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With the premiere date of Lifetime’s highly anticipated Whitney Houston biopic being a little over a month away, actress Yolonda Ross is opening up about her role in Whitney. The Nebraska native plays Robyn Crawford, Houston’s best friend, assistant and rumored lover.

“I think it is very important to have the inclusion of the Robyn Crawford character because she was such a key part of Whitney’s life, personal and work wise,” Ross expressed during an interview with the Huffington Post.

The actress hopes that including Crawford in the film will clear up misconceptions and display the true nature of her role in Whitney’s life.

“With all the criticism and backlashing against this person it needs to be shown that at the base of it all, you had two people that respected and cared for each other since their teenage years through the time period when Whitney rose to her iconic level.”

“When the world is whipping around you, those are the people you want near, to keep you and your life in check,” Ross continued. “While portraying Robyn, it was important to me to respect the closeness of these two and show that in both the personal and public arenas.”

To prepare for the film, the actress says that she did research on Crawford and her relationship with Houston. She adds that she also fed off of the vibes and energy emitted by genuine long-term friendships.

“I scoured the internet for whatever I could find on Robyn. Though I had heard about her for years, I had never actually seen her so I wanted to get an idea of her but make sure I wasn’t mimicking her in any way. So getting a little insight on her having a strong presence and being supportive helped. I kept that in mind while playing her and really just worked off what a friendship between two people that had known each other for so long is really like as it changes with each obstacle that presents itself.”

As for what she has learned from her role in Whitney, Ross had this to say:

“Surround yourself with people that carry positive energy and light. That goes for the people working with you to the loved ones in your life. It’s too hard out here to move forward. Don’t let negativity bring you down.”

Check out her full interview here.

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