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Crystal Fox

Source: Courtesy of Crystal Fox/Jamie Lobel / C.F.

For the last six seasons, people have known actress Crystal Fox for her work as as the religious mother, Hanna Young, on OWN’s The Haves and the Have NotsThis Sunday though, we will get to see her take on the motherly role in a whole new way and on a whole new network. The 53-year-old actress, whose career dates back to her TV debut in The Heat of the Night (and who also happens to be the niece of the late Nina Simone), will appear on the highly anticipated second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies. Fox will portray Elizabeth Howard, the mother of Zoe Kravitz‘s character of Bonnie, who is grappling with her role in the death of the abusive Perry Wright (played by Alexander Skarsgård). As a viewer of the series just like the rest of us, to say Fox is excited to actually be a part of it for Season 2 is an understatement.

“I was and am a fan first. The buttercream icing is that I am cast as Elizabeth, Bonnie’s mom,” she said to us about her role. According to Fox, we will learn about Bonnie’s past, abuse that she saw growing up, and how that affected her relationship with Elizabeth and could of played a role in that fatal push she gave Perry.

“You can expect to learn how Bonnie’s path has led her to where she is now and find out that her mother is as flawed as the next person,” she said. “That’s what makes us human. People all come from somewhere and parental intentionality may not be received as one intended.”

Another thing fans of the series are looking forward to in Season 2 is the arrival of Academy Award winner Meryl Streep as Perry’s mother, searching for answers following his death. To work on a project with Streep meant a great deal to Fox.

“Anyone who knows me and my professional journey knows that Meryl Streep and Cicely Tyson firmly planted the seed in my soul to aspire to, honestly, move people through acting,” she said. “That being said, the painful truth was that I did not get to work with nor watch her work the entire filming season. But as faith would have it, we had to do some touch-up work this year and I finally got to meet and chat with her briefly. She was everything and more that I could have hoped for or imagined.”

Fox certainly has a lot on her plate coming up to be delighted about. Outside of being one of the newest and most exciting additions to Season 2 of Big Little Lies, she’s also working on an upcoming Amazon Prime series called Utopia, which she couldn’t share too many details about just yet. Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn is behind it.

“It originated as a British series and will be a part of Amazon’s new line of streaming shows,” she said. “I am extremely happy to be a part of this newly adapted passion project from the heart and mind of the warm and wonderful Gillian Flynn.”

She also is celebrating the fact that even with all of these new opportunities on her plate, she’s still the star of one of the most popular series’ on TV in The Haves and the Have Nots. Season 6 recently premiered, and as she put it, it’s “now and has been, OWN’s number one scripted show for most of, if not all of those seasons. That is one of the many things I am proudest of about our show! But what I love most is bringing the voices of the different classes to television and speaking on classism as an African-American, blue collar, leading matriarch.”

“I’m not a mother, but I feel this country was built on the backs, prayers, beliefs and tenacity of women like Hanna Young,” she added. “Whether it be a mother, aunt, grandmother, great-whomever or neighbor, many of us know this woman or someone like her and they feel a debt of gratitude towards them that they may not have been able to express while they were alive, so they reflect, remember and appreciate that woman through our show. The other reason I feel everyone continues to watch is to see how my talented TV family of actors bring and survive the levels of drama from week to week, moving our fans to the point of yelling at their televisions and sometimes at us — in person!”

You can check out Crystal Fox in Season 2 of Big Little Lies, which premieres Sunday, June 9 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Also tune into Season 6 of The Haves and the Have Nots on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on OWN. 

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