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Vixen Exclusive: Jodi Lyn O'Keefe Talks 'Hit the Floor' and Lessons Learned from Hollywood

Jodi Lyn O'Keefe has quite the resume. Her first gigs were roles in 90s series Another World and Nash Bridges. Shortly after, she played an unforgettable role of a snarky Taylor Vaughn in the cult teen classic She's All That alongside Freddie Prinze Jr in 1999. Since then, Jodi has flexed her acting skills on plenty television shows and films including Charmed, Halloween H20, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Prison Break just to name a few.

Today she plays Lionel Davenport, a hell-raising A-list actress and ex-wife of Pete Davenport on VH1’s popular series Hit the Floor. In other words, a boss. Unlike the mean-girl characters she is known for playing, Jodi Lyn is one of the sweetest and humblest entertainers around. Last week, she chopped it up with VIBE Vixen to give us some insight on Lionel, what Hollywood has taught her over the past two decades, and what its like behind the scenes of Hit The Floor.

Photo Credit: VH1, Tony Donaldson, Instagram

Jodi Lynn O'Keefe

VIBE Vixen: How do you feel about joining the cast of Hit the Floor?

Jodi: I feel really lucky, it's been a really great experience for me. I was nervous at first because the cast has already been together for a year and they have such great camaraderie, so it's hard to be the new guy. However, they welcomed me with open arms and made me feel comfortable immediately. Gosh, I just had such a blast with them.

How has Lionel’s addition to the cast shaken up the show?

Well, an estranged wife will shake up anything. I think it just adds a little bit more drama to Pete’s already dramatic life. There is finally a face to Lionel; we heard about her in the past now here she is in the flesh. It's out of sight, out of mind but then all of a sudden your estranged wife shows up on your doorstep again.

She recently revealed that she wants Pete back after leaving him. Have you ever had a similar experience where you feel you made a mistake in leaving someone?

I mean, I made tons of mistakes. Who hasn’t? Yeah, it's happened to me in the past and the things that I’ve learned is that the time to walk away is when you really want to walk away. It's better not to play any games.

Are there any similarities between you and your character?

Well I am non-confrontational to a fault so there’s not that much similarity but it is definitely fun to walk around in her shoes because she’s okay with confrontation. She’s strutting her stuff to the world but I’m a little bit more shy than Lionel, let’s say that.

What do you think are Lionel’s best and worst personality traits?

Her best personality traits are—well, she loves her husband very deeply and I think thats one of her best personality traits. I think her worst personality trait is that she will get whatever she wants by any means necessary. She is a little ruthless [laughs].

Tell me something that we don’t know about her.

I wish I could tell you but I can’t give you any spoilers [laughs] so I think the things that you don’t know about Lionel are gonna be revealed eventually.

So we definitely have to stay tuned then.

Yes, please!

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How's the on-set chemistry of Hit the Floor?

It's great. Everybody is so happy to be there everyday and everyone loves their job so much that it makes for a really comfortable atmosphere. You come in, in the morning, and there’s no stopping everybody’s sunshine. Everyone is just glad to be there and happy to be a part of this show. For example, if you go to work and something is going wrong in your life and you arrive, everyone is so happy to be there that all of a sudden you just get wrapped up in everyone else’s good news. It's a pleasure, really.

What’s your favorite part of shooting?

Goofing around in the hair and makeup trailer before we start shooting.

Of course, that’s always fun.

The girls and I laugh all morning long before we get ready.

So I did some research and it turns out that you are also a licensed bounty hunter. Why bounty hunting?

[Laughs] A girlfriend and I went to take couple courses in L.A. to see if we can do it in real life because we do so much stunt work together and so we were just trying it out to see what would happen; to see if we could actually do it so we’re both pre-licensed. We only have a couple more hours of training to become licensed but it made me giggle so I put it on my twitter page.

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LESSONS I LEARNED FROM… Success.

Success is work hard and give 100% every single day because it will leave as quickly as it came.

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM… Hollywood.

Hollywood? [Laughs] Keep some of your personal life to yourself otherwise you won’t have one.

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM… a co-star or fellow seasoned actress.

Gosh, I’ve learned so many lessons from my co-stars that it's unbelievable. I learned a lesson without even realizing I learned it just by looking at someone’s actions—and this person shall remain nameless—but I learned not to complain. I have so much to be grateful for so there is no reason to complain.

Are there any actresses in particular, legends specifically, from the past or present that you look up to?

There’s so many oh my god. There’s so many talented and amazing people in my business that it blows my mind. I guess recently I got the chance to meet Jackie Chan and that is someone that I look up to. I can’t even begin to tell you how much! That man lives and breathes giving back. He built 26 schools in China for children and for every dollar that is donated to him for charity he doubles it. His whole life is living, breathing and making the world a better place for kids. He said that he has been helped so much in his life that he just wants to give back and it moved me to tears when I heard his life story. He is a phenomenal man; he is so generous, so kind, and so loving to every single person that he meets. So I am really looking up to him the most right now.

Any last thoughts?

I just feel so grateful and happy to be a part of all this and I’m looking forward to feedback for the rest of the year. I look forward to episodes every Monday night with the cast, seeing live tweets and I love to get the instant feedback from everybody. It's a whole new thing for me. I have never been a big part of social media and now I have been involved with it with the cast every Monday and it's been so cool to hear what everyone has to say right there on the spot.

Awesome. It was great speaking with you, Jodi, and I will be looking forward to watching the rest of the season.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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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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