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Vixen Chat: OITNB's Jessica Pimentel Dishes On Season 3, Set Life And What Keeps Her Grounded

OITNB's Jessica Pimentel dishes on the show's success

Being a part of one of Netflix's biggest hits is no easy feat, but Orange is the New Black's Jessica Pimentel handles her success like a pro.

Pimentel, the gorgeous Latina who first appeared behind bars as Dayanara Diaz's pregnant bunkmate, Maria Ruiz, delivers flawless acting with an endearing vulnerability alongside her co-stars. The Brooklyn-bred quadruple threat (in addition to acting, she is also a rock musician, actress and violinist) is already filming season four, sure to be chock full of breakout performances.

Vixen recently caught up with the Litchfield bae as she dished on the secret of the show's success, set life and what she likes to do when no one is watching.—Angela Wilson

VIBE Vixen: How would you describe the third season of Orange is the New Black for those who haven't binge-watched it yet?
Jessica Pimentel: People are done [with the season] already, can you believe that? I'm not going to lie I woke up on my living room floor watching it myself, like, 'Oh, I'll just watch one more. Just one more!' But season three is really brutal and raw. It crosses all the lines. Nobody is safe and the things that happen are really devastating.

What makes this show such a huge hit?
I think the stories come from an honest, loving place and they're from the heart so they touch people at the heart. There's so many characters you can identify with that even if this isn't particularly your life or lifestyle you can find something in one or several characters you can connect with and learn from.

I'm not a mom but I play one on TV...... @oitnb #bingewatching #MariaRuiz

A photo posted by Jessica Pimentel ? (@thecrusher007) on

How do you relate to your character, Maria Ruiz?
I'm not a mother but I do care very much about my family. They're my priority at the end of the day. That's all you have sometimes and that is most important for Maria and not just because of her situation, I think that's just who she is. She cares about her family. I feel the same way about my own family.

SEE ALSO: ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Season 4 Is Already Underway

What's it like working on set with your co-stars?
Oh, it's awesome. I'm like the luckiest girl in the world. We have the greatest group of ladies and gentlemen—we have one of the top crews in New York and L.A. Every day is a pleasure to come to work. Everyone is super professional. Everyone comes to the table with their plate full sharing their talents and gifts. Everyday, we learn and laugh while getting through the hard times on the show together because it can get emotional at times so it's important to have a good group of people to lean on for those days that get rough but we all have a lot of fun together.

What's up with season four?
We go back to work on Monday (June 15). We had to binge watch last weekend because we're picking up where we left off like every year-the story ends and a year later, we pick back up. We have to binge to refresh ourselves of what happened. No days off.

Signed, sealed, delivered. I'm yours. Here I am Baby!!!! #OITNB #mariaruiz #Happiness

A photo posted by Jessica Pimentel ? (@thecrusher007) on

What keeps you grounded?
My family always keeps me grounded as well as having a strong spiritual life. I am a Buddhist and that's a very big part of my life—daily meditation and daily prayers. The [prayers] are not just for myself. A lot of people pray for themselves or getting more things but part of my practice is to pray for those who are suffering a lot and dedicate everything I do to help those who suffer. Dedicating everything you do to making someone else happy, whether you're a shoe shiner, a gardener or a multi-millionare tech mogul, always keeps you grounded because no matter how hard your day is, someone else is worse off than you.

What is something you like to do when no one is watching?
I'm the queen of living room dance parties. That's one of my favorite things to do. Since we've been little girls when the [music] videos would come on and you'd dance along, I love it. Club Living Room!

SEE ALSO: Orange Is the New Black: On The Run

You also have a recurring role on Person of Interest, what's going on with the show?
We just finished season four and it was probably the most epic finale of a show I've ever seen. There's a lot of death and destruction and the machine that runs the city, so to speak, to help eliminate the bad guys is in a tough situation. I'm not sure how we'll start the season so it'll be interesting.

What was the first big ticket item you purchased when you made it big?
I haven't! [Laughs] I'm saving up to buy my own home soon so that's more important than shoes, bags or cars. I have everything I want and need at this point in my life. I enjoy buying gifts for other people, although they may not be big ticket items, but I like to help out. Oh and paying those student loans off forever.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Melody Thornton Provides Power Vocals To Stirring Solo Single "Love Will Return"

There's a romantic and mysterious aura that seeps into Melody Thornton's solo single, "Love Will Return." From the big band production to Thornton's riveting vocals, it's almost shocking that a gem so bright was hiding in plain sight.

The recent release is the lead single for her forthcoming EP expected to be released next year. Formerly a member of the pop group The Pussycat Dolls, Thornton has shown off her singing chops over the years through the group's most popular tracks like "Buttons," "I Don't Need A Man" and her 2012 solo project, POYBL. With "Love Will Return," Thornton pays homage to inspirations like Eartha Kitt and her Arizona roots. Co-producing the track with Eric Zayne, the singer shared with VIBE how cinematic the creative process was.

