New & Next: Meet ‘Being Mary Jane’ Star Raven Goodwin
Alberto Rodriguez’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest new talents we think you should know. This week we meet actress Raven Goodwin who stars in the BET dramedy Being Mary Jane. We spoke with the former child star on playing Gabrielle Union’s very pregnant niece in Being Mary Jane.

ESSENCE: We know you from your role on kid shows like Just Jordan. Would you consider a breakout role for yourself?
RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes, I went to a screening last night and just to see how we all worked together collectively and made awesome television was great. I’m just really excited for the world to see what Mara [Akil], Salim [Akil], Gabrielle [Union] and all of us have cooked up.

ESSENCE: Did Gabrielle Union give you any acting advice while on set?
GOODWIN: No, we just talked and got to know each other. We’re all sensational in our own right and we had a connection on screen from day one. I think everyone will be able to see that.

ESSENCE: What was it like working with a mostly Black cast?
GOODWIN: It was fun. It’s always good to be around people who get it and understand because it’s a huge difference working on a Black set. I can walk on a Black set and not have to worry about my hair because they know. So that’s the difference and just getting the chance to work with heavyweights like Gabrielle Union, Richard Roundtree and Margaret Avery and seeing why they’re so successful at what they do was eye opening and awesome.

ESSENCE: In the film Mary Jane posts sticky notes with motivational messages all over her house. What’s something that you do to motivate yourself on a daily basis?
GOODWIN: Last night a guy asked us, ‘So what’s with the post-it notes?’ and all the women were like ‘What? You don’t know about the sticky notes?’ I don’t do post-it’s but I use big pieces of paper and I write scriptures and other reminders like ‘Go to the gym.’

ESSENCE: What’s next for you?
GOODWIN: Being Mary Jane, I really want everybody to see what we’ve done. I’ve never watched a project that I’ve worked and thought, ‘Damn that’s really good. It’s so juicy and it’s hit after hit.’ You know how some stories can get kind of dry or you can take your eyes off of it, but literally if it were a book you’d keep the pages turning, so I’m so excited.

Being Mary Jane premieres tonight at 10:30pm on BET.

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