TV vet Trichina Arnold has been on the small screen since she was eight, but her latest role in Happliy Divorced is the most challenging.
“Happily Divorced” is filmed in front of a live studio audience and follows Los Angeles florist Fran (Drescher) whose 18-year marriage ends suddenly when her husband (Higgins) announces he’s gay. And if that weren’t enough, he can’t afford to move out. They figured out how to be “Happily Divorced,” but her being single and his being gay, while living under one roof, is a whole other story. The series also features Fran’s best friend Judi played by Tichina Arnold, an award-winning actress who is best known for her roles on “Martin” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” Tichina talks about what it’s like as a show biz vet.
BY CYNTHIA HORNER
HHW: What did you do to prepare for this series?
TICHINA: I didn’t have to do a whole lot. With all of my years of being in the industry, you meet a lot of different types of people and my character is a real person. She really is Fran’s best friend and her name really is Judi. They grew up together in Queens and Judi is a Jewish girl with fiery red hair. I guess Fran and Peter decided to turn the role into a Black role, and obviously I benefited from it. It’s a true saying when they talk about “six degrees of separation.” Fran and I really are from Queens and we went to Campbell Junior High, although not at the same time.
I like the title, “Happily Divorced.” I don’t think people should feel ashamed about being divorced.
No, not at all, and the fact that they put the word “happily” before divorced… divorce can really be an experience, and I know that first-hand. But it’s amazing to see how Fran and Peter co-exist. They are writing partners, producing partners, etc., not as a couple, but friends. Any time you can be divorced and still be friends is a blessing in itself.
You are a divorced mom. How do you balance your responsibilities?
God is good. I have a lot of help; it wouldn’t be possible for me to do this by myself. I have a great mother. She thinks my daughter Alijah belongs to her! It’s hilarious.
How have you been able to sustain over the years? Is it still difficult for women of color to get work?
Those people are not lying; it’s very hard for an African-American female to get work, but especially good work. I have been in the business since I was eight and having been in the industry since I was a child, I have no fear of any kind, but I allow God to guide me with my career and to always have me make the right choices. Being in this industry is something that I respect and love. But there have been plenty of times when I have not had work and have been looking for work. You have to keep moving, keep your head up and don’t take no for an answer. But everything comes full circle. You’re not always going to work, so I tell young people you better love this business because when it doesn’t love you, what are you going to do? I have been blessed to be involved with three iconic shows and that doesn’t always happen in an actor’s lifetime, so I have definitely been blessed in that regard. I hold my career in high speech.
Are you involved in any other ventures besides acting at this time?
I am coming out with an album later on this year. Finally. And I perform around Los Angeles. Follow me on Twitter!
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