Deborah Joy Winans on ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty’ Role: ‘I never thought I could be the sexy girl’

The 'Greenleaf' alum stars in the TVOne flick based on the book by Demetria Lucas

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Plenty of people know Deborah Joy Winans for her role as Charity in OWN’s Greenleaf but the fans of the actress with the soulful voice have never seen her quite like this before. As the lead in TVOne’s latest offering, Don’t Waste Your Pretty, we get to see a much sexier side of the brown-skinned beauty in the flick based on the book by Demetria Lucas. 

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“I loved this because it was such a departure from what people know me. I am always so incredibly grateful for Greenleaf. I love Charity, I loved her arc from beginning to end. I think you met a full woman. You met her when she was young and naive and you left her when she was grown and bold and strong and a fighter and you got all of those facets in between,” she tells theGrio during a recent sit down. 

Deborah Joy Winans thegrio.com
Deborah Joy Winans attends Rolling Stone Live: Atlanta at The Goat Farm on February 02, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“But to be able to step into someone like Jeanne, who is so different emotionally… she comes in with with toxicity and trauma that she’s got to overcome in order to be able to see the love that’s right in front of her. And it was that was really, really, really fun to do. So I loved being able to to just be different and allow people to see me in a different way.” 

Winans revealed that she relished the opportunity to show off a different side of her acting chops and gave the world a love interest who doesn’t fit the usual mold. 

“That’s what we love as actors, to just be able to choose characters that always have something different and to pull from somewhere different and deeper and out go left field, if you will. And and then I got to be the the chocolate—not a sidekick girl that gets the guy.” 

The film that also stars Keri Hilson, Jasmine Burke, and Redaric Williams, follows a group of friends navigating life and love. 

Read More: New trailer drops for ‘Don’t Waste Your Pretty’ starring Keri Hilson

Black Girls Rock 2019 Hosted By Niecy Nash - Red Carpet
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 25: Deborah Joy Winans attends Black Girls Rock 2019 Hosted By Niecy Nash at NJPAC on August 25, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for BET)

In real life, Winans is a happily married woman and says her husband has been nothing but supportive, despite the sizzling scenes she takes on in the film. 

“There’s nothing to hide from him,” she says. “He’s proud of me. Is it going to be his favorite scene of anything that I do? No. But is he like shying away from seeing his wife in a role, doing what I do, well? No.”

The actress admits she’s glad that she got to play a part that’s relatable to real women. 

“I want women to see women that they recognize. I want them to see something real, something honest, and I want them to see themselves,” she says. “I know for me, I never felt like I could be the sexy girl or the girl that gets the guy. You know, I’m a little too thick for that. I’m always going to be the side best friend that makes you laugh and is quirky…It’s kind of like, when do we get to see the woman that we recognize and when does she get to be the one that wins?”

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Don't Waste Your Pretty thegrio.com
(Credit: TVOne)

While Winans calls the role a “departure” from how we’re used to seeing her, it was the only unusual aspect of the project. Production took place in Atlanta during the COVID-19 pandemic and that came with its own set of challenges. 

“We were tested so many times, I thought, Jesus, am I going to have a nose when this is over with? But they created an environment where we went to work and we had the freedom to do the work that we needed to do without wondering, Who is this? Did you get tested? Where you been? We had a bubble,” she says. “They created such a safe space so we were able to do this work and reproduction without a single positive test.”

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Don’t Waste Your Pretty is out now on TVOne. 

Check out the full interview above.

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