Essence Atkins recent role on OWN’s Ambitions has proved that she’s not one to be placed in a box. Although fondly known for her funnier roles in comedies including Marlon, Half & Half and Smart Guy, Atkins latest role on Ambitions shows her in a different light.
Chatting to BET about her character Amara Hughes – a federal prosecutor who returns to Atlanta with her husband, Titus, to work on her marriage – Atkins suggests that many people have become accustomed to seeing her portraying a good girl.
“There’s been this kind of through-line about the kinds of characters that have found me, and they've been people that were admirable, upstanding characters -- and they might have been a little selfish or had their moments of idiosyncratic things, but overall, they were what we would consider upstanding young women,” she told BET.
And while Amara is similar in some ways to these characters, beneath the surface is someone who is facing major turmoil in her personal life.
During a sit-down interview with SC, Atkins spoke about always trying to stretch herself as an artist. “It makes me a better creator,” she said, which caught her attention.
I love playing Amara, she told SC. She has a lot of things to admire about her as well as a lot of things that can be a cautionary tale.
“I thought that there was a brokenness in her that I understood, and a complexity that I also understood. A lot of the characters that I’ve played in the past have been very well adjusted. And though Amara is successful, there’s a lot of broken bits to her,” Atkins concludes.