Essence Atkins
OWN

Essence Atkins is back to heat up your small screen on OWN’s Ambitions and we caught up with the actress to find out what she thinks about her complicated character, Amara Hughes.

Atkins has been gracing TV screens since she was 14 years old so it’s only natural that many of us feel like we’ve seen her grow up in front of our eyes. We’ve seen her portray tons of characters like the funny older sister on Smart Guy or the pretty girl with jokes on Half and Half or the leading lady on Marlon but we have NEVER seen her play anyone like Amara Hughes.

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The U.S. attorney with a handsome husband seems to have it all together but she’s grappling with some pretty serious issues including infidelity in her marriage.

“She’s so far away from what people are usually used to associating me with as an actress which is these sort of well put together, very pristine and proper women. Amara is someone who is an overcomer and an overachiever and an over-thinker,” says Atkins. “I definitely think the draw is playing someone who is not perfect, who is very flawed, and who hasn’t read a lot of self-help books.”

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She also opened up about how hard it can be to tackle all of the love scenes the show requires while being single in real life. “The challenge is being on set, hot and tangled up with somebody all day and come home and be by yourself,” she says. “I’ve had some moments os tear-shed being away from home…It kind of magnifies your loneliness so that’s been a challenge.”

On Ambitions, Essence Atkins plays the cheating spouse who is hell-bent on getting her marriage back on track. At times, it seems like an impossible hope for a husband to recover from his wife’s betrayal but the actress believes it’s possible for a couple to get through an affair.

“I know that a marriage can recover from infidelity. I don’t think it’s necessarily the end all, be all. I think that people who really love each other and are committed to forgiving each other and are committed to the time that it’s gonna take to rebuild the trust and the respect and make the other person,whoever has been cheated on feel safe again, I think that if all of those elements are in place then it absolutely can be rebuilt but it’s not easy and I commend anyone who does.”

Check out the full interview above.

During the midseason finale of Ambitions, Senior Lancaster (Tony Vaughn) was murdered outside of his restaurant by a mysterious killer. In the series’ return, Rondell (Brely Evans) and Evan (Brian White) team up to demand justice for the murder of their father, however, a new threat emerges to keep both off the case. Stephanie (Robin Givens) has a checkmate moment when Amara (Essence Atkins) discovers her in Titus’s (Kendrick Cross) hotel room. This fuels Amara’s desires to take down the unstoppable Stephanie once and for all. Bella (Erica Page) faces every mother’s nightmare.

Ambitions returns to OWN tonight at 10/9c.