Draya Michele made a quiet exit from Basketball Wives LA this season but when the cameras weren’t rolling she’s been making moves with two fashion lines and filming her first film role in TVOne’s Will to Love.
VH1 chatted with Michele about acting opposite Keshia Knight-Pulliam and Marques Houston, finding balance with designing, and whether she’d ever return to reality TV.
What made Will to Love the movie that you wanted to make your official acting debut in?
Draya Michele: They sent me the script and asked me if it was something that I’d be interested in being a part of. I read it and I picked the character Candice, the character that I ended up playing, because I felt like she was the most relatable to me and I told them, “Listen, I’m going to read for this and I’m going to audition for this but this character is me.” So, I kinda convinced them and they decided to let me play Candice and it worked out for everybody.
I was going to ask you how Candice was different or similar to you.
She’s got two personalities that she’s playing in the movie and I feel like everybody’s got two sides to them. There’s like a TV side to me and then there’s an at home, private side to me. I think I could relate to Candice in those ways.
Your character at once seems sexy and serious but then we get to see the funny, silly side of Draya we are familiar with from Basketball Wives LA.
That was the one thing I was determined to do, I was determined to make the role funnier than it was supposed to be because Candice wasn’t really supposed to be funny and she wasn’t supposed to be ditzy but I wanted her to be ditzy and I wanted her to be funny. I was sure to switch the lines up sometimes to give her a little bit of comedic relief.
You have an army of Draya fans but in the film you’re credited with “Introducing Draya Michele.” Who made that decision?
The “Introducing Draya Michele” was the director’s idea. He wanted to take credit and be responsible for putting me in my first movie and I let him have that because he did! So I thank Chris Stokes for that.
What was it like working with people who have been in the industry since they were kids, like Marques Houston and Keisha Knight-Pulliam?
They’ve been actors for 20 years and more. At first I was really, really nervous because I was, like they’re going to be so good. And they were so good. They barely messed up, they barely forgot their lines and that just made me have to bring my A game. When you’re working with pros like that, you can’t mess up.
What was the vibe on the set? Did you get close with the cast?
The whole time it was laughing and jokes. It was like a family reunion, even for people it was my first time meeting. Everyone was just so comfortable with each other. We spent 11 days with each other, so everybody just got really close and it was like a big fun, family house we were in.
You’ve got Mint Swim and Fine Ass Girls going strong and now a budding acting career, is there one thing you want to focus on?
Designing is my first passion. Acting, this is new and I’ve fallen in love with this too. I’d like to juggle both for as long as I can, unless I get extremely busy with one – and I wouldn’t mind getting extremely busy with one.
How is film acting different than reality TV? Did you feel like TV prepared you in anyway?
Coming from reality TV is very different than trying to act. The one thing that is good is that you’re very used to being in front of the camera so there’s no stage freight but you tend to forget that you’re playing a part. Sometimes my true self would show through and I would forget that I [was playing] a character. [Laughs] If I was having to act like I was having an argument. Sometimes I would get sidetracked in the argument, I would start arguing like I would argue, in real life.
I have no regrets about reality TV and I'm thankful for the opportunity. It's just not my thing anymore. ❤️
— Draya Michele (@DrayaFace) October 2, 2015
You left Basketball Wives in the middle of a dramatic season. Would you ever do reality TV again?
I never say never for reality TV. I’ll just need it to make sense for myself and my business and the direction I’m heading in life. I’m not opposted to reality TV as long as it’s a solely Draya project.
Will to Love is available on DVD, iTunes, and Amazon.