DeWanda Wise fiddles around her kitchen preparing morning coffee as her beloved cat, Rascal, sits on the counter purring. For the actress, it’s a rare day off from her latest role as the beloved Black feminist icon Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s much-anticipated first Netflix original series, She’s Gotta Have It. It’s the small-screen version of his debut film, which became a cult hit.
In month four of the intense shoot schedule for the show, Wise, who also stars in Fox’s new drama Shots Fired (premiering March 22), obviously cannot be certain how her biggest project to date will turn out. She just knows it will be good. “It’s Spike Lee,” says the Baltimore native. “I don’t know that I’ve been a part of a show where people are like, “I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like” and I’m like, “Me neither!””
This feature originally appeared in the March 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.
In between fielding phone calls from her reps in Hollywood and her husband of eight years, actor Alano Miller (who plays Cato on WGN America’s Underground), Wise gives us a peek into the world of a media darling in the making.
Astrological sign: Gemini
Projects: Shots Fired, Underground and She’s Gotta Have It
Before her 5:00 A.M. pickup, Wise exercises in her building’s gym. Then she heads to the set for a busy day.
“New York City has always been where I create my art,” she says. “Also a lot of my friends are here.”
For Wise (seen here getting a caffeine fix on a break), a 12-hour day on set is the norm, but that doesn’t interfere with her beauty rest. “Sleep is very important to me,” she says. “All those people who romanticize not sleeping, that’s not me. I work 41 days straight. I can’t get sick.”
She FaceTimes hubby Alano Miller.
After work, Wise likes to curl up with a good book. But tonight, she says, “My friends were like, “Let’s go to a Nets game.” I came home, took a quick nap and then hung out.”