Joy Bryant is a lady who’s got it all; brains, beauty and a whole lot of game. She went to Yale University, but dropped out to pursue modeling. She broke onto the scene in 2002 as the love interest in Antwone Fisher, was Jessica Alba’s best friend in the dance flick Honey. Now she stars in the remake of About Last Night with Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart and Regina Hall. The original 1986 roles were made famous by Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. She also is one of the lead actors on the popular NBC series “Parenthood”.
About Last Night, in theaters February 14th, is off to a good start. It snatched the No. 2 spot pulling in $27 Million over the weekend. Check out an excerpt from the interview.
On doing sex scenes with super hot Michael Ealy :
“I think it’s pretty obvious when [sex scenes and nudity] are gratuitous,” she explains. “But if it makes sense — people do have sex — I don’t have a problem with that, as long as it’s not gratuitous. If it’s not necessary, then we don’t need to do it. But I have a healthy comfort level in terms of my body in regards to shooting those kinds of scenes. Not that I think I’m all that! [laughs] But I’m cool with it if it serves the purpose of the piece.
“I knew going in there was a lot of sex in the original movie. I already knew that!” she continues. But she says that she and Ealy found a very easy comfort with each other very quickly. “We didn’t know each other very well, but we have mutual friends that we’re both really close to, and we met before — so that kind of made us ‘homies by proxy.’ So that was natural. The chemistry was already there and we came in with trust and feeling comfortable with each other. We didn’t have to act that. It was just there. You want to be comfortable with the person you’re intimate with, right? Well, it’s the same thing on set. It wasn’t a big trip for me. I think it all made sense. All those love scenes! [laughs]”
On the culture shock of moving from South Bronx to attend private school in Connecticut:
“The [worlds] were total opposites of each other,” she recalls. “I went from there and went to Yale [later], but when I went to Yale, it wasn’t as much of a culture shock as it was when I was 13 years old going from 167th and College Avenue up to Shrewsbury, Connecticut.
“And I think that for me, while going from the South Bronx to a predominantly white, rich school and area was a huge trip; but the thing that struck me most was not so much the racial differences — it was the economic differences. It’s a class thing a lot of times. Racism comes into play but when I was there, it was like ‘Oh, I’m that poor?’ ” she says, chuckling. “My 13-year-old roommate had a credit card. I didn’t know adults who had credit cards! Going between the two [environments], you’ve got one foot in one world and one foot in the other. There were times where I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb in both worlds. When you’re in that environment on scholarship and don’t do well, you don’t get asked back. Whereas, someone else coming from means who doesn’t do well can just go to the next best thing. There was a lot of pressure at a young age to not get your a– sent back home.”
On dealing with competition and rejection in Hollywood:
“Getting into Yale, I’m already used to competition. It’s not easy to get into Yale,” Bryant says. “The possibility of rejection or having the odds stacked against you or a lot of people are gunning for your spot — that whole dynamic I understood. Coming into Hollywood, I wasn’t shaken at all. Not that I’m going to be the most successful actress ever, but I’m not scared. I’m not scared of rejection. Modeling prepared me for that. Sometimes the rejection can be so brutal and in your face — you have to get a thick skin. Coming into this business, I wasn’t really tripping on anything. What I view as mine to have, I will have. And I can wait it out.”
On finding herself at 40:
Everything leads you to the next step. I went to this great school that got me into Yale. Instead of Wall Street or wherever I thought I was going to go, I got into modeling. That exposed me to so many places and things and from there, I went into acting. In acting, I’ve done well for myself and I love what I do and I’m looking forward to more of it. But it’s also led me to other things. I produce and I write and I’m able to express myself in a way that gives me happiness. It’s afforded me a great quality of life. … And I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and who knows? Maybe the next step for me is to write the Oscar-winning script! That’s what I’m looking forward to.
I’ve learned a lot about myself, especially in the last few years. ’m more comfortable in my own skin and that’s great. [I feel] like I belong where I am and where I want to be — giving myself that permission. It took a really long time for me to even call myself ‘an actor.’ Acting is a great profession, but I wasn’t sure if I could even call myself that. Knowing more about what I want and don’t want came with maturity and getting older. I’m turning 40 this year and I feel like this is the best time in my life!
Read the full interview on RollingOut.com