BET’s hit series “Being Mary Jane” came back with a bang with the season 4 premiere on January 10th. Gabrielle Union, starring as the titular character, starts her new life in New York City on a new show that comes complete with new challenges and new faces, including actress Valarie Pettiford as anchor Ronda Sales. I spoke with Ms. Pettiford about her new role and and what drew her interest to the show.
What are your expectations for your character?
That the audience falls in love with me! I want to do a good enough job, especially when you come onto a hit show, you get a lot of love and camaraderie for your audience. Being a new person coming to a new show with a fan base that’s number one for three years, I want the loyal audience to fall in love with my character.
The first episode of season four introduced your character, Ronda Sales, a well-respected reporter who Mary Jane admires. What was it about the character that drew your interest?
Just that, a woman of color who is at the top of her game; a woman of a certain age that is at the top of her game, and also to play an anchor. I’ve never plaid an anchor. I’ve played a cop, I’ve played a doctor, but I’ve never played an anchor. It opened my eyes to how hard they work. That’s what drew me to the character.
Is Ronda likely to be an ally or a competitor of Mary Jane’s?
Can you discuss your favorite moment of the show?
My favorite moment? There’s a particular scene that comes near the end, I think we shot it, I want to say episode nine or ten, but it was Gabrielle and I and it was delicious! It’s nothing more satisfying than working with a friend of yours that happens to be extraordinary on set and off. I got to see her work for the first time and she was amazing. I can’t say what the scene was but it was delicious. We didn’t even speak; it was behavior.
What is your favorite episode of “Being Mary Jane”?
Oh my God, my favorite episode. That’s so hard! Episode two, maybe episodes nine or ten.
They were so much fun! It’s not only you get to play a great character, you work with great people, cast, crew, great directors. We had amazing directors, Mario Van Peebles, Neema from “Queen’s Sugar”. We were very fortunate.
It was a pleasure speaking with Ms. Pettiford, and watching the season premiere of “Being Mary Jane” was just as exciting. That she was excited about the show and her role tells me that we are in for an amazing season and I can’t wait to see what else the show has in store for us.