5 things to know about ‘Power Book 2: Ghost’ star LaToya Tonodeo
The actress is dishing on her exciting breakout role and her experience working with Mary J. Blige, Method Man and more
Power Book 2: Ghost is in full swing at STARZ and one of the spinoff’s most pleasant surprises so far has been the addition of LaToya Tonodeo.
The Los Angeles native, who had recurring roles in shows like The Oath and The Fosters, plays Diana Tejada, the daughter of the newly introduced crime family’s matriarch, Monet (Mary J. Blige). She sat down with theGrio to fill us in on what we can expect this season and revealed how the cast and crew is getting through production amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are 5 things we learned about the rising star:
She’s a major Power fan.
“To join a franchise like this is such a blessing for me. I’ve always been a fan of Power and my family’s favorite show. So now that I’m able to be a part of this next chapter, it’s a huge deal. I’m still very excited and taking it all in every single day,” she says before revealing she’s #TeamTommy.
“I don’t know if it was how conniving he was, but at the same time he’s still very likable. It was weird. He was just down. Like, no matter what, he always had your back. His character is loyal to a fault. Even when he’s getting done wrong, all the things that we saw happen to him over the course of his character’s arc; he still stayed down for the St. Patricks. I thought that was really cool. That’s a loyal, loyal friend. So, of course, I have to go with Tommy.”
She’s connected to her character.
“I really connected with the fact that she’s a very ambitious, intelligent, and even though she’s book smart, she’s also street smart. I feel like Diana is a chameleon. She can navigate through both worlds. She comes from a strong family and she’s strong herself,” she says. “I love that she is seemingly methodical with her choices. And I feel like a lot of those attributes I actually possess myself, so I really love Diana’s character and her arc.”
She really admires the show’s creator, Courtney Kemp.
Courtney is a trailblazer, in my opinion. She is a phenomenal woman. She makes sure that everyone is comfortable and that it’s like a family on set. Not only does she open up the door for so many people of color from all walks of life; but what I love most about Courtney is the fact that she brings in people who aren’t considered popular,” she explains.
“I’m still a newcomer and the fact that she gives so many people the chance to be discovered and showcase their talent is such a blessing. She writes characters with so many layers and so many realistic flaws that I feel like is very tangible for everyone to relate to.”
She’s dealing with the pandemic like a champ.
“We were finishing up episode 8 and I was literally in the chair getting my makeup done when we learned production was shutting down. We were pretty much done with the season with two episodes left and I remember talking to my boyfriend and my parents like ,‘What happens if it doesn’t come out?’ What are the chances that you book such a phenomenal show as your first big, breakout role and then it doesn’t go? I was freaking out, so I prayed and prayed,” she explains.
Now that the show is back in production, the cast gets COVID-19 tests three times a week.
“Now, we’re back and they are on top of it. Courtney does not play and she’s making sure that we are safe… Of course, we might have a little bit of nervousness because it is COVID and it’s a real thing, but everyone has your back because they want to be safe, too, it makes the environment more comfortable.”
She’s still fan-girling over Method Man and Mary J. Blige.
“I had to keep it in because I don’t want to make anybody feel uncomfortable. I didn’t find out who was cast until I showed up to the table read and that’s when I started seeing everyone. I’m highlighting my lines and Courtney taps me on my shoulder and she’s like, ‘Let me introduce you to your mom,’ and I turn around and it’s Mary,” she recalls.
“I don’t know what my face did, but I had to, like, grab it inside. She was so cool. And then Method Man came in with his energy that was just so dope. The fact that they’re legends and icons and, you know, so very, very talented, but still have like this super chill, down to earth, welcoming vibe about them— I love that.”
Catch Tonodeo and the rest of the cast of Power Book 2: Ghost, Sunday nights on STARZ.
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