Naturi Cora Maria Naughton is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, and actress. Naughton is formerly one-third of the R&B trio 3LW and is perhaps best known for her roles in Fame, Notorious, and The Playboy Club. Naughton was a series regular in season one of the Lifetime television drama series The Client List as Kendras. Naughton currently stars in the Starz drama Power as Tasha St. Patrick.
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Hey, it's Naturi Naughton, Jersey girl born and raised. I was always a singer and actress, and knew I wanted to do this since I was 5 years old. I love to write as well. I'm a mini-poet on the side as well as a writer. And I'm a double-dutch champion. It's a little-known fact.
Outside of that, I'm just a regular girl, living the dream. You can follow me on instagram at https://instagram.com/naturi4real/. Victoria's helping me out tonight since I'm traveling. AMA!
Well, it means a lot to have the support of the fans, because I couldn't do it without you! Thank you for encouraging me to live my dreams. Thank you for watching my films, watching my TV shows, listening to my music - it really helps to keep me inspired. So the same way you feel that I inspire you all, I feel just as inspired.
So thank you, for all of the love.
What was it like working on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ?
It was SO much fun, because I got to work with somebody that I admired, Danny DeVito - and playing his love interest was hilarious. I was his 1960's or 1970's "negress" in the show (that's what the character actually says). It was just really great working with these talented people, because my improv skills just got better. Working on It's Always Sunny is just about going with the crazy, and being okay with the crazy, so I learned to think on my feet. It was a really good learning experience.
Well, me and Danny DeVito kissing onscreen while I was in a 1970's jumpsuit outfit with an Afro... it was hilarious. The whole show started with him meeting me in the 1960's, dating in the 1970's, then cutting to the current day. It was hilarious.
Did you undergo any special preparation to portray Lil Kim in Notorious ?
DEFINITELY. Basically, playing Lil' Kim was probably THE most challenging role i ever had, because I had to transform into a real-life person who wears many different looks - being able to get the wigs, blond wigs, wigs of different colors, the clothing (or lack thereof) is very sexualized - but also I did a lot of research on her story, her journey as a young woman, running away from home, so I had to tap into her as a person, and then studying her albums, her voice in interviews, that helped me get into character, to really understand her journey.
But it was the most fun I've had as an actress. I had a great time playing her.
What is your biggest fear, and what do you do to overcome it?
My biggest fear - hmmm! My biggest fear was probably leaving the group that I was in, 3LW. So it was really scary, stepping outside of a group, and becoming an individual. And the way that I got over it was going to college, becoming an adult, figuring out who I was as a person, and I think just taking time to self-explore, I think that helped me conquer those fears, because then I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, having the career I'm supposed to have.
How is Charlie Day in person? Does he smell nice?
I mean, I'm not calling him short, but I think he's on the shorter side. Because I'm very short, so I can't call anybody short, honestly. But he was SUPER-cool though. Really energetic. So fun to be around. And Danny DeVito, I had a lot of scenes with him. And I didn't sniff him too much, so I can't go that far, but I would say he seemed pretty fresh to me!
What are your favorite fashion choices?
My favorite fashion choices, well, I love vintage. I love very girly things. I'm SUCH a girly-girl. So I'm into babydoll dresses, I'm into maxi-dresses, going to the beach in a really long, pretty maxi-dress. I also love a bustier and a high-waisted skirt, that reminds me of that Betty Boop-eque look. I love dresses that have really puffy crinoline bottoms, those remind me of Marilyn Monroe. I'm just very flirty with my style, flirty and fun. And I enjoy wearing colorful, girlish things!
Did you know what IASIP was before you got cast?
Honestly, I had heard of it, because it was such a hit show, but I'd never watched it. So I went and binge-watched a TON of It's Always Sunny just so I could get acclimated to the style of the show. But once I watched it, I fell in love! I was so excited to be a part of it.
Yep! Shady Nasty is also one way to pronounce it. But Shadynasty is the proper way. When Danny DeVito is reflecting on his love, he goes into flashback mode, I think Charlie's character says "Wait...Shady Nasty?" and Danny says "NO! Shadynasty!"
Let's just say I'll go with Sha-dynasty. That sounds a lot more elegant!
What's your best memory of doing the Fame movie? And do you wish they'd use it as a template for the newly proposed series?
