Naturally Noire: A Sit Down with Yvette Nicole Brown
MN: So it was an eventful year. Good. You got your feet wet. Acting was in your blood.
YNB: It was. And from there, I had no credits. I would send out post cards to the people I knew who worked in television, with just my photo and my name. That’s it. One of them landed on the desk of Robi Reed, who was casting for Mara Brock Akil’s show Girlfriends. They were casting for the role of Toni Childs’ sister. So here I was, no credits and just a postcard, and I got a call to come in and audition. And I landed the role! That was only God. I still bow down to Robi and Mara every time I see them for taking a chance on a sista. Out of all the things I’ve done, it’s the role that I most get recognized for.
MN: Your next big role was on (Nickelodeon’s) Drake & Josh, yes?
YNB: Yes. And what was supposed to be a one episode role as Helen turned into a great four years of steady work. Loved that cast and crew. And working with and being in front of kids was wonderful.
(As if on cue, a family of four–father, mother, two daughters–visiting The Grove stand to the side, waiting to get Yvette’s attention. They recognize her from Drake & Josh. Even behind the shades. Further evidence that it’s that smile. She poses for photos.)
MN: (Sitting back down) You’re not kidding that you’ve been extremely blessed. From there, you were able to book what seems like hundreds of commercials. To run down all of the companies would take all day (Pine Sol, Hamburger Helper, Citibank, Hallmark, The Home Depot, Dairy Queen, Time Warner, Nationwide, DiGiorno’s and many more). What’s your favorite commercial experience?
YNB: Being a puppet (in the Nike MVPuppet commercials as upstairs neighbor ‘Ms. Lewis’) was something I always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to work with the Muppets. This is as close as I’ve gotten so far and I loved it. I know they (the Muppets) have a movie coming out soon, so if anybody’s listening… call a sista (laughs)! My favorite commercial experience has to be my spot for Big Lots!, where it was just me and the camera. I had to make the character work as soon as they yelled ‘Action!’ There’s a rush that comes with that. A fulfillment when you do it.
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