Naturally Noire: A Sit Down with Yvette Nicole Brown

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By William Dawson

Spend any amount of time with Yvette Nicole Brown and you’ll see her smile which comes as naturally as an early summer breeze. It radiates through our television sets via her sitcom Community and the many commercials that have made her a veritable ‘that girl’ over the years.

You can hear from Yvette daily, as she shares inspirational quotes and anecdotes on Facebook and Twitter. What shines through is her immense talent and her strong faith, but it all begins with that natural, genuine smile that makes you realize how comfortable she is in her own skin. That is what makes her stand out as a Madame Noire.

On a picture perfect afternoon at The Grove in L.A., I sat down with the actress and riffed on everything from her early days at Motown to her love for kids.

MN: What’s one thing everyone should know about you?

Yvette Nicole Brown: That I’m a Christian woman, first and foremost.

MN: Does that present a problem, working in Hollywood?

YNB: Not at all. I have a wonderful agent who knows that there are certain roles I won’t even audition for, let alone play. I remember, there was a role that almost every black actress in town was going for. I mean, every black actress. It was a great part… started out with the woman being a hooker and then progressing into so much more. At first I had to call my agency to see why they didn’t call me about the audition. When I spoke to them, they said that they knew I wouldn’t consider it since I’m a Christian. That’s when I knew I was in good hands. I’m definitely blessed.

MN: Tell us how you got started in the industry.

YNB: Well, I started out as a music artist, working at Motown with Michael Bivins as part of the East Coast Family. We put out a single and video. Back then, though, I was part of a singing group whose album was never released.

MN: Whoa, what was that like?

YNB: It actually wasn’t bad. In fact, this is how God works. My one promise to my mother was that I would finish college, and since the album wasn’t coming out, I went to Michael and told him. He was great about it and told me to go finish school and I’d have a job waiting when I finished. So I did, and came back after I graduated and worked in the Motown offices. It was one of the best experiences in my life. [After that] I was part of ministry group back in 2000, and David E. Talbert was looking for talent for his touring stage play. I was recommended, went and auditioned and ended up touring with the play for over a year.

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