Well, the best part of doing FAME was being able to really, really learn classical music on the piano, and playing the piano and singing in the movie was amazing for me - I just felt like I really, really got stronger as a singer and as a pianist. It was just a great experience. I don't know about the newly-proposed series, but I definitely think they should follow the original FAME since it was a big hit. It was classic. I'm all about going back to the original.
Speaking of Power, I love your character Tasha St. Patrick. Can you give us any more background on her? I know she got pregnant and married young, but did she ever try to go to college? Or was singing her dream?
Oh wow! That's a great question.
Tasha definitely had a bit of a hard life. She grew up in Queens, NY. And you know, was dealing with her mom being a single mom, her dad wasn't really around, she got pregnant at 19, she didn't just go to college, but I think she always wanted to, but she believed that her talent as a singer could potentially be her way out. So at one point, she was really trying to get a record deal and make it in the business.
Tasha is a very interesting character, because she's very much a part of the streets - she grew up on them - and that's why she's a part of Ghost's life, because he knows that she's just as much of a gangster, she's just as much of a street girl, and she's just as aware of the street life as he is. So she's very smart. If she'd gone to college, she would have been an A-student. Tasha's very smart.
You seem to challenge yourself a lot. You've done a lot of different things (girl group, TV show, Broadway, college etc). Are you ever afraid to try something new? How do you face self-doubt?
What was your experience I'm college like? What made you go to school?
I face self-doubt ALL THE TIME. And it's a part of taking risks. It's a part of being courageous!
I'm grateful that I've been able to do a lot of different things in my career so far.
But I think you have to be willing to grow. And you have to be willing to fail, or make a mistake, or do some fall starts. I wouldn't be an actress if I didn't try, I didn't think I was going to end up on Broadway but I did!
I think self-doubt is something we all struggle with. SO I'd say to anyone who deals with it: You can do it. So fight through it. And trust yourself, trust your instincts.
And I went to Seton Hall University, in New Jersey. I loved going to Seton Hall. My experience was a lot of fun. I met a lot of friends that I still have to this day. You know... I didn't party that much, because it's a Catholic university and i was focused on my grades, but it was cool to live on campus, and just be a regular girl! A lot of people knew that I was "the girl from 3LW," but I just wanted to be me, and going to college gave me an opportunity to do that. And I also wanted to get an education, so I wasn't just a singer or actress - I can do so much more, so why not be educated?
Hey Naturi, big fan.
Could you tell us one of your fondest memories with 3lw?
3LW...one of the fondest memories was probably being on tour on the TRL tour, opening up for Destiny's Child. Really amazing. It was an honor to be opening up for Destiny's Child, to be onstage in a different city, singing and dancing. I was a huge fan of Destiny's Child, so it was really surreal being the opening act for them.
Hi Naturi, first of all congratulations on all of your recent accomplishments. Here’s to wishing more your way.
With your growing talent and success as an actress and your past as a singer, do you feel you do your best work focusing on one craft at a time or do you find working on both simultaneously helps generate more ideas?
Who are some current artists that inspire you to go back into the studio?
Any roles you’d love to reprise one day as an actress?
Oooh! That's a lot. I would say that I love working in both. I think it helps sharpen my skills as an actress and a singer. I enjoy being able to do both simultaneously. When I was on Broadway in the show HAIRSPRAY, it helped me think on my feet, and being an artist, singing live every night, acting, and dancing, that's what I love about being a triple threat. So I think it works together to make me a better artist as a whole.
I am in love with Beyonce! That's a current artist who always inspires me. And I am inspired by her, I'm inspired by D'Angelo... but every time Beyonce drops an album, it inspires me to think Pull it together - look good, sing good! She definitely inspires me.
And yes, actually, there is. One of the roles that I've always wanted to play is Dororthy in THE WIZ. I'd love to play that role, it's a dream role for me. I know they're doing THE WIZ, so it would be an honor to do Dorothy in THE WIZ.
Please, if you don't mind, I have two questions: Do you own a turntable, and who do you listen to when you want to unwind?
Hmmm! I don't own a turntable. I wish!
That's actually really cool. But when I like to unwind, I love listening to Jill Scott. Oh my god. She puts me in such a calm, smooth, sexy state of mind. I also listening to Robert Glassper, and D'Angelo. And I also love the oldies but goodies, like the music of the Supremes. I just love old-school music, it just always makes me feel good.
What's your most favorite movie of all time?
