Veteran actress Wendy Davis is known for her critically acclaimed role on the Lifetime television series Army Wives; she was nominated for several awards for her portrayal of Col. Joan Burton. Now, Wendy has stepped into another role showcasing her stellar gift with her portrayal of wiser Nuri on the romantic drama series, Love Is___.
The OWN network show, inspired by the real-life relationship of hit showmakers Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, tells the love story of a modern-day power couple navigating the landscape of Black Hollywood and the complex set of social codes that they face. After a successful premiere this summer, the series is now greenlighted for a second season.
When she’s not working on her craft, you can find Wendy inspiring other actors by teaching them vital skills through workshops, industry panel discussions and classes that are essential to creating and maintaining
a professional acting career, with her company, Acting Pros.
During her downtime, Wendy enjoys riding her two horses and being a powerful advocate for those living with ADHD. Here, we chat with Wendy about her new role, along with her hair and beauty favorites.
Hype Hair: Can you tell us a little bit about your show, Love Is___, and the character you play?
Wendy Davis: It is a wonderful romantic comedy that reminds me of a lot of the comedies back in the ’90s, like When Harry Met Sally — those really great comedies. It’s really about a young couple falling in love, and as the seasons continue, it will not only be about how they fell in love but also how they manage to keep their love strong.
So the character I play, Nuri, is actually the main character of the show, 20 years later. What’s interesting about that is, I get to have a lot of very reflective moments about the situations that are being depicted on the show, so I get to really reflect on the struggles, the challenges and the triumphs that the younger Nuri and Yasir are going through.
HH: How inspiring was it for you, knowing that the series centers on the true love story of the show’s creators, Salim and Mara Brock Akil—and how did that resonate for you during your time on set, working with them?
Well, you know, they are such a power couple, it’s really just incredible to see their humble beginnings—because, initially, in Hollywood, they were just a couple of peons like everybody else. To see how they really create this powerful relationship but also build their company, their brand and ultimately their empire as a young couple is very inspiring. I didn’t know Mara very well; we had only crossed paths a few times. She’s really the one who is spearheading Love Is___, and I was just really struck by her grace and power at the same time—that’s really what this woman possesses. So it was interesting playing a character who’s based on a real woman I’m working directly with. An interesting little caveat is that I’m playing a real woman, but the older version—so the younger Nuri is playing Mara, and I’m playing Mara’s older version, in a way. It’s kind of an interesting study in acting. But she’s been very gracious and very forthcoming about her experiences and her life.
HH: How do you personally define love and what does it mean to you?
WD: To me, personally, love is when you love everything that a person is and everything that a person is not—I think that’s the most important component, because it’s very easy to love the really wonderful characteristics of your partner, that’s the easy stuff, but really accepting the parts about them that are not so great.
Nobody’s perfect, so every single person that you have a relationship with, they’re going to have great qualities and then they are going to have some qualities that you wish they didn’t. So it’s about embracing those qualities that aren’t so fantastic—that is real love.
HH: How does it feel to be a part of the OWN family? Have you received any words of wisdom from Oprah about your journey so far on this project?
WD: Well, I’ve been a huge fan of Oprah and her work since I was a very little girl. So it was a little surreal to have an opportunity to meet her in person. She’s an incredible humanitarian and an incredible woman, and I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work on her network and to have an opportunity to tell the story. I’m totally tickled pink to be working with OWN and to be working with Oprah—or should I say tickled brown.
HH: What motivates and inspires you in general, in both life and in your career?
WD: What motivates me is people—I love people, and I love seeing people work together and come together, supporting each other, which is very important. It feels like our country is very divided right now, so I’m absolutely motivated when I see people coming together and working together to solve problems. I also have a 15-year-old daughter, and she motivates me a lot to get out of my comfort zone. She’s fearless; I have to try to keep her alive, so I gotta go with her on a lot of things. She motivates me a lot.