"The Game" star dishes on what's in store for Tasha Mack this season and how she makes her marriage work.
Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson is best known as the feisty, fearless sports mom-ager Tasha Mack on BET’s top-rated series “The Game,” where she plays an outspoken and often misunderstood woman who just can’t catch a break when it comes to men. But, off-screen Robinson’s life couldn’t be more different. The veteran actress has been happily married for nine years and she, her dedicated husband, and their three dogs, Trixie, Bandit, and Baby, share a Los Angeles home filled with love and joy.
Robinson, who has earned three NAACP Image Awards nominations for her acting, has a second family she’s equally devoted to – the talented teens whose lives are forever changed by their time at the Amazing Grace Conservatory (AGC), a LA-based theatrical training institute she founded that's designed to promote self-esteem in young actors through self-expression.
Balancing a marriage, a successful and busy career, and a non-profit organization is a lot to juggle. Just how does she do it? For starters, she enjoys it. Marriage, says Robinson, “is wonderful.” Not perfect, but as close as one can ask for, she tells us. “I mean it has its highs and lows and all of that, but we’ve definitely been on a journey together and I can honestly say he’s my best friend.”
Robinson absolutely hates being away from her man for too long. “We won’t let more than two weeks go by without being together and seeing each other,” she shares.
As fans eagerly await the much-anticipated return of the new season of “The Game” this Tuesday, we got the multitasking diva to take five, so we could find out how she and her husband make it work in Hollywood and to see if Tasha Mack finally gets a good man this season.
ESSENCE.COM: How did you meet your husband, and how did he propose?
WENDY RAQUEL ROBINSON: I am a huge Lakers fan. It was the finals and there was a little soiree at my house. A friend of mine who doesn’t drive asked if it was okay to bring a friend over because he was his ride. I said sure and they came over. The guys were all talking and the ladies were all talking and, you know, he’s holding court, and I’m like, who’s this guy? We just started talking and the rest was history. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. It was really just a connection at first sight and we were both at the right places in our lives and it just happened.
We had been dating for about two years and things were going really, really great. I was actually doing a theater show in North Carolina and he was going to go with me to see a play I was doing. It was my birthday and we’re packing up and he goes, “I want you to see this video I made.” I was like, “A video?” So we’re watching and he’s just singing happy birthday on the video. I’m thinking, oh how cute, and then at the end of the video he goes, “By the way, will you marry me?” We started running around the house like little eight-year-olds. He had the ring and everything. It was really a 3D proposal. That was really special. Back then, this was all on VHS. It was so sweet.
ESSENCE.COM: Tell us some things you adore about your husband?
ROBINSON: Honey, he can fix anything. Do you hear me? Anything. I got a man, man, man, man. I mean he can fix literally anything. He’s MacGyver times one hundred. Not even just with the technical stuff, but any apparatus around the house. He really gets into it and he loves that challenge. And, he is the communicator in the relationship. He loves to talk and he loves to work it out, whereas sometimes I agree to disagree. Usually he’s like, “No, we have to talk this out.” So I love that about him. He doesn’t let me go into my shell.
ESSENCE.COM: What’s it like kissing heartthrobs like Rick Fox or Terrence J. in front of your husband?
ROBINSON: You know, he’s human. He doesn’t like to watch it. I’m like honey, okay, look, this is going to be our retirement right here. (Laughs.) But he is definitely a man and it is hard for him, but he does understand. Actually that’s one area where Tia’s husband and my husband have definitely bonded. You know on "The Game," we go in. Mara [Brock Akil] goes for the jugular -- she really goes for it. This season I get myself in some precarious situations. He doesn’t watch it much. He watches the good episodes he can watch, when I’m clowning and all that, but he doesn’t like it, it’s hard. This season is worse. It’s crazy. It’s funny, and a ride, but it all makes sense at the end. It all comes together.
ESSENCE.COM: What’s in store for Tasha Mack in the new season of “The Game”?
ROBINSON: It’s going through some twists and some turns and some ups and downs. We’re definitely delivering this year. The stories are a little all over the place, but in a good way. They wanted to move forward in time. We jumped ahead like five years in the lives of the characters and there was just so much we had to get out. Now you’ll see the unraveling of the characters. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Tasha is in search of self and has really come to grips with the fact that she’s put so many things, like her son and in the men in her life, ahead of her and it’s finally coming to, look, I’ve got to do this for me, and it’s okay to do this for me. Her process of discovering that is a lot. For a moment, I was even a little upset with Tasha. I was reading the script and I was like, “Really?” But now it all makes sense. Yeah, you’re going to go on the ride with her.
ESSENCE: What advice do you have for women who say they don’t believe in love or a happily ever after?
ROBINSON: I thought that I was that woman once upon a time. I had gone through a devastating breakup. It was an on-again, off-again relationship that I was in for about 13 years. After I was finally over it, I was just done. I was living alone and got me a dog and I was just doing everything that I wanted to do. I wasn’t concerned about a relationship, or looking for someone to complete me. Of course, it’s always nice to have someone to share it with, but I’ve been blessed to have family, great friends, and a wonderful circle, so I was moving forward and I wasn’t looking for it.
Then when I stopped looking for it, it happened. It happened because I was in a place where I could receive it. I do believe in doing the work and getting yourself together because love can be right in your face, but if you’re not ready to receive it, it will be wasted.
That’s one of the things that I go on a journey with with Tasha this season, too. She had to get her stuff together and realize she is deserving of it. It comes at different times for different people. You know it came a little later for Tasha, but for me, thank God it came 10 years ago when I was at a point where I could receive it and not sabotage it. So many times we can sabotage it, for whatever reason. Because we feel insecure, or we feel inadequate, or we just don’t feel good about ourselves – so how can you be a good companion to anybody else? But, I believe in it. I’ve seen it.
Catch the premiere of the new season of "The Game" this Tuesday, January 10th, and 10p.m. EST.