You know Wendy Raquel Robinson best as sweet school Principal Regina Grier, Steve Harveyï¿½s love interest on his popular show. But get ready for a new look at Robinsonï¿½s acting skills as she takes on being a football mom on the CW show ï¿½The Game.ï¿½ Robinson plays Tasha Mack, momager to football player Malik Wright. Mack is a takes-no-shorts career woman struggling to succeed in a male-dominated field, while looking out for her son at the same time.
Robinson’s real-life career began at Howard University, where she wanted to be a dancer. But after returning to her hometown of Los Angeles after graduation, her acting career took off, The rest, as they say, is TV history. Since ï¿½The Gameï¿½ has been picked up for a full season on the CW, Robinsonï¿½s success streak looks like it will continue. We caught up with her in L.A., where she lives with her husband and two dogs, and chatted about her new role.
Youï¿½re a TV vet now. How does it feel to start a new show on a brand new network?
Itï¿½s beyond exciting. We had a screening last night, and itï¿½s still so hard for me to watch. Weï¿½re back at one starting off again. The cast is gelling; everybodyï¿½s new; and itï¿½s a new network. Iï¿½ve been doing it for a while, thank God, but the humbling thing is that youï¿½re always starting from scratch.
Youï¿½re working with another TV veteran, Tia Mowry. What has that been like?
Itï¿½s stabilizing. She and I anchor the show on so many levels. Tia is the most humble, sweetest, most endearing young woman, let alone actress, that Iï¿½ve ever met. Itï¿½s humility and a nice silent strength that she brings to the show. It helps a lot that sheï¿½s not caught up at all.
Youï¿½ve been pretty fortunate in your career thus far. Was that by design or good fortune?
As a female whoï¿½s over 35, I know Iï¿½m blessed. God has had his hand on my career forever. I love what I do. I love being able to go to work and make people laugh. Itï¿½s also creating good relationships. You never know. I knew Mara Brock Akil (creator of ï¿½Girlfriends and ï¿½The Gameï¿½) when she was a receptionist on the ï¿½Sinbadï¿½ show back when I did his pilot. You just never know how paths are going to cross. I just try to put out good energy and do good work, and God takes care of the rest.
Wendy on Howard, theater and staying grounded.
What prepared you for success?
Getting an education in theater. Not only did I study theater and the craft and things like that, I also learned the lighting, the makeup, the sounds, not only for TV but for theater. I have my own theater company, and itï¿½s been 10 years, so I was able to draw from that.
I learned the choices that you might make in a character and choices you might make in an audition. I tell my kids, ï¿½Study, study, train, train, train.ï¿½ If you want to be the best at want you do, the training will help you have a career with longevity.
Is this the kind of career you had in mind when you were at Howard?
I started out as a dancer. I wanted to go to Broadway and dance. I could not have dreamt this in a million years. Itï¿½s like, ï¿½Be careful what you ask for because you just may get it.ï¿½ I started auditioning for programs, and things started coming. Itï¿½s amazing. I could not have imagined the dream roles that Iï¿½ve gotten. Iï¿½ve just got to get with Eddie Murphy. I gotta work with Eddie.
What is your theater company about?
Amazing Grace Conservatory is a theatrical training institute for young people 7 to 21. Itï¿½s a year-round program, and each session culminates in a production.
Weï¿½ve sent a lot of kids to NYU and Yale, or theyï¿½re working in the industry. The original Derwin, who was on the show, was one of my students. Iï¿½ve known him since he was 8. Thatï¿½s what we do, and weï¿½ve been doing it for a long time ï¿½ not only in the industry but in the community. I would have never dreamt that it would be what it is today: more than 3,000 thousand kids in 10 years. It helps me stay sane because itï¿½s easy to get consumed in this business.
After experiencing success in such a tough business, what have you learned that you think has helped you stay grounded?
Stay true to myself and not compromise who I am for anything. And know that all the choices that you make will catch up with you, so be sure you do things that allow you to look in the mirror at the end of the day.