Exclusive: Angell Conwell On Working Alongside Ex Omar Gooding And One Role She Wanted That Fell Through
Over the years, actress Angell Conwell has been a familiar face in many films featuring a Black ensemble cast, including a few of your favorites. She’s been in Baby Boy, Soul Plane, The Wash, and What About Your Friends: Weekend Getaway. Conwell even had a recurring role as Leslie Michaelson on The Young and the Restless and currently stars as Lisa on Bounce TV’s Family Time alongside ex-boyfriend Omar Gooding. But despite being an ever-present face on our screens, it hasn’t been an easy journey for the 33-year-old actress. However, the beauty has come a long way from her years in South Carolina and early days in California. She is finally making major moves both in front of and behind the screen with production and writing opportunities (including on her own show, Family Time). We talked to her about her exerperience as a Black actress, if she finds herself typecast when it comes to acting roles, what it’s like working with former longtime love Gooding, and her upcoming holiday movie, Merry Ex-Mas.
Her Experience As a Black Actress in Hollywood
We definitely still seem to be at the bottom of the food chain. There’s no doubt about that. Everyone experiences it in their own unique way. You know how they say different level, different devil? But without a doubt, I’ve noticed. We are treated as if it’s a revolving door. Basically, “If you’re not going to take this job, I’m sure there’s another Black actress that would love to take it and get this paycheck. So, are you going to do it?” We do get treated differently. But at the same time, I’m an advocate for looking at an issue, but not dwelling on the issue. I think that if you entertain it, it’s almost as though you exacerbate it and give it more life. But at the same time, if you don’t look at it to be aware … anytime you have a chance to take a stand or do something to help change it — you have to look at the problem to know what’s going on. But I try not to live my everyday life thinking about it. Because if I do, then that’s going to hinder any type of work I do and slow me down. I’m just focused on whatever I can do to push that forward. Whether that be writing my own projects or speaking up when I see certain things happening that I don’t agree with. Back in the day I would be afraid to say something. At this point, it’s not about me. It’s about a group of people. It’s about us. Because of that, it makes me less afraid to speak up.
What It’s Like Working Alongside Her Ex, Omar Gooding
You know, everybody deals with relationships and matters of the heart differently. Anybody I’ve been with has genuinely been important to me. I will never really be able to badmouth an ex. There’s only been a handful, and those people are close to my heart. Omar was my first relationship. Of course, we’re human, we had our challenges, but I can speak for myself and say there was never animosity. It was just a timing situation. It didn’t work out. I’ve always had love for him and I’ll always have love for him. So honestly, for me, it was actually very easy. I didn’t have to think too much about it. It never got awkward. Once you know someone’s heart and you know what their intentions are, it’s easier to get through situations with them.
If She Feels People Only See Her as the Girl From Baby Boy, Soul Plane
Well, when producers, directors and people who are making decisions, when they can’t seem to think outside the box, because it is a creative industry, when they can’t see you as an actress and you just played a character, it can be frustrating. But I understand it’s not abnormal for people to see you the way they have seen you. It’s my job to make the necessary moves so people can say I represent many different types of things. We’re all really dynamic and multifaceted. In my opinion, that’s not hard to see. But I can’t expect everyone to have the same vision and think the same way I think, and I’m okay with that. So whatever role is supposed to be mine, it will be mine, regardless of what anybody thinks or what they have seen. So if I didn’t book a role or end up in a certain film or television show, then it was never mine. Everything is moving as it’s supposed to.
On What Role She Really Wanted That Fell Through
What was one that I really wanted? Let me see…Way back in the day, way, way back in the day, I really wanted Idlewild. I auditioned for that. Paula Patton got the role. There’s been several, but I just let things go.
What It’s Been Like Dating in Hollywood
I know it sounds weird but I really haven’t dated in quite some time. I’m extremely particular. Maybe because I’m an only child, or I don’t know what the deal is, but it takes a while for me to get to know people and let people in. I don’t even really think about it that much. I want a family. I’m a Southern girl, so I love having a partner, a companion. I feel like it’s necessary when it’s a healthy, strong, loving relationship where you complement each other. But I’ve had a couple of relationships that lasted a long time, probably way longer than they should have lasted, and not necessarily the best types of relationships. So because of that I’m extremely careful with who I let in my life in that way. A good relationship can really help you but a bad one can truly hinder you. So I’m extremely careful because I know I have things to do. It just takes the wrong person to get to your heart in the wrong way, and the whole trajectory of your life and your career can go a whole different way.
On Her Role in the Upcoming TV One Film, Merry Ex-Mas
December 10 I do the TV One movie of the week called Merry Ex-mas. It’s basically about a woman who has a daughter with a man that she used to be with but the relationship didn’t really work out. He’s still been in her life and been her backbone. He gets into a new relationship and she sort of loses her mind. Her daughter asks her why she’s never happy and it causes her to realize that she’s got a lot of deep-rooted insecurities and issues and a lot of pain that she hasn’t really dealt with from her childhood, actually. It shows the domino effect of how being abandoned by people who are important to you can really affect not just you but other people. It’s a holiday movie. I know it doesn’t sound like it when I say it but it happens all around the holidays. That’s how she starts to realize her issues with the holidays and her daughter. I think it’s gonna be good. I’m excited to see it.
If She’s Ever Considered Giving up Acting During Hard Times
No, never. I arrived in LA when I was about 10 or 11. I’ve had a lot of awkward seasons where I don’t really work or there’s absolutely no work or things were just really bleak. But I’ve been very blessed because I’ve always only been an actress. I really haven’t had experience doing anything else. We’re all built differently. We’re all set up and wired differently, but the way my personality is set up, I have to focus on one thing. And the main thing has to stay the main thing. I’ve had a vision since I was young and no matter how long it takes, I’m going to stick with that vision.
Images via WENN