Vanessa Simmons has always been ready! The actress, television personality, mother, and businesswoman already has impressive television and film credits. There’s no doubt that she has the professional stamina to continue being a powerhouse actress. One of her most recent projects is streaming service BET+’s original thriller Deadly Entanglement, where she portrays “a singer on the brink of stardom has her life turned upside down when her producer husband’s ex-wife reemerges, determined to get her old life back by any means”. In the conversation, Simmons also speaks openly about how she balances looking toward the future and staying present and gives more insight into her growing wellness platform, U4IA. Read on!
Culturess: You got your start in reality television when you were young and have transitioned into scripted work. Did you always have a passion for acting?
Vanessa Simmons: Yes, acting was always acting professionally was always a dream of mine. This is something I’ve shared on all of the reality shows I’ve been in, from the very beginning on Run’s House. I think you guys got the chance, if you did watch the show, to see me book my very first scripted job on a soap opera. So it feels really good that after so many years and so many rejections and a lot of tough work put in, that I’m having opportunities like this, so really excited. Yes, acting has always been a passion job of mine.
Culturess: Well, people can see you in a ton of television. You were in Growing Up Hip Hop and Games People Play on BET and now you’re in the thriller, Deadly Entanglement. What made you want to take on this role and how did you prepare?
Vanessa Simmons: I would say I prepared like any traditional actor would prepare, digging into the script and just trying to create the character to be as authentic as possible. I definitely did a lot of research and looked into a lot of R&B stars because my character, Tammy, is a rising R&B star. So I had a lot of fun creating her. I dyed my hair blonde. I was totally inspired by Beyoncé, but what would “Beyoncé be like at home”-type of vibe. I had a lot of fun with the wardrobe department just creating her looks. I had as much fun as I could with it to give her a really lovable-type vibe; Not a diva, but also she had to put up with some pretty tough circumstances. So she was girl-next-door, but she was anything but girl-next-door when she had to deal with the ex-wife coming back into the picture. It was a deadly entanglement, the title!
Culturess: How did you feel working opposite Monica Calhoun and Memphis Cade?
Vanessa Simmons: Well, first of all, working with Monica Calhoun was like a dream come true. She’s someone I have admired for many years, growing up, wanting to be a professional actress so to actually have a chance to share the screen with her was absolutely, like, out of body type of situation. I just felt like, “Wow, is this real?”-type of thing, but it was and she was amazing and totally inspired me because she brought so much intensity to her character. It really motivated me every day to just bring my A-game. Memphis Cade, he was absolutely amazing. He really gave off the old-school producer vibes, Babyface-type vibes, and he really helped to really bring the story to life in a real type of way. It felt like we were really living the situation while we were on-set, so it was amazing, and it definitely stretched me as an actress, and I’m really thankful for the experience.
Culturess: So obviously you’re an actress who’s nonstop. Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Vanessa Simmons: I’m actually getting ready to go on stage and do a little theater work this fall. So I’m preparing for a show I’m doing called Rotten Apple. It’ll be alongside Darius McCray, Dorian Wilson, and Darrin Henson. So these are more heavyweights in the game that I get to work with; People who are I consider OGs. Acting on stage, I feel like, is the purest form of acting, and I’m blessed to be able to do it. So that will be this September, actually. Then aside from that, I’m just working for my next role like any other actor in the field right now, everything is tough with the writer’s strike. So just on hold and constantly studying and trying to better myself as an actress.
Culturess: Well, I’m so excited to hear about that. I know that you’re also a beauty and wellness enthusiast and you actually created U4IA. Can you tell me about the process of entering into the beauty and wellness space?
Vanessa Simmons: My goal with entering the beauty and wellness space is purely just to educate people on how they could live their most euphoric life. I just feel like education is the top tier when it comes to inspiring people, and I really want my platform to be one that is impactful. And I feel like we learned in 2020 that health is honestly the highest currency of wealth that we could really have. And I want to be able to inspire people, encourage people to live their best lives and give out as much information as possible. I’m totally in love with everything beauty and wellness, and my entire life is just revolves around it. So I’m like, “You know what? I think I should share this information that I’ve been researching”; Just put it to good use so that other people could live a healthy, happy, and aligned life.
Culturess: Specifically for the Culturess audience, do you have any tips for skincare, as a woman of color?
Vanessa Simmons: Lots of water. I will say make sure you’re getting your eight glasses of water a day. I would say invest in making a skincare routine regimen for yourself. Not only just for the physical benefits, but just like, giving yourself that extra TLC that you would need. I think that self care is like, the way that you show love to yourself and whatever works for you. I feel like you should really submerse yourself in that and make sure you’re giving yourself time every single day to talk nice to yourself and to take care of your skin. The best beauty tip I can definitely give is drink your water and take your makeup off at night. Make sure you’ve taken it all off and really nourishing your skin as best as you can.
Culturess: I think I need that reminder because sometimes I’m just not willing to do it —Take off my makeup.
Vanessa Simmons: It’s hard, but if you create a nice environment for yourself and just be something you kind of look forward to and just giving yourself that time to decompress from the day, it definitely makes a difference.
Culturess: Well, you kind of touched upon this. When you talked about upcoming projects, but I wanted to know where you see yourself in five years? You’re already so accomplished, but I’m sure readers would love to know what your future plans are.
Vanessa Simmons: Wow. It’s so hard because I really try to root my life in living in the present time and making the best of the present. I will say that I hope in five years I’m still doing awesome projects like this and making an impact to inspire and encourage people to be the best possible versions of themselves. I hope that I could do that by example and by lending out good information through U4IA and just making wellness accessible. I’m hoping that U4IA will grow and more and more people are getting that message to just love on the themselves.
Culturess: That’s great advice, especially right now.
Deadly Entanglement is available to stream on BET+ right now! Keep up to date with Hidden Remote for more television news and coverage.