Armed with a license in cosmetology and a few small acting roles, Malinda Williams left her home state of New Jersey and ambitiously set her sights on Hollywood. Originally intent on servicing the entertainment industry by opening her own hair salon, Malinda quickly found her beauty industry career giving way to her undeniable acting talent.
Twice nominated for an NAACP image award for “outstanding actress in a drama series”, the determined young beauty made a name for herself, grabbing lead roles in films such as The Wood , High School High, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls and First Sunday. Having just completed one of four film projects in 2011 which include Percentage with Ving Rhames and Macy Gray, Russ Parr’s The Undershephard and GMC’s A Cross to Bear, Malinda will appear next, alongside Chris Rock, in Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York, which will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Best known for her role as “Bird” on the hit television series SoulFood, This busy mom always finds time to mentor young women and work with non-profit organizations such as Black Girls Rock!, Take Wings and Chrysalis Foundations.
Having been branded one of the “entertainment industry’s most well respected actresses”, this busy mom, entrepreneur and writer has recently been hitting the speaking circuit, addressing a range of topics including, women’s interests and issues, living with asthma, and success & education, among others. An extremely passionate motivational speaker, Malinda’s words on leadership, self-esteem and self-motivation leave no doubts as to why success continually finds it’s way to her door.
Recently Aries from UrbanBridgez.com spoke to Malinda Williams about her new talk show Exhale, her reasons for wanting to be involved in the show, “Bird,” her favorite role she’s played, Nicki Minaj and more!
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you first get your start in the industry?
Malinda Williams: You know what, it was actually a gradual start when I was very young. I was about 10 years old and there was a talent scout who came in my neighborhood and was giving out business cards, to the parents of the kids in the neighborhood. He gave a card to my mother and my parents took me into New York City and I started modeling. I would do like catalogs like Macy’s and things like that. Then I just naturally transitioned into acting and I started doing television commercials and eventually films and television shows.
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us about Exhale and your role in the show?
Malinda Williams: Exhale is a new talk series with five women, five very dynamic women! We talk about all kind of stories, tell our personal stories and we interview guests. People from doctors, lawyers, some celebrities, authors and we just really have a real point of view. In that we talk to them, but we also share our personal experiences. We don’t talk to them not so much as asking questions from a journalist standpoint, but a personal standpoint. In like what that means to me, we know that in a lot of ways we represent African American women. We make the questions for what some of the viewers may have as well.
UrbanBridgez.com: What attracted you to be a part of this show?
Malinda Williams: I feel like it’s a very, very good time for black women! To not say it hasn’t always been but we have Michelle Obama literally as a forefront, the baddest back women on the planet as far as I’m concerned. So it’s really a good time for us I think and time for us to really voice our concerns, do some venting, to ask some questions, to get down to business in terms of what is relevant to us. For many, many years we talked about where we were not being seen, what is not being addressed in our community and culture. Now that we have these platforms who we can get up and talk about who we are, even if it’s just that we have something to say. It doesn’t necessary have to be something so deep and concerning but just something to say, something that’s important to me. Something that matters to me and I think it’s time for that. That’s what drew me to it and made me want to be a part of it. I was like yeah, I have something to say (laughs)!
UrbanBridgez.com: What do you want people to get out of this series?
Malinda Williams: I think since we’re sharing a lot of our personal stories and our sort of intimate details about our lives, that people may not be aware of. I really want women to walk away feeling like, oh wow okay so I can just relax and know that I’m human. Humans make mistakes and this happened to her and she overcame it, then I’m going to be okay. I feel like a lot of times we go through these situations in life and we feel so alone. But the moment you encounter someone who has gone through something similar, you all of a sudden emotionally and mentally feel more at ease. I think there is a healing quality to sharing, sharing your personal stories and trials and tribulations. The good and bad. It’s another reason I wanted to be involved in this because I know talking, sharing and embracing each other has a very healing quality.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who has been one of your favorite guest?
Malinda Williams: My favorite was Lance Gross (actor), because he kind of had me speechless and I’m never speechless. I rarely have nothing to say and he rendered me speechless. So he was my favorite, but he showed me something about myself (laughs). And interesting DeVon Franklin, who is Megan Good’s husband and an executive in the industry. He was very interesting interview as well.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve done so many roles, what would you say is one of your favorite roles you’ve played and why?
Malinda Williams: You know what, I think Bird from Soul Food is my favorite. It’s probably like obvious, but it’s one of my favorite roles. Primarily because the people who I met and worked with on that show are still to this day like family to me. It was also the role that was closest to my personal character. I mean I had gone through the relationship issues she had gone through, I have two older sisters the way she does, I went to cosmetology school and I do hair the way she does. The parallels between her and I on Soul Food were almost scary. So I learned a lot in my own personal journey through playing that role actually.
UrbanBridgez.com: I’m sure many of our viewers would love to know who are some artists Malinda Williams favorite is currently rocking to?
Malinda Williams: You know I like Wale right now, I really do. I’m liking him a lot right now. Wow, let’s see. What’s interesting is I’m really into Reggae.
Malinda Williams: Oh yeah big time! I think in a former life I was Jamaican, maybe in a couple of former lives seriously. I’ve been to that island a couple of times in my former lives I’m sure. I actually just love anything that’s very rhythmic with a heavy beat, I love heavy beats. I really love Hip-Hop, I like what Nicki (Minaj) is doing a lot actually. At first I was skeptical, because I’m a little older and old school. So when she first came out, I was kind of like umm, I don’t know about this chick I’m not sure. But she really is selling herself to be quite a talent. So I got to give her that, I defiantly do!
“Exhale” Airs on ASPiRE Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
The ladies of “exhale” get to the heart of one of the biggest issues impacting the lives of black women, health. The hosts are joined by experts and survivors who explore dieting and nutrition, secrets to becoming both mentally and physically fit and preventing illnesses devastating African American women like heart disease and HIV/AIDS.
AJ Johnson, Actress, Wellness Expert and Creator of The AJ Zone
Dr. Felicia Wade, Physician and Author of “The Heart Of The Matter: A New Beginning”
Simone Smith, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Cancer Survivor
Carrie Broadus, Executive Director of Women Alive
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