BET premiered its much anticipated The New Edition Story, a biographical three-part miniseries, on January 24th to extraordinary numbers! According to Shadow & Black, the miniseries, which focused on the history of R&B group New Edition and their rise to fame, attracted 29 million total viewers. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the actresses from the miniseries and this talented woman is Raven Bowens.
In The New Edition Story, Bowens played Teasha Bivens, wife of New Edition/BelBivDevoe’s Michael Bivins, who was played by Empire’s Bryshere Gray. Her resume includes Delivery: The Beast Within, Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader 4: Cheerleader Undercover, and Mr. Student Body President. Check out my interview with Raven Bowens where she discusses The New Edition Story, Mr. Student Body President, what her dream role is, and more below.
1-How did you get into acting?
My grandparents own a modeling agency in Las Vegas, McKenna Models & Talent. I was always kind of interested, but I didn’t say anything to them about it until after I graduated high school. When I expressed my interest they were very supportive. My grandpa took my first headshots & my grandma brought me to an event where I got to audition & meet agents from LA. I was lucky because it was very expensive and I was able to go for free because of her. I made the decision after that event that this was what I wanted to do with my life and never turned back. The next step from there was making the move from San Diego, which I didn’t plan at all—just kind of got up and left. When I think about it today I was COMPLETELY out of my mind, but like they say God looks out for children and crazy people. Somehow, the stars aligned, I think when we are called to do something they tend to do that.
2-Your resume includes commercials, TV series, and films. Which experience is your favorite? Why?
I love work—if somebody’s paying me to do what I love then that’s my favorite!(haha) I’m being silly, even though there is some truth to that. I also do theatre, which I LOVE and I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really wonderful material(John Patrick Stanley, Neil Simon, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare). The things I’ve done on stage are probably my favorite. Now, when I get to do some of that kind of stuff on film, I’m going to really be in heaven!
3-You star as Teasha Bivins in The New Edition Story. How did you become part of the miniseries?
I had recently auditioned for a different project and Michelle Adams(one of the casting directors, who I THANK GOD FOR) remembered me and she said once the role of Teasha came up she was on the hunt for me because we look so similar. She couldn’t remember my last name and then she finally found me and it ended up being a same day audition. Normally, I would’ve done a bunch of research, but I literally had an hour to get there so I was googling in my car. I know ALL of New Editions music because my mom was a groupie and I had to live through hearing about the concerts my whole childhood, so that part was done. And then I looked up Teasha, trying to see how I was gonna make myself look like her and once I saw her picture I was like oh come on we’re twins and if they hire anyone else, I might as well quit acting because that means I really suck!
4-How was it actually meeting Teasha in person?
She actually reached out to me on Instagram & we talked the night before/morning of my shoot. We connected really fast! She lives in Connecticut so I didn’t actually get to meet her until I was done shooting. She invited me to set when she got to town and I got to spend time with her and the kids. It was funny because when Mike was ready to leave he asked her if we were done bonding and we were both like, we bonded a long time ago! We talk all the time & she’s become like the big sister I never had. She’s a beautiful soul, strong woman and a devoted wife and mother who I have learned so much from over these past few months. I love her and her family and I feel so blessed to be forever connected to them.
5-What was your favorite moment from set?
The first time all of us wives were on set, the guys were losing it because they had only been around each other with the boot camp and everything. And they were just really excited to have some women on set. It was so funny! It’s nice as women when men let you know you’re causing an effect instead of just trying to be too cool for school. At the same time they were all so gracious, charming and real gentlemen. You could tell they had mamas who raised them right. They really had the best energy and spirits I wish them all so much more success.
6-You also star as Savannah Peters in Mr. Student Body President. How did that come about?
I self submitted for it on a casting site and went in for an audition and TANKED! I was really bad. I felt terrible and then I went home and I submitted myself for a different role with a different picture (hoping they wouldn’t recognize me) and they brought me back in and that time I KILLED because I had to redeem myself! And after going back a third time and reading about 8 different roles I ended up getting cast as the first role I ever auditioned for, Savannah Peters.
7-Mr. Student Body President was recently renewed for a second season. How does that feel and will you be back?
It’s amaaaaaaaazing—so many unimaginable things have come out of that experience. Like having my face on a billboard in Beverly Hills… I’m just a little girl from the hood! I’m happy that it was successful enough to get picked up for more episodes. I really miss my squad and I would most definitely LOVE to go back! Still waiting on that contract though—they better not play with me. I did say I was a little girl from the hood, right?
8-What is your dream role?
This is a great question, hmmmm let’s see…I would loooooooove to work with Denzel Washington of course! He’s doing all the August Wilson plays so it’s definitely a major goal of mine to get in at least one of them. If I could work with Daniel Day Lewis or Leonardo DiCaprio, I’d die. I’d also love to star in a biopic for someone like Janet Jackson or Diana Ross.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an actor?
Make a decision and take action. Get in an acting class and begin to fill yourself with as much knowledge as you possibly can because knowledge is power. And once you start putting in that work, everyday, (my mentor got me to start keeping a notebook on what I do for my career everyday and it’s been sooooo beneficial) opportunities are going to present themselves (that’s the good side of Karma) and you’ll be ready.
10-What is NEXT for Raven Bowens?
I’m on Cloud 9 and feeling unstoppable so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…(smiley face)
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Photo Credit: McCaffrey Talent Management