You’ll know the second Wendy Raquel Robinson enters a room. From her infectious smile and ability to light up a room, to her charming personality and quick wit, Robinson is definitely one of a kind. The versatile ball of fire, whose resume is highlighted with fan favorite roles, including the feisty, mom-ager Tasha Mack on BET’s “The Game,” to Regina Grier on the long running 90’s breakout sitcom, “The Steve Harvey Show,” reigns as one of viewer’s favorites, thanks to her down-to-earth and no-holds-barred demeanor.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the cum laude Howard University alumna is no stranger to unapologetically grabbing life by the horns. Balancing career and family with ease, to tackling national stage plays and out-of-the-box characters, the gorgeous 47-year-old continues to shine with pizzazz and talent.
Vixen caught up with the superstar as she dished on her favorite role, advice for women looking for love and what she’d tell her younger self.
VIXEN: You recently toured with “Things Your Man Won’t Do” stage-play, how did you get involved?
Wendy Raquel Robinson: This is actually my third production with Je’Caryous Johnson. The first was Cheaters with Vivica A. Foxx and then I did Cheaper to Keep Her with Brian McKnight and this is the newest installment. He’s a wonderful playwright who really knows how to fuse relationships, black love and the antics that surround it. And we have a really good time.
The play is based on faith, relationships and being celibate until marriage. Could you relate to anything in the play in your personal life?
I’m kidding, I’m kidding! What’s funny is I didn’t get married until I was 37. I’ve gone through a whole lot of courting but when I did decide to get married, I was at a wonderful place in my life where I accepted me for who I was. I was comfortable with that. When I met my husband, we were both at the same place in terms of knowing who we were, what we wanted and what we didn’t want. So neither one of us were trying to change the other person. Marriage is nothing you do fleetingly. It’s a wonderful thing, but it does take work. The same things you did to get that man you got to do to keep him. But you need to be ready for it as well.
You’re a wife and a successful career woman, what would you say to the woman who says you can’t have it all, specifically love and career?
I would say why can’t you? It’s been a sacrifice, especially with this tour. I’ve been on the road for five weeks then I go home and try to balance, but everything works together for good. It’s great because it gives us a chance to miss each other. He also comes down to spend time with me as well, but everything is doable. Before we started doing long distance and traveling, we heard from some celebrity couple that said they didn’t let two weeks go by without seeing other, even though they’re divorced- this works for us. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, it’s like we’re still dating when we see each other.
But you can have it all and the career. I can’t speak for everybody but I can speak for me and I want someone who has dreams, passion and purpose. So don’t give up your dreams to get that man because that’s what he fell in love with, and what he wanted and chased. But don’t surrender yourself.
You sound very wise!
I don’t have it all together!
What’s something you know now you wish you would’ve known when you were younger?
That you can’t do it all by yourself. As I get older, I’m learning how to delegate and empower people to work around me and with me and to not be so much of a control freak in order to have longevity and sustainability. Don’t be afraid to share the knowledge and wealth and don’t be threatened by that.
What has been your favorite role to play from Tasha Mack from “The Game” to Regina Grier from “The Steve Harvey Show” to Karen from Two Can Play That Game?
I don’t think I have a favorite! They all bring out something different in me and I enjoy myself while I’m sitting in those shoes. I can’t put one above the other because Regina was straight laced and corny and working with Steve, Cedric and Terry, that elevated me to a whole another level. And Tasha [Mack] and her being a little bit of everything with the writers and that whole production team and the cast.
But it’s neck and neck with Tasha and Regina, probably because I sat with those characters for a long time and were able to break those characters in. I was able to Improv with them and have freedom especially in TV, which is a rarity.
What’s one thing every woman should try at least once?
I got to be careful with this one! (laughs)
There’s a lot of things ladies! I play with hair as an accessory and I think every woman at least once should change their look completely; from long to short, short to long, curly to straight, light to dark. I love the whole transformation process and maybe that helps me as an actress going from external to internal. So change the hair, be bold and be a risk taker with that.
Now I sound shallow. (Laughs)
Not at all changing your look can help with the inside, too…
It really does! It makes you feel a certain way and you can always change it back.
I also suggest living in another city. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I’m in D.C. now and I’m going down memory lane because it changed my whole landscape and how I look at life and who I am as a person. I feel so much more evolved moving from one coast to the next, understanding different people, the climates, seasons and appreciating God and I think every woman owes it to herself.
Do you have any regrets?
I got a lot of boyfriends I dated that were a waste of time. But I don’t have regrets because I don’t want to become bitter, so I look at my regrets as teachable moments. Do I have those teachable moments that made me the woman I am today? Plenty. I guess a lot of it is, I undervalued who I was as a person and not rewarding myself because I work so hard. A teachable moment is it’s OK to treat myself and not feel remorseful. I don’t do much for Wendy, I’m such a giver.
What can we expect from Wendy this year?
Expect the unexpected! I’m really excited because I played the first black Cruella De Vil for Disney. It’s a huge musical coming out July 31. I just did some post production work on it and it really looks amazing. The possibilities of where that’s going to take me are endless.
Photo credit: It Is Done Communications