It’s been a busy year for Michael Michele, who earlier this year joined the cast of Star as Ayanna Floyd, a glamorous record label president. And, recently, the actress made a guest appearance on Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar as Darlene, the mother of Bianca Lawson’s Darla.
Speaking with ESSENCE, Michele describes being on set of the OWN hit series as feeling “as if everyone’s arms were around you.”
“Let’s talk about Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay,” Michele says. “If I had to choose a word, and there are many many adjectives that one can use to describe these women, but if I had to choose a word, I would say ‘integrity.'”
The actress tells ESSENCE that she was in Denver when she got a call from DuVernay about a role that the director envisioned for her, “I didn’t have a script, I didn’t know what it was beyond playing Darla’s mother and it didn’t matter because I knew that with Oprah and Ava doing it, it would be a terrific thing. It would be layered, it would have substance, it would have integrity, it would have dignity.”
The actress adds that after years in the industry, working on sets where she had to “constantly figure out the politics of how you can just get your job done,” she felt a warmer feeling on the set of Queen Sugar.
“Everyone was there for the purpose of telling the story earnestly and truthfully and when you have that kind of feeling on a set, then you’re free to do your best work,” she says. “When you walk on this set, you feel the spirit of those women in everything that’s happening everyday in everyone.”