'American Housewife' actor Carly Hughes on playing an LGBTQ+ woman of color and the feedback she gets from fans
"I think if you are not trying to play it up and you're being a person, then you're being honest and truthful," she shared in an exclusive with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW)
Carly Hughes has eight Broadway shows under her belt and has starred as Georgia Brown in 'Cabin in the Sky' and as Velma Kelly in Broadway in 'Chicago.'
Although best known for her Broadway work in 'The Book of Mormon', 'Ghost', 'Ragtime', 'Putnam County Spelling Bee' and 'The Grinch', she is now making waves in the hit ABC family comedy 'American Housewife' as Angela.
Speaking to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Hughes shared about how she landed the series regular role while she was acting on Broadway's 'Cabin In The Sky', her experience playing a woman of color and an LGBTQ+ character on screen and the feedback she has received from fans.
Coming from Broadway, Hughes didn't think she would land a part on a TV show let alone a major hit. She shared about how she auditioned for the role while still performing in Broadway.
"I closed out my run as a leading player in 'Pippin' and took over as Velma Kelly in 'Chicago' on Broadway. And then I left that and did 'Cabin in the Sky', which was a revival of an older musical and the opening night of 'Cabin in the Sky', it was 'pilot season'. We opened February and were auditioning left and right."
"I had an audition and I was like, 'man, I don't feel like going, I'm so tired because we've opening night'. So we rehearsed 12 to 6 and my audition was at 6:30 so I got on the A train, I ran over to ABC, I did my audition, and I was like, 'great'."
"And they were like, 'do you want to try it again?' And I was like, 'oh no, I can't, I have to go cause my half-hour ends in 10 minutes'. And I ran back to the theater and forgot about it," she said.
"And then a couple of days later into that week, they were like 'you're penned for this TV show — we'll find out in two days.' And then I found out, I tested, they flew me out to test out here. And then we waited another week, week and a half, and then found out I booked it," Hughes continued.
Playing a woman of color and part of the LGBTQ+ community holds a responsibility to remain as respectful and sensitive as possible when it comes to portraying the character.
"It's interesting because it's a tricky thing these days. You know what I mean? You have to be extra sensitive to everyone's opinions and feelings and approach it the right way. And I just have constantly been aware and tried to."
She continued, "I'm not Carly playing Angela as the lesbian. I'm just playing a human being is what I always say, a human being who happens to be a lesbian, who happens to be a black girl and Connecticut, who happens to be a divorcee with two kids."
"I think if you are not trying to play it up and you're being a person, then you're being honest and truthful," Hughes added.
She also talked about how she went about playing the role and how fans received her portrayal. "The feedback has been lovely. I've gone to events for LGBTQ and everything where they've been like, 'it's so nice to see you and see us represented onscreen'."
"And some of them don't know that I'm not a lesbian, and some of them do, most of them do, I think, and there, and it's not an issue. They're just like 'thank you for representing us', which makes me go, 'okay, I'm doing it correctly.' I don't want to mock anyone. I wouldn't want to mock anyone."
"Straight, gay or otherwise. I just want to try to be as honest as I can. And so to hear that from them makes me go, 'okay, okay, I'm doing it. I'm doing a good job.'" Hughes added.
'American Housewife' returns after its season break on January 17, 2020, on ABC