From daytime soap star, to Tyler Perry drama queen, Tika Sumpter has lit up both the big and small screens with a double shot of talent and beauty. We got a chance to kick it with the Ride Along actress at yummy NYC bakery, Schmackary, to chat about her conniving character in The Have and Have Nots, (“Somebody called me an evil angel”), and of course, indulge in a little girl talk.
If you’ve been keeping up with the Hollywood hotty’s current alter ego, Candace Young, on Perry’s OWN series, you already know about the Pandora’s box she’s opened and how her bad decisions are quickly coming back to bite her. But today, watching the gorgeous 33-year-old giggle uncontrollably against a backdrop of signed theatrical headshots (the eatery’s proverbial Wall Of Fame) it’s astonishing how different she is from the vengeful character she plays. But then again, that’s the formula of a great actress.
All smiles and full of laughter, she divulged what to expect from her pretend persona this season, “She’s going to be really vulnerable, you’ll see,” answered a few of our juiciest Question of the Days, and even hinted on whether she’d pose nude (“I would, but you might see some stuff soon enough.”)
Flip the page to learn more about the stunning star.
Photo Credits: Stacy-Ann Ellis
VIBE Vixen: What is the average response you get for your character, Candace?
Tika Sumpter: Surprising response is “I love her.” I was for sure that in the beginning everybody would hate her, but last night everyone was like, ‘where’s Candace?’ Somebody called me an evil angel.
How do you convince us to hate your character?
I think Tyler [Perry] has some feisty words. I mean those aren’t my words, those are Tyler’s words. Most of them anyway. Sometimes I ad lib but most parts are coming from him, that’s half the battle. Then the other part is you pull from different people in your life that you see are a little shady.
How’s Candace dealing in her current kidnapped situation?
I don’t think you can prepare to get kidnapped, it was kind of scary because they put the bag over your head for real. But she’s a fighter, and she is not gonna go down lightly. When someone feels like they have nothing to lose they don’t care. That’s where she’s at right now. She thinks her brother is dead. Her mother; she could care less about. I think she does care but she has to put up a stone face in order to get by. But you gotta keep watching because this is where you’re going to start seeing some vulnerability.
I was going to ask, do we ever see her remorseful?
Yeah, I think you’re gonna start seeing some kind of vulnerability even if its the type that you’re not expecting. The sins that she’s committed are coming back which I am excited about for people to see because for every action there’s consequence. I am so excited for people to see that side where it just breaks her. She’s gonna be really vulnerable, you’ll see.
Have you gotten closer to your character?
I feel more connected to her. I think the more you spend time with your character, the closer you get. Like you guys don’t know what the whole story is and you’ll see more as to why she is hurting, why she is so angry, and why she is so revengeful. You’ll see it.
Now as far as the families, which family do you think is more messed up?
Let me tell you something. Everybody wants to blame my character for everything but my character just opened their refrigerator and there was rotten meat in there. Now, the stench is so loud that now you gotta deal with it. There was issues there to begin with, it wasn’t all me. So I feel like there’s a lot going on with those families. There’s more stuff than what I did.
Oh my god, yes. I see, like one or two. I used to want girls, but now I just want boys. In this day and age, I can’t with the Instagram, the booties. I can’t do it, because there’s too much pressure.
What’s your thought on social media?
That it’s work. I mean, the great part is you get to interact with your fan base, and like it’s fun and all that. But on the other hand, it’s work! You’re taking time out of your day.
I know you probably have some crazy comments.
Yes, so my whole thing is you can sit with us, if you’re negative. Like I cannot do negative people and there’s so many, you know? Somebody said something the other day, negative, and I had to tell her, I was like ‘listen, you haven’t even seen it yet. Relax until you see it or don’t see it, but don’t plant your negativity on my land, please. This is my land, ok?’ [laughs]
It’s horrible, everybody’s a critic. I just try to spread positivity and love, and most of the time that’s most of my fans and the people who follow me–I call them my ‘framily’–they’re usually positive. There’s a few that are like [negative]. I’m just like even if something isn’t good, why would you want somebody to fail at something because that’s something inside of you that you need to work on, that you’re not happy with.
VV: Will we see you in the next season of Being Mary Jane?
TS: I wish. I was supposed to be on it, my character was going to be throughout. That was going to be her friend. I love our chemistry, myself and Gab[rielle Union] and it’s such a good show. So different. It’s amazing because it’s talking about relationships and real stuff that women and men go through, and it’s good to see it from a woman’s perspective.
Now, out of all the characters that you’ve played, which one do you relate to the most?
I think the one that I relate to the most is Dee in Sparkle, because I grew up with so many siblings and you always have to try to prove yourself and find out your niche and what’s important to you. Also being close to your mother and trying to make sure that you’re satisfying whatever realm she sees you in as.
VV: Would you sacrifice your lifestyle for love?
TS: I would sacrifice my lifestyle for love because I think at the end of the day you want to share your life with someone. For me, especially now, I feel like love is a value for me. Companionship is a value. Building spiritually is a value for me. All this other stuff is great, but at the end of the day you want to share it with somebody. You want to be able to talk to somebody about it, and collaborate, and there’s just things you want to share on a different level, and I think for me, right now, that’s most important. If you were to ask me that when I was twenty, ‘No girl, bye,’ but I feel like I’m ready to build with whoever that will be.
What’s your most used curse word or sentence?
[Laughs] For one, I try not to curse. I try to respect the lord, but when I do, I ask for forgiveness [laughs] and I might say, like, “shit” a lot. Like ‘shiiit!’
What’s the best lesson your ex taught you?
I literally have very few ex’s, but I’m friends with them. I’ve learned don’t stay because you’re comfortable, stay because you want to be there and when it’s time to walk away, walk away. At one point in my life I was struggling, and I quit my job, I was over it. I was like trying to look for another job, and he was like, ‘listen, don’t worry about it, just go after your dream. I believe in you, I’ll take care of rent or whatever.’ I wasn’t used to that. That only lasted for a week, because I booked a job, like literally a four year job after that.
Would you ever pose nude?
I would, but you might see some stuff soon enough. [Laughs]I would, for an art scene or [something]creative. I’d do a PETA. I love black and whites. I think women are beautiful. I feel like our bodies, not matter what shape or size you are, there’re just beauty in the essence, there’s power, there is a real feminine energy and I love it. So I’m open but it has to be done tastefully, and there has to be a reason for it. It can’t just be ‘okay let’s drop your clothes and see you breasts and your ass for no reason.’ It has to be necessary, so we’ll see what happens.
Do you like clingy men?
Clingy? I don’t think anyone likes anything clingy, including clothes. I like somebody who is attentive, loving, affectionate, but clingy like calling me every five minutes and being ridiculous, that means you have nothing to do with your life. That means do something.
If your Significant Other went to jail for five years would you wait?
Huh? What? Hopefully I’m not with a person who makes decisions like that. Including… nothing, just nothing. Just live a normal life. no.
What celeb are you a closet stan for?
Janet Jackson. Janet is the person who I’d be like ‘yo, like you don’t even understand what you’ve done for my life. Can I kind of be your child?’ I heard a song of her’s the other day, I said, ‘see, that’s going to last forever. Again?’
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever bought a guy?
I’ve taken a guy on a shopping spree. I just like doing nice things for people, you know. When you mine, I take care. I make sure you’re good [laughs]. I’m not a sugar mama. I make sure that it’s balanced, but if it’s for his birthday, obviously spoil him a little.
What’s one un-Googlable fact about you?
That I like to read a lot, I’m actually reading 1984 right now, by George Orwell