Oooh, gosh, my favorite movie of all time - I have a lot of favorite movies! LOVE JONES with Nia Long and Larenz Tate...but then BEACHES with Bette Midler, so random but I'm obsessed with that movie, and THE COLOR PURPLE are definitely tied for my top spot. I love classic movies, I love romantic films, so all of them have a little bit of me in it, and a little bit of what I like about movies in them. So those are definitely my top 3.
What is your favorite mythological creature and why?
This is an interesting question. I never really thought about it.
BUT since I have to choose, I'd probably say a unicorn. I love horses. And I love how unique and beautiful a unicorn is, with its horn. I just think standing out in a crowd is so attractive, being different and unique and special.
Are there any projects we can look forward to seeing you in outside of POWER?
Actually, yes! I have a movie coming up, directed by Regina King, this is her directorial debut. It's a BET original film, called LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN. It's coming out in August of this year. So I'm excited about this. Regina is such a mentor, I've always loved her as an actress, so I'm excited to see her as a director. So tune in!
If you had to defeat a man with just one hit,what would you do???
Oh goodness. Kick 'em where it hurts! And also, probably out-talk him. I'm really good with words. And you'd be surprised how powerful they can be in battle, the power of words.
How exactly does one become a double-dutch champion?
Well...I practiced double-dutch going up in my neighborhood with friends. You'd definitely have to jump often. You have to learn how to turn, and how to jump. But we'd compete. Who could jump the longest, who could do the most tricks, and I got pretty competitive, so that's how - just practice!
What do you do to have such gorgeous skin?
Oh, thank you, firstly, whomever asked that question!
I feel like - oh! - you really have to have a regimen when it comes to your skin. Because I wear a lot of makeup, it's challenging, but i always take my makeup off with a makeup remover, and I wash my face off every night with an exfoliant, and I stay moisturized, because I have oily skin. So yeah, I'm just big on having a regimen. I do the same thing every morning, and every night. And I think that helps keep the skin healthy.
Hey Naturi! You started in the industry so young! What was it like experiencing stardom/fame at only 15? Also, do you plan on publishing any poetry/writing? I'm such a fan of your music and films :)
Thank you for being a fan!
I am actually writing a blog for Essence.com - I JUST started. Here's my first entry: http://www.essence.com/2015/06/04/naturi-naughton-powerful-woman-inside-essence-blog
So that is my first article for Essence, and I have another post coming out in July. So once a month, I will be writing things that inspire and empower - so keep an eye out for that.
And I did start my career very young, but I also think it made me strong as an adult, and now that I'm an artist and an actress, everything I went through as a teenager in the business really shaped me and helped me grow into the woman I am today. So I am glad I started young!
What's your favorite show to watch on tv right now?
Other than POWER?
I am obsessed with the show AMERICAN CRIME. It's a drama on ABC, and I also love Orange is the New Black.
Do you still jump rope from time to time?
I do! Actually - I did a show on BET called BET EXPERIENCE, this is a month ago, where they had me jump on the show, and people watched me jump on television! And I did pretty well! I think this might be it and everyone was surprised I was such a good double-dutch jumper. I love to jump. Anytime that I can, I try to use it as a form of exercise as well!
Wow, thanks for replying so descriptively. I hope you land the role! The Wiz is such a classic, I'm sure you'll do it justice if you get it, especially since you have experience in musicals already! Beyonce is legendary of course, but very cool to throw D'Angelo in there, that guy is criminally underrated. Have a great day!
You just made my day! That is so awesome. Thank you for making me feel so much love through the computer. That's awesome.
No, thank you for making great art for me and everyone else to enjoy and for doing this AMA!
That is really nice. Thank YOU for enjoying the art that I do. It really means a lot to me that the fans like my work!
What is the biggest thing you miss about 3LW? What is the thing you miss the least about being in a group like that?
What do I miss the most? It was really challenging, being in 3LW, so I don't know if I miss anything that much. But I do appreciate the traveling that I got to do as a teenager. Going to Paris, and London, and Amsterdam - oh my gosh! Just being able to experience that I had fans all over the world - that was really cool. So I will always appreciate that. And the thing i miss the least is the drama of being in a girl group - the drama, the animosity, it's very stressful. I don't miss that at all!
Neat! If you could jump rope with anyone in Hollywood, who would it be?
Oh, that's fun!
Well, I'm trying to think. I would LOVE to jump rope with my girlfriend Nicole Beharie from SLEEPY HOLLOW, she's a good friend of mine, we would have a blast jumping rope together... and for a boy... I dunno, I just think Idris Elba is really hot, so I'd give anything to get into a rope with him and get tangled!