Reagan Gomaz-Preston is venturing back into familiar territory…sort of. With the help of her family and friends, the former Parent ‘Hood child star created Almost Home, a web series written, produced and co-directed by Mrs. Preston. Oh, and like Lena Dunham to Girls, Reagan stars in the YouTube feature, too.
The series follows a brother and sister (Lisa and DeJaun) who move halfway across the country after their mother’s death to start over and chase their dreams. The Matthew Cherry-directed segments star a blossoming bunch of actors, including Preston’s husband Dewayne Turrentine Jr., her sister-in-law Queen, Jackie Long, Denyce Lawton and Wesley Jonathan.
Reagan opened up to Vixen about working with her close-knit crew and creating opportunities for women of color. — Sharifa Daniels
VIBE Vixen: Can you describe your new web series Almost Home?
Reagan Gomez-Preston: The story follows Lisa and her younger brother DeJaun, who is played by my real brother-in-law. We both have to start a whole new life. My character had a fiancé back in Chicago, so when I move to California, he pops up. With DeJuan, his whole life was planned out for him in Chicago, so he never really had to grow up and make decisions on his own. When he goes to California, he sees this as an opportunity to really take control of his life and follow his dreams to become a singer.
What do you enjoy about the creative freedom of doing the show online?
I can do what I want with the show, and I get to respond to fans. It’s nice being in control of what you want to do. No one’s telling you what you can and cannot do because there are no rules.
You’ve been in this business for a long time. Why was it so important to create your own opportunity for success?
As I got older, I’ve noticed that the quality roles available for women of color are so few and far between that nothing is going to change unless we start creating the roles and opportunities for ourselves. I actually came up with an idea for one of the episodes on The Parent ‘Hood, so I’ve been a writer for a long time, but I didn’t start taking it seriously. I want to write the kind of roles that I wish I could audition for. Everyone talks about it, but it’s time to actually do something about it.
VV: Do you have advice for women that are afraid to step into that entrepreneurial role?
RGP: You can’t be afraid. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, nobody else will. My confidence really came when I hit 30. I was like, I’m going to do what I want to do, and nobody’s going to tell me any different. When I’m doing web shows, there are no rules. I’m going to do what I need to do.
If you can work with any upcoming actress, who would you want to work with?
I want to work with people who haven’t made it yet, and who are having a hard time getting a break. Even with the résumé I have, it’s still hard for me at auditions, so I know how hard it can be.
Do you plan on venturing into any other business beside TV and film?
Between being a mom and being a wife, writing and producing the web show and trying to come up with other shows, I’m a little busy [Laughs].
What is a quote that you live by?
“Keep family first.”