Angela Martin (Yvette Nicole Brown) enters a new phase of her life free of her politician husband’s expectations in the Bounce TV series Act Your Age.
Following her spouse’s death, the character moves in with her bestie Bernadette (Kym Whitley), and another friend Keisha (Tisha Campbell). It is the first time she can prioritize her pleasure after a lifetime of being the “bootleg Michelle Obama.”
Brown has admired her co-stars since childhood, considering it an honor to have gone from guest spots on shows like Entourage and Boston Legal to sharing top billing with the showbiz veterans. “To finally reach a level of my career where I’m able to be in a show with them. I’m like, okay, I might have made it,” she tells ESSENCE.
It’s tough but rewarding for her character Angela to commit to being her own number one. Brown has trouble with it as well. “It’s a lesson that I think I need to learn myself,” says Brown. Like her character, she has frequently been last on her own to-do list.
The mechanics of aging play a huge role in Brown’s personal life, as she takes care of her aging father. “I’m not married. I don’t have kids, but I’m a long-time caregiver and [have been] taking care of my dad [for] 10 years in December,” she continues.
“Whenever I talk about being a caregiver, people always say, well, what’s your self-care journey? And I’m like, what’s self-care? Like, I have no idea,” she reveals. But, she is picking up tips through the role.
“I don’t know how to prioritize myself in that way, and so I kind of am learning through Angela that it’s beautiful and a kind gesture to live your life in service of other people, but at a certain point, you have to find a way to be in service to yourself as well.”
Brown looks forward to following the character’s path to becoming the center of her own life. “I hope that that is the journey she continues to stay on as the show goes on, and I’m learning every day. Like every time she has a revelation. I’m kind of like, wait a minute.”
She sees Act Your Age as Golden Girls 2.0. The comedy touches on social issues that affect everyone, no matter their age.
“I grew up watching The Golden Girls,” she says, revealing that the show spoke to her even as a pre-teen.
“I was not white. I was not in my 60s, I was not a retiree living in Florida, and I still found so much commonality in their stories, so I kind of love the idea that we get to do kind of a hipper, younger, Blacker version of what they did.”
After working her way to the top of the call sheet, her next goal is to produce content capable of “demystifying caregiving.”
Brown donates her time to amplifying Caring Across Generations, “a movement of people who give and receive care working to build care infrastructure.” As part of their creative care council, she helps raise awareness of their mission alongside other artists, including P-Valley star Brandee Evans, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and model Yves Mathieu East.
“One of the main thrusts of the initiative is to try to encourage television and film creators to show more depictions of caregiving because, I think, the more people see it. The less they’ll be afraid to do it,” says Brown. “And the truth of the matter is, the odds are before you leave this earth, you’re going to be a care receiver or a caregiver. That’s just the way it goes.”
Act Your Age is one of the few projects reflecting audiences over fifty, despite the profitable demographic swelling. “I feel, for some reason, youth is valued, right? And I think back to when I was in my 20s. I didn’t know a doggone thing.”
The characters have just as much fun swiping right and chasing their goals as the twenty and thirty-somethings in other series.
“I think it’s important to show people that maybe don’t have it all figured out, but at least have lived long enough to have a bit of wisdom.”
Season one of Act Your Age is now streaming on Bounce TV.