Ryan Michelle Bathé’s hard work and persistence is paying off. 

Already constantly streaming in our homes with her role as Ari Montgomery on BET+ fave First Wives Club, the Emmy-nominated actress is now coming to our screens as a no-nonsense FBI agent on a whirlwind chase after a world-class thief in NBC’s newest primetime series, The Endgame

The show, which Bathé describes as a “rock-n-rolling good time,” is a heist drama full of twists and turns. Criminal mastermind Elena Federova (Morena Baccarin) squares off against principled FBI agent Val Turner (Bathé) with a healthy heaping of clues and for the viewer to decipher along the way. Premiering just Monday night, the show is already garnering social media buzz and favorable reviews. 

“I think people who like a fast-paced show with a lot of twists, where you’ve got to use your brain, will really enjoy this,” she says of the primetime crime adventure. “The show does a really good job of not being so far ahead that you’re lost, but also not dumbing it down. And it feels a little bit like a rollercoaster in a good way.”

THE ENDGAME — “Pilot” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova, Ryan Michelle Bathe as Val — (Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Though she’s enthralled with her newest on-screen opportunity, Bathé says she initially was hesitant to take a job in New York City. But with the script being a promising pilot compounded with the opportunity to work with Fast and Furious franchise director Justin Lin made this role too good to pass up. 

“I want to dispel the myth that I’m sitting somewhere on a couch, saying ‘let me peruse all of these scripts that have come my way,’” Bathé laughed. “Now, I’m claiming that. I am claiming that that will be the case as I stretch out on my divan.”

While she isn’t quite yet in the position to cherry-pick her roles, Bathé is still appreciative of every opportunity she receives in front of the lens. 

“Listen, are there things that I read that I think, ‘That’s not me, Lord. Lord, let it pass me by?” Yes,” she reveals. “But for the most part, I just look at it as, ‘This script that I’m reading now, that I’m going to audition for, is an offering. A person out there had a dream, and their dream has now come to fruition. And that’s something to celebrate. So let me go in there and do the best that I can with this audition.’” 

The actress is frank about the fact that she is feet to the pavement, auditioning for roles and shooting pilots looking for what may resonate with audiences and land her in a lasting role. Her story is a common one for working actresses in Hollywood. But while searching for her next role, Bathé, who is married to fellow actor Sterling K. Brown and mother to their two sons, Andrew and Amaré, has the added full-time roles of wife and mother to juggle as well.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Ryan Michelle Bathé and Sterling K. Brown attend the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Thankfully, being partnered with someone who shares her profession, Bathé has the support and understanding of a husband who has had the same experiences she has, actively going out and looking for roles that suit them.

“It’s nice to be with someone who does not glorify this industry and understands it, and understands that it’s not glamorous the way people think it is,” she said of Brown. “He’s a wonderful person to spend time with, marriage or no marriage.”

Still, she has had hurdles to jump as an auditioning actress.

“It was really rough when I first had [my son] Andrew because that whole last-minute audition thing was not going to work,” she said. “Sometimes it did, but nine times out of 10, I was like, ‘Who’s going to watch my baby? You going to watch him for me?’” 

Bathé has been able to form lasting connections with actresses in similar situations while juggling personal and professional responsibilities in pursuit of their dream. 

“Actually, one of my dearest friends, Sundra Oakley, the reason why we’re friends is that she was at an audition and had to bring her little boy with her. She had no choice because she didn’t have childcare, and it was one of those last-minute things,” she said. But a decades-long friendship was instantly formed when Oakley turned and asked Bathé to watch her son for a short while as she auditioned. 

“It was just this moment of – it felt like her heart reached out to mine, and mine reached out to her. We talk about black girl magic all the time, but I swear, it was one of those magical moments. I was like, ‘Sister, I got you.’ And she was like, ‘I know you got me.’”

That audition process, which Bathé sometimes jokingly refers to as “the ho stroll” in the sense of how Black actresses, in particular, are dolled up and marched around from studio to studio in hopes of snagging one of a handful of roles, has paid off over the years not only personally, but for scores of Black actresses as times change and more avenues open. 

“We [now] live in a world where there’s Run the World and Harlem,” she observes. “There was a time when – I can remember this very clearly – anytime there was one role, everybody talked about it. And what we didn’t know, was that the women we thought weren’t auditioning, were still auditioning.” 

Coming from a time when pop songstresses and recognizable Black faces in media were sought for everything over actresses by trade, Bathé had to set 

“There were so many of us, but there were so few roles. And my mantra became, ‘There is more than enough for everyone,’” she shared, recalling times when she’d see the pop stars get cast for roles she and her peers auditioned for and get discouraged. “‘There is more than enough for everyone. There is more than enough for everyone.’ I would just repeat that to myself, going to auditions, doing the dishes. Because I didn’t feel it emotionally, but I thought, ‘if I say it enough times, maybe it will become true for me.’”

“And now that it’s here, there is more than enough for everyone. We can all eat. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but…I can feel the force.”

With everything she has in front of her, motherhood, marriage, a successful streaming show, a new potential primetime network hit on her hands while still in diligent pursuit of the next big role, Bathé is focused on finding calm in the chaos and pressing forward toward her goals. 

“I think you just find those moments where there’s a little bit of grace. And you try to hold onto those moments. Because it’s chaotic most of the time,” she revealed. “And I am trying to, in the midst of all of the stuff that’s on my plate, say grace, find grace, give grace.”