“The entire evolution of the song was magic,” she explained. “There’s just something spiritual about it. It moves me in a way like no other song I’ve written before.” The track is a strong introduction to her vocal abilities that appeared to be gravely overlooked during her PCD days.

Last week, The Pussycat Dolls reunited without Thornton, leaving many wondering why. "What I want for myself and for my bandmates are for them is to really enjoy their lives," she told Chart Show TV in January when rumors began to surface of a possible reunion. "When I was in the group, I was a kid...I'm primarily a vocalist. Nicole had been signed twice so it only made sense for her to sing the majority of the leads. But then, I kept being asked to wait my turn and it never came– and we only released two albums. So it's this mistaken identity that I've kind of had to unravel. For me, there's really nothing to go back to."

The ladies are all on good terms with Thornton as Nicole Sherzinger and the rest of the ladies wished her well wishes on her solo endeavors. "It just didn't align [with] where she is in her life right now," Sherzinger said. "She's doing a lot and doing her own music and we totally respect and understand and support her."

Nonetheless, we're thrilled about Thornton's new journey.

Listen to "Love Will Return" below.


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Ashanti Douglas attends "It's a Wonderful Lifetime” first holiday party of the year at STK Los Angeles on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Lifetime

Ashanti Joins Omarion's Millennium Tour

Our prayers for a female presence on Omarion's Millenium Tour have been answered with one of the most talented singers in R&B.

On Thursday (Dec. 5), Omarion announced singer-songwriter Ashanti as a special guest for the upcoming tour. "So excited to announce that Ashanti will be joining The Millennium Tour lineup!" he said in an Instagram post. The singer announced the follow-up show last week to what was perceived as a B2K reunion tour featuring Mario, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Chingy, Bobby Valentino and the Ying Yang Twins earlier this year.

Hailed as The "Millenium Tour 2020," the new bill features Soulja Boy and Sammie, with the Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky and Lloyd returning to the mix. The tour will also include Bow Wow, who has several jams (and an album) with Omarion like "Let Me Hold You" and "Girlfriend."

Before joining the tour, Ashanti was a special guest during Lloyd's performances of their 2004 hit, "Southside." With such a large and memorable discography, fans will be thrilled to hear some of the Grammy-winner's biggest hits like "Foolish," "Only U," and recent releases like "Say Less" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and "Pretty Little Thing" featuring Afro B.

This will more than likely be a another big financial boost to the tour. The inaugural Millennium Tour grossed $6.7 million from its first eight reports, according to Billboard and set a career-high for B2K. They also went on to earn $5 million from three additional dates at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (April 13-14), State Farm Arena in Atlanta (April 4-5), and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (April 12).


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A post shared by ⚡️Omarion ⚡️ (@omarion) on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:57am PST

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Comedian B.Simone attends day 1 of REVOLT Summit x AT&T Summit on September 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Revolt

Boss Goals: B. Simone Earns $100K In Two Months With Beauty Line

Renaissance woman B. Simone is wrapping up her year in a big way. The comedienne, rapper and businesswoman scored a major win after raking up $100K in sales of her beauty line.

B. Simone Beauty was announced over the summer but has been in the making for over a year. Vegan and cruelty-free, her line supplies colorful lip liners, bold lipsticks, makeup bags and accessories. Simone officially launched a site for her products just two months ago with a plan to make $100K. The goal was met ironically on the last day of November, leaving her speechless.

B. Simone shared the moment in an emotional Instagram post Monday (Dec. 2). "This is bigger than me it has NOTHING to do with me," she captioned the video. "It has EVERYTHING to do with God and showing people Him by the way I act and spread LOVE. Even on every tube of lip gloss it says “FAITH OVER FEAR” on the back! I live by that ... God won’t let you down you just have to believe even when you can’t see the outcome. The sky is the limit when it comes to me I swear I’m a monster and I’ll never quit! Manifestation at its finest ... God favors me because he trusts me.

Simone also opened up about her doubts but continued to have faith in meeting her goal. "I had one more day to meet my goal and I started thinking, 'Maybe you aimed too high! Let’s just do a 100k$ goal for December.'  THAT WAS THE ENEMY y’all !!! When I woke up this is what happened... I do none of this alone I keep God-fearing people around me who love me, believe in me and see my vision. Thank you to my manager, my team, all of you and God. None of this is about money it’s all about walking in your purpose and changing the world around you to a more comfortable better place."


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A post shared by B. SIMONE (@thebsimone2) on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:49am PST

B. Simone has experienced plenty of other wins with her other talents. As XONecole reports, she hosted Will Smith's birthday party, produced and starred in her own hilarious dating show, provided comedic relief on the VH1 series Girls Cruise with Mya, Lil Kim and Chilli, as well as sharing tips on monetizing in the social media space at the Revolt Summit.

Boss goals indeed. Check out B. Simone's stunning beauty line here.

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