On January 24, 2017, the much anticipated biographical three-part miniseries The New Edition Story premiered on BET and concluded on January 26, 2017 to record breaking numbers. According to Shadow and Act, a website “dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora,” the miniseries attracted 29 million total viewers! For those who don’t know, The New Edition Story is BET’s first scripted miniseries based on the history of R&B group New Edition and their rise to fame. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the stars—Rachel Currence.
Born in La Jolla, California, Currence starred in The New Edition Story as Shamari DeVoe(née Fears), wife of New Edition/BelBivDevoe’s Ronnie DeVoe, as well as a member of girl group Blaque. In addition to The New Edition Story, Currence’s resume includes True Jackson, VP, iCarly, and The Devil’s Tomb with Cuba Gooding, Jr. Check out my interview with Rachel Currence where she discusses The New Edition Story, portraying Shamari DeVoe, what’s next for her, and more below.
1-Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to get into acting?
I did not. My mother started me out, actually, in beauty pageants at the tender of age 5. After winning many titles-one including “Little Ms Southern California,” I was referred to the Abrams Artist Agency located in Los Angeles. After signing with them, I went on to book numerous national commercials(including the first Mighty Kids Meals for McDonald’s, Tiger Woods/Target Campaign, Red Lobster, Time Warner Cable and more) and from there went on to do TV shows and films. It was through all these bookings I developed a love and genuine passion for the craft. When my mother saw how much I adored acting- she continued to drive back and forth for auditions as well as filming from San Diego to Los Angeles.
2-Your first role was in the successful horror series, Hellraiser: Inferno. How was that experience?
That was my first film experience and it was fun! I am a big fan of horror movies- so getting to play in one-even as a young girl was a blast. In scary movies-I believe it is all about timing… everything has to be just right. The viewer has to be at the edge of their seat and intrigued for what is going to happen next. So we had to do my scene- which was a rain scene many times. I was drenched and in cold weather- but I still enjoyed it. The director was so professional and nice and after about the 80th time(lol), we finally got everything right.
3-One of your early projects included True Jackson, VP with KeKe Palmer where you starred as Michelle in one episode. How was it working with KeKe?
KeKe is the bomb! She’s super grounded and easy going. As soon as I met her, we talked about everything from her music(I was a big fan of her song Bottom’s Up at the time) to mutual friends and pretty much life. She’s so humble and has a great personality. She’s able to laugh at herself and make everyone around her feel at ease. Her mom was also super sweet and you can tell the closeness they have. I loved working with KeKe, she’s a genuine sweetheart.
4-You starred as Shamari DeVoe in The New Edition Story. How did you become part of the project?
I originally auditioned for the role of Ralph’s(Ralph Tresvant) wife-but then went back in for Shamari. I think Shamari and I look much more alike and not only that, we share the same outgoing, vivacious personalities. Shamari is dope! She reminds me a lot of myself and I think she truly loves life. I just wish I was a triple threat like her!!!
5-You truly resemble Shamari so much. Did you have to talk to her or spend time with her before filming? If so, how was that experience?
Thank you!! I did not- but I did meet her at the wrap party and we just instantly connected. I studied her interviews prior to filming-but I already knew who she was. I’ve admired her since ‘Blaque’ days! And let’s not forget Bring it On! Classic! I have so much love and respect for her. I walked in the room-was myself and really had fun with it. It’s such an honor getting to play her. I still can’t believe it to this day.
6-What was your favorite moment from set? Why?
Lunchtime because they served such bomb food on this set!(JOKING) It probably had to be the wedding scene because getting to reenact a real wedding scene that had so much meaning is monumental. It is also inspiring. Seeing myself in a wedding dress was such a moment! That is why I love acting. Getting to delve into and explore moments like those is incredible. The wedding scene was also so awesome because it brought everyone together and took a turn-in a positive light- in the movie. It brought everyone together and shared the love and laughter of not only two beautiful people and such a significant peak in their relationship- but also the love of a brotherhood rekindled by it. It was so special.
7-Which actor and/or actress would you love to work with in the future? Why?
I would love to work with Halle Berry! She has paved the way for black actresses like myself. It ain’t easy to win an Oscar! So accomplishing, such an accolade as a black woman is just truly incredible. Another person-but probably out of the question- is Meryl Streep. I look up to her, she’s my favorite actress and it would be a dream to share even a 5 second scene with her!
8-What is your dream role?
My dream role would be anything inspirational-such as playing Shamari Fears in the New Edition movie! A biopic like this-where young and older generations all share common love. A role that inspires and can affect different orientations, age groups and ethnic backgrounds as this movie did. Anything along those lines is a dream role to me.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue acting?
Be prepared to put in WORK! One of the biggest sacrifices is time. Acting is no joke-there are hundreds of thousands of people in this industry right behind the next. You have to study your craft, take classes, network, brand yourself and of course market yourself. I think most of all-you have to love it. Because if you began to lose the love for it, it is no longer fun and it always has to be fun- you always have to find the joy and pleasure in taking on the next role, or delving into the next character, etc. Lastly, I don’t think you should EVER compare yourself to ANYONE. Trust God and the process in acting. We all have our paths and what is meant for us- will be for us.
10-What is NEXT for Rachel Currence?
You can check me out in a new Amazon TV show called Bosch, a reoccurring role on Siblings and I’m gearing up for pilot season! Stay tuned!
FOLLOW Rachel Currence on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Rachel Currence/Bridge and Tunnel Communications