Interview with Sheena Lyles, actress of “Daphne Wright” on TV One’s “For My Woman” episode on Monday night.
If you haven’t watched it, you can watch it online here: [http://bit.ly/2oQly3x] - video begins at 15 min mark.
Follow her on comedy skits on Facebook.com/QueenForeverrr
Alex: Congratulations on your role Monday night!
Sheena: Thank you.
Alex: Can you summarize how you got that role?
Sheena: I’m still overwhelmed. I got this opportunity through my friend Aarron Loggins. He is the one who found out about Daphne Wright, he was referred by Siren Media, who had a big need for deaf actresses. They wanted authentic actresses — not a hearing person — they wanted a Deaf person. Aarron thought I was perfect for the role of Daphne — I’m big, I can look tough. I got the email address of Candice Johnson, who worked as casting director for Siren Media. She asked me for a 4-minute audition reel, so I did that. The next day she emailed me back congratulating me on getting the role. I was overjoyed.
Alex: Last Monday’s show was based on a real-life murder. Did you do research — what was the process like for you to “become” the character of Daphne Wright?
Sheena: Basically, I was surprised. I thought I would have to research more, but I was lucky because when I told my mom about the role, she said congratulations and asked me who was the character. I told her it was Daphne Wright. She said, “yes, I know who that is!” She said her friend was an ex-lover of Daphne. She said her eyebrows were always angled, she acted out her tough character traits. I took that in and looked at YouTube to learn more about her — and there was a real-life interrogation tape where she signed — she was not that advanced in signing, but she did sign. I looked at her signing style and internalized that. So that’s how I “became” Daphne Wright.
Alex: You were not the only Deaf actress — there were other Deaf actors on set. What was that experience and also working with the hearing directors and producers?
Sheena: I felt comfortable with the actors — I knew some of them, some of them I didn’t — but we were comfortable with each other, there was a positive vibe, we understood each other. The hearing producers wanted to learn ASL and asked how to sign, “stop.” So we showed that and they used it during filming. It was very positive, smooth, there was no tension. It went very well and it was a very humbling experience. We really enjoyed our time working with hearing directors and producers — they are cool as heck.
Alex: You have a popular Facebook page named “Queen Foreverrr” — what is your brand of humor and what motivated you to start that page?
Sheena: There is no “type” that describes my humor, it’s just comedy skits. My comedy is more relatable— from my experiences and their experiences. Some of them shared ideas with me and I did those by acting. Like — what if that situation happened — how would you handle it? I started making videos four years ago — Facebook was empty and boring — where were the videos — so I started making them for fun. I used a program on Windows to edit it, and people loved it, thought it was so funny. So I kept on doing it and I love making videos.
Alex: Feel free to add any thoughts, comments about #DeafTalent, your experience Monday night, or your Facebook page.
Sheena: There is one more thing I want to add before I leave. I am not Daphne, I am Sheena. The “Daphne character” is now thrown away in the trash, when I finished acting, I immediately threw it away. I felt like I was a violent person, but I’m not — I’m too sweet to kill, okay?
For my role, I learned something about her. Jealously is not worth it. You have to find someone who will love you. It is okay to feel abandoned once. Not twice or three times, but once. Know your mistakes and move on. If you are really mad and want to hurt someone, talk to someone and get it out, okay? Please remember that. Now, follow me on Facebook at Queen Foreverrr (with three r’s). ILY.
Alex: Thank you for your time, Sheena.