Currently, Beth is facing one of her biggest tests in fostering Deja. Is this her greatest challenge so far?
I always think that her dad passing was probably the biggest, but this, I think, is up there, in terms of what she’s had to deal with. I would say yes, probably after her father’s death. Trying to help someone who’s coming from a very different lifestyle, who’s coming from abuse. Beth grew up in a household where her and her siblings were taken care of, not that they were living at the level that she and Randall are, but there was love and there was family. What really, really bothers her is how neglected this young girl has been, how she hasn’t been taken care of, how much stress she’s had to experience. All of these things anger her and bother her, and they’re not easy fixes. It’s not something that’s going to be wrapped up quickly. There is a challenge of opening your home and saying, “Come into this safe space,” yet you don’t know how that’s going to be received at all. It’s not their perfect little life that they’ve set up for themselves, there’s going to be more chaos than they signed up for.
There’s a heartbreaking scene in tonight’s episode, where Beth is horrified after Deja cuts off all her hair, right after they share a rare moment of connection. What did that scene say to you?
I’ve watched as Lyric [Ross], who plays Deja, cut off her own hair and really cut it off. For a young girl, and I’ll speak even more specifically, for a young black girl, hair is so much of our lives. Not even intentionally, but because of what goes into our hair care and because the beauty that it’s attached to. For a young girl who doesn’t want to… It’s a big thing in the black community to have long, beautiful hair — and the care that goes into that — or to have full hair, or to have healthy hair. All those things are a big deal. For this young girl to have to actually cut her own hair off… Like, I cut my own hair off when I went natural without any chemicals in my hair and it took me three-and-a-half hours. I had to tap out and call friends and pray and do all these things as I went along, and this girl had to do it in a matter of 10 minutes for different takes and every take, she had to keep getting closer and closer to the scalp. So by the time she walked into the kitchen, I saw what she had gone through and what it takes to have to do that. It was heartbreaking, that Deja, as a character, hurt that much. Something she was taking so much pride in and feeling good about herself, that she could spiral that quickly. In the end, it said she didn’t trust Beth anymore.
How does Beth earn back Deja’s trust?
It becomes about both Randall and Beth, to where she’ll see that Beth telling him, it wasn’t a bad thing. That they’re both on her side. It becomes more about showing her that they’re all on her side. They’re not trying to take advantage of her in any way. They actually support her. Her path and everything she comes with is not something that they feel like is gossip. It’s really Beth and Randall discussing her, so they can make life better for her. Those are the things that they’re going to look into in the next few episodes.