Starring in a musical drama alongside actual musicians is no easy feat. However, Taylor Selé makes it seem effortless as Eric Jones on ABC’s new series, Queens. The former pro-footballer and emerging actor shares the screen with Brandy, Naturi Naughton, Eve, and Nadine Velazquez as the actresses play women attempting to revive their rap careers.
Selé’s character is the group’s former manager who went on to become a successful music executive. As straightforward as the role may sound, Selé’s performance depicts complicated behaviors. On Queens, Eric Jones has romantic history with Naomi aka “Xplicit Lyrics” (Brandy) and serves as a catalyst for a fair amount of drama that impacts the group.
As a character, Jones is a money-making playboy with reserves of charisma and ambition that sometimes yield messy results. When asked about enraged Tweets from fans reacting to the fictional manager he plays, Selé jokes with VIBE, “I’m happy about that… At least they’re feeling something about the character.”
“I love it,” he continues. “I’m gonna revamp. I have a Twitter that I haven’t used. I’m trying to be better with social media. I get so lost in the work and making sure I’m putting together a product that people can really enjoy… [I] gotta pick up my Twitter handle and start getting back at these people. Have fun with it.”
VIBE spoke with Selé about just how much fun he’s having on the show, and what we can expect from his character in the future. Read our quick chat below:
This interview had been edited for length and clarity.
VIBE: Was there anything specifically that attracted you to this character or this series?
Taylor Selé: Several things, actually. The first one was I grew up in Queens. I was born in Liberia, but I grew up in Queens. LeFrak City, Queens—aka Iraq. That was a draw to me that stood out. And having the opportunity to work with Eve and Brandy in this capacity. This is their world. I saw it as a wonderful challenge to morph myself into someone who could realistically try to lead those two icons. Just working with a group in general, this cast of women, was something that really drew me to this role. It had all the elements. It had sensationalism, it had entertainment, it had music, fashion, style, real-life concepts in terms of identity… I saw an opportunity to be able to build a full character.
All four of the leading ladies are such powerful women. What’s it been like working with them?
It’s been dynamic. You never anticipate being in a situation like this, when you have that group of people in the room at one time [and] you work with them on a daily basis. As I mentioned, with Brandy, Eve, and even Naturi, because she was with 3LW early on, this is their world. Although I bring a skill set that I have confidence in with my acting, I lean on them for guidance with their experience in music, dealing with managers, and how things run in an actual studio. It’s been a beautiful experience and a great relationship where they give me little notes. It’s been great.
Do you relate to Eric at all? He’s a different kind of guy.
I share many, many, many traits with Eric. He seems to be, along with the other characters, very introspective. When I talk about identity being a major theme and anchoring this show, regardless of whatever season of your life you’re in… Whether it was Eric early on, hustling through Queens trying to make his way as this producer/manager, doing whatever it took, or being the successful manager trying to mitigate all the drama that comes up with the girls. Even in some of his… I would say shortcomings, taking ownership. What I wanted to present with this character in terms of showing his strength is his ability to yield when it’s time to yield, to acknowledge his responsibility for things that aren’t so ideal. I think that’s what’s most redeemable about the character Eric and why I was drawn to him; to portray a full human being. Someone who can make mistakes, learn from them, and ultimately thrive.
How do you think your character’s story arc is going to continue to play out as the show continues, and what do you think will be the reception from fans who either like or dislike him?
I think Eric is super relatable. He’s very ambitious, of course. He has this position as this very successful manager. But his circumstances [in] life and how he fights to be the best version of himself is something that people can and will relate to even when he falls or fails. I love it. I love the fact that you have some people who aren’t “Team Eric.” Hopefully I can win them over as they watch the episodes and they get to see the different parts of his character. That kind of reflects real life. You can’t just judge a person off of one instance, especially if you have opportunities to take them in holistically… I think they’ll find that Eric has a lot of redeeming qualities beyond the controversy that’s kicked up with the women.