If ever there was a movie you could guarantee would be a hot topic, it’s that of the hot topics queen Wendy Williams. Tomorrow (Jan. 30), her original movie and documentary air on Lifetime, addressing decades of rumors about her career and marriage and piecing together the story of how Williams came to rule the airwaves and dominate television as a talk show host.

It’s not only Williams’ story that’s unique, however. In and of herself, the 5’10” woman with a six-foot personality and unquestionably distinct Jersey accent, couldn’t be played by just anyone on screen. It took a special actress to step into the media personality’s size 11 shoes to portray her and that someone is Ciera Payton.

A daughter of the south, having been born in Mississippi and spent her childhood between New Orleans and Texas, you’d never guess from the movie’s trailer that Payton wasn’t born right in Williams’ hometown of Asbury Park. The accent, the height, the hair — Payton nails it all in her depiction of everyone’s favorite gossip girl. And though this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Payton on-screen– she currently stars in Tyler Perry’s The Oval— it also won’t be the last. That’s why we tried to learn as much about her and landing this part as we could before she takes off after this breakout role. Check out 5 things to know about Ciera Payton below.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. followed by the documentary, Wendy Williams: What a Mess!, at 10 p.m.


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