Meet the Browns star Terri J. Vaughn is set to star as Kai in the UP Original Movie Where’s the Love? In the movie, which airs Sunday, May 18th at 9 p.m. EST on UP, Terri plays the sister and attorney to a married celebrity therapist whose marriage is crumbing.
Terri chats with Celebrity Baby Scoop about why producing the movie was a “no brainer” and how she and her former Meet the Browns co-stars are “friends” who “stay in touch all of the time.” She goes on discuss her two sons, Daylen, almost 13, and Kai’El, 6, her Mother’s Day plans, and the inspiration behind her Take Wings Foundation.
CBS: You play Kai in the upcoming original movie Where’s the Love? on UP. Can you tell us about your character and the movie?
TJV: “Where’s the Love? is a movie that my producing partner, Cas Sigers, and I came up with a couple of years ago. UP TV bought it from us about a year and a half ago, so it’s finally made. It’s about two famous married celebrity therapists who give advice on their television series. They are like America’s sweetheart couple, but their marriage is crumbling and nobody knows it. We find this couple choosing to either end their marriage or try to fix it while still maintaining the façade that everything is ok. I play Kai, who is the lead character’s Lamman Rucker’s sister and his attorney. I am trying desperately to hold his career together and keep it all intact while also helping him save his marriage.”
CBS: What was it like to be reunited with many of the cast members from Meet the Browns?
TJV: “Fun. We are friends and stay in touch all the time, especially me and Denise Boutte. So, for us, it was a no brainer. When we first wrote the film, we wrote it for a real life Hollywood couple – Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe. When it came time to make the movie, they weren’t available anymore so we started to think of other celebrity couples that were real life couples but we couldn’t find one. So, then we went to TV couples that people would know and be familiar with and for me it was a no brainer to go to Lamman and Denise from their relationship on Meet the Browns. Everyone loves them as a married couple.”
CBS: What was your favorite part about filming the movie?
TJV: “My favorite part was being the producer behind the camera and hiring people I like. I love being able to hire friends and familiar faces I love, as well as new faces and even students of mine that I teach at acting school here in Atlanta. Being able to provide work for people was my favorite part of making this movie.”
CBS: How are your sons, Kai’El and Daylen, doing? What are they up to these days?
TJV: “They are wonderful, so sweet of you to ask. Daylen is about to turn thirteen years old. He is turning into one of the teenagers and starting to care about what he wears all of the time. He also stays in his room for a long time talking on the phone. He’s great. Kai’El is a ball of energy who makes us laugh. He is super smart and passing everything in kindergarten.”
CBS: Are they looking forward to their summer break?
TJV: “Yes they are. Daylen spends his summer in California, so he is looking forward to that. We have a new baby on the way so everybody is excited and my house is bubbling.”
CBS; What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing as a family?
TJV: “Tonight is movie night. We are all going to a theater where you can watch the movie while dining. We are all big movie buffs. Spiderman comes out tonight, so that’s what we’ll be seeing.”
CBS: Raising two boys can be a handful. Do you take time for yourself as well?
TJV: “Absolutely. I wouldn’t’ be able to do it if I didn’t’ take time for myself. There’s no way you can be a really great mom and enjoy those moments if you don’t take time for yourself. It makes you appreciate the moments. So, I definitely do that…without a doubt. I have an amazingly supportive husband who encourages me to do that and he does the same. You have to.”
CBS: Blending families can be tough, especially when ex-spouses live out of state. What advice can you give to families to help ease the process?
TJV: “Communication between the two parents. It can be difficult, but it’s important to make decisions based on the child, not how you feel about a situation or how you feel about the other parent. If you focus your conversations on what is best for the child then things will be much easier.”
CBS: Living in a house of men, how do you like to celebrate Mother’s Day?
TJV: “Definitely with the kids. I split my day. I like to have my selfish moments to pamper myself, then I like to top it off with being with the kids and going out to dinner or something to remind myself that I am a mother, I’m a great mother at that.”
CBS: What do they do to pamper you on your special day?
TJV: “They will take me to dinner and I’m sure the kids will make me all kinds of cards, which I love. That’s enough for me.”
CBS: Tell us about your “Take Wings Foundation.”
TJV: “My Take Wings Foundation is a mentoring program for young girls ages 13-18 who are growing up in public housing and in the foster care system in the San Francisco Bay area, because that is where I’m from. I was born and raised in the city of San Francisco. I actually grew up in a little pocket of San Francisco called Hunter’s Point, which still is a drug-infested community. There was a lot of drug and gang violence when I was a teenager growing up. I lost a lot of friends to drug and gang violence in my teens. Once I went away to college, I knew I wanted to do something for girls that were growing up in that kind of environment. The decisions and choices that come our way in that time can alter our life’s journey. I’ve seen people make the wrong decisions and I’ve seen people make the right decisions. So, I wanted to be an inspiration and help girls make the right decision and let them know it really doesn’t matter where you come from. I’m glad I grew up in the situation I did because it made me the woman that I am. It doesn’t have to hinder you from being successful in any way. You can still have an amazing life, it just comes down to the choices you make.”
CBS: How many women have you been able to help through the foundation?
TJV: “I’ve had it for about sixteen years. We work with about 200 girls a year and we have different programs throughout the year. We have four workshops throughout the year, we have an overnight retreat, we host a holiday dinner, and we do community service with the girls. It’s been amazing and it is very fulfilling.”
CBS: Do you have any new projects you’d like to share with us?
TJV: “Through my company, Nina Holiday Entertainment, we have a television series that we just sold on the Bounce TV network. It stars Charlie Ralph, Valerie Pettiford, Jo Marie Payton, and Ann Marie Johnson. We’re excited about that. At the end of this month, we’re also headed to Trinidad to shoot another film about four friends who take a wild trip to celebrate their 40th birthday and it goes crazy.”View Slideshow »»