First fan moment

It might have been when I met Rihanna for the first time. I completely and utterly geeked out and little did I know she likes True Blood and she was kind of geeking out too and it was kind of cool. I love her music, I think she’s awesome and she’s like this fashion icon, so just to see her as just Rihanna it a bit much. I had to tell myself “Rutina Wesley, calm down.”

First stan moment

The biggest stan moment for me was when we went to Comic Con in Sand Diego. There was a girl who was a fan and she got to me in the autograph line. She was like “I sold all my stuff to get her and to meet you.” Then she started crying and then I ws crying. It was serious. She was seriously just saying  “I love the show and I love you so much.” She was shaking and I was holding her hand and I will never forget that moment. Looking in her eyes and seeing how much it meant to her for her to be there. Being an actor, I’ve dreamed about being able to move people. It makes me feel good inside. It was an amazing moment to experience that with her.

rutina wesley

First love

I’m going to go back to puppy love. He lived like down the street from me. He was like five feet and I was taller than him. He was so short. And we always called him “Little Leon.” He’s still a good friend of mine. We were like inseparable. It was so funny to see us together because I was really tall and skinny and he was short. It would be like two peas in a pod. As we grew up, he went one way and I went another, but we always remained friends and until this day, my grandmother still lives there and his mom still lives in the house he grew up in, so I still get to see his mom and family. It’s nice to have that.

First break up 

I was with this really cute boy named Micah and he broke up with me on the bus and everyone made fun of me. I was so embarrassed because he was really cute and I remember thinking like “Oh my god, he actually likes me.” We were only boyfriend and girlfriend for two weeks. I remember everybody just egging him on. I was probably insecure at the time and that didn’t help. I think I cried in front of everyone.

First Spluge

I bought some diamonds. I bought some ice.

First bestie

I have a dear friend named Larrisa. She’s still one of my good friends. We stayed in touch throughout this entire time. We’ve gotten closer over the years. She’s someone that I always know is consistent. She never changes. I depend on her to be who she is and I’m very grateful for her.

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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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