If you’re an avid watcher of BET’s original series, Being Mary Jane, you are probably familiar with Mary Jane’s BFF Dr. Lisa, played Latarsha Rose. We had the chance to chat with the beautiful actress before last night’s explosive finale where she gave us the low-down on her character,working with Gabrielle Union and her thoughts on mental illness.
Get into it on the next page.
Photo Credits: Getty Images
VIBE Vixen: What’s been your biggest career obstacle?
Latarsha: Myself. The pressure that I put on myself, those moments of self-doubt or things of that nature. Being my biggest critic. Often times, it is learning how to get out of my own way.
What do you love most about your job?
Going to work and getting to play a character and every aspect of it.
Who do you look up to in the entertainment industry?
There are so many actors out there who I look up to. There’s a huge array of people–everyday you can be inspired by someone’s work. I would say Cate Blanchet is someone who I think is really fascinating as an actor. Penelope Cruz–I’m really attracted to her work and definitely Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his capability to just transform. I really admire an actor with the ability to transform themselves.
Who’s your favorite cast member?
We’re one big happy family to be honest. I laugh with all of them. We can tease one another, so it is definitely the whole cast.
Who is the funniest on set?
Definitely Gabrielle Union and Omari Hardwick– they keep the whole crew laughing.
Are there any similarities between you and Dr. Lisa?
I think I am learning things from her. She works hard, but I think she struggles with uncertainty–the what ifs, the who am I, where am I. She struggles with living in the moment; she’s so focused, but she doesn’t enjoy the moment. Just live in the moment Dr. Lisa! I want to tell her that (laughs). In terms in what I relate to–being a professional woman, being so focused on the world, and finding that balance.
What’s it like working with Gabrielle Union?
She is so quick, so honest and she’s fun and her range is so great– especially with her character. She’s down to earth, but very serious. Then she’s playful, then she is vulnerable. She is navigating all these different states of being. She is so present and in the moment. She’s also very generous – generous with her work and advice.
During one episode, your character attempted suicide. We appreciate that BMJ tackled the issue of mental illness, which is very taboo in the black community. What are your thoughts?
I think we don’t talk about it enough and often times we are encouraged to just “deal with it.” There are so many stresses that we deal with and we’re constantly hearing things that we are not able to quiet ourselves. And we’re not equipped to deal with everything we’re bombarded with and I think it is important for us to discuss mental health–how to manage stress, building the skill sets to deal with the ups and downs of life, etc. I think it was courageous of Mara to address this issue and I hope we are able to explore more of it.