Having already made waves on BET’s currently #1 ranked new scripted series “The Oval” with dual roles, breakout star Melissa L. Williams, who has quickly become Tyler Perry’s new muse, is now set to lead Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless,” as the title character Ruth Truesdale on BET’s new streaming platform, BET Plus, out now.
“The Oval,” tells the story of a family placed in the White House by people of power while also highlighting the personal side and everyday lives of the staff who run the inner workings of the nation’s most iconic residence. On the new hit series, Melissa portrays twin sisters ‘Denise’ and ‘Ruth,’ polar opposite roles, both with their own agenda.
Perry’s spin-off series “Ruthless” follows Ruth Truesdale as she’s forced to play nice with a scandalous religious cult of powerful sex-crazed fanatics in the hopes of freeing herself and her daughter. Williams stars opposite Stephanie Charles (“The Paynes”), Anthony Bless (“Tyler Perry’s Sistas”) and Bobbi Baker James (“House of Payne”).
Melissa actually grew up in Oklahoma City as the oldest of six and utilized her family holiday gatherings to put together and star in her own talent shows. A natural performer from an early age, she set out to do as much local theater as she could find in Oklahoma City, eventually heading to Clark University in Atlanta for college to study theater. Williams joined the CAU Players, the University’s drama club, which puts on various productions yearly ranging from classical works, musical works, children’s productions, and one-act play festivals. Melissa starred as Carmen in F.A.M.E. during her time in the CAU Players. Even after finishing her degree, she went to get additional technical training so that he could produce projects herself and applied it to several music videos she produced when she moved to LA.
FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Melissa to discuss all of her current projects and here’s what went down:
How were you actually ‘discovered’?
I started my professional career like many actors going to countless auditions. I built a great rapport with some wonderful casting directors and they would constantly call me in. From there, I booked a few network roles and my career took off.
What do you like most about acting?
I like that I get to study and become so many different characters for a living, it’s fun! I like finding the truth and finding the similarities between myself and the character.
Can you tell us about your role in Ruthless?
I play Ruth Truesdale, who is on a search for redemption. Ruth is striving to become her “best self” but sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.
What sort of person is going to love this character?
That’s the thing about complex characters, they pique everyone’s interest whether it’s the negative or positive traits. Everyone is still intrigued.
Photo credit to Tommy Flanagan
How is this character like you? Different?
Ruth is like me because she is extremely passionate about what she believes in. We are different for obvious reasons.
What’s the biggest challenge to taking on this role?
The biggest challenge was figuring out how to stay interesting and express my emotions while wearing the same wonderful purple cloak for 24 episodes.
Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?
Elizabeth Moss. Actually. she played a similar character in The Handmaid’s Tale.
Besides yourself, which actor in this show is going to blow people away?
I feel like every single actor came to play; I’m going to leave it up to the viewers to decide!
If you could play any other character in this show, who would it be?
No one. I believe what’s for you is for you.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
The most memorable experience in my career was being able to introduce my father to Tyler Perry at his Gospel Brunch and him telling my father “I’m really proud of her.”
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Tyler Perry, his work ethic is unmatched.
How active are you on social media?
I’m very active! I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter every now and then. I just got a TikTok, too.
With the current COVID-19 situation, we heard that you have been helping people in need and your fans. How did this come about?
If this were to happen to me last year, I would not have been able to financially make ends meet. I felt compelled after someone showed me a random act of generosity. I went on my IG live and told the first ten people to DM their Cash App and I sent them money. Altogether, I sent over $1500 that day and the recipients were so excited that they even sent me pictures with their groceries!
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
My future plans are to produce and star in my own projects. Release my new music and continue to inspire others with my platform.