EXCLUSIVE | 'The Chi' star Yolonda Ross on the evolution of Jada: 'She's learning herself as a woman'
Ahead of the premiere of Episode 2 of 'The Chi', the 45-year-old spoke to MEA World Wide exclusively where she dived into Season 3, the focus on women characters and the changes fans could expect
Yolonda Ross's evolution and storyline have been the highlights of Season 3 of 'The Chi' so far. In her words, this was the start of her character, Jada's learning herself as a woman. Ahead of the premiere of Episode 2 of 'The Chi', the 45-year-old spoke to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) exclusively where she dived into Season 3, the focus on women characters and the changes the audiences are in for.
The evolution of Jada
"The anticipation has been really high and just knowing what we shot last year for this season, I'm very excited for people to see it," says Ross, sounding just as excited as the audience who have waited eagerly for the third installment. Her character, Jada, has had quite the journey in the past two seasons. Ross has been an integral part of the show since its inception and this time she said it was all about Jada's evolution and it was something the actor was thankful for.
"Each year, you're learning more about the character as they write more for her. It's a great feeling bringing a character to life from the beginning, and grow with them and color them. I'm just really thankful to be into the skin," she opined. "I feel Jada is evolving. She's learning herself as a woman," she added. "She's putting the mother, she's always a mother, but she is putting that part of her on the back burner and putting the woman upfront right now and taking care of the woman. She's evolving. She's learning herself again."
The start of a new journey
Season 3 opened with Nina (Tyla Abercrumbie) and Dre's (Miriam A. Hyman) wedding, which culminated with a dance. While Jada was seen to be reserved and quiet initially, she could be seen trying to groove to the music eventually and for Ross, that's the start of Jada moving ahead in life. "Even just from the way Jada looks in the first episode, I feel she's coming out," Ross explained. "She's glowing. She's open for love in her life and looking for adventure moving forward."
Playing a character for two seasons means having to embrace the character. Transformational acting is something that has been discussed before, with actors highlighting some of the traits they could connect to with the characters they essay. For Ross, it was about Jada being as real as she can get. "She's a very real person that I feel we all know," she remarked. "And that's what I really appreciate because those women are out in the world amongst us all the time, every day. I feel like you don't get the appreciation that they deserve. So I feel like Jada is that." She also added: "We're recognizing those women and applauding them with this character. So that in itself really made me want to play her and bring her to life and show those women off to the world.
A more women-focused season
In our interview with Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine ahead of the season premiere, it was revealed the focus would be on the women characters and Ross too shed light on the thought. "The last two seasons we were dealing with, the guys, the shooting, and that storyline really just focused on them, not on the women," she said. "At this point, I feel the storylines are intertwining more and the women are a big focus on that because the mothers of the children are there. It's just focused more on all of us. I feel not just the women, but all of our characters."
Intertwining storylines and Season 3
"It doesn't feel like it's forced or it doesn't seem like it's a challenge," Ross said matter-of-factly. "There are situations that bring a lot of us together. Like the wedding was one where it made sense for a bunch of us to be in the same place, and the funeral was another. So, those kinds of events happen where you do see more of the people from your neighborhood or from your world. The rest of the season...it's not like we're all in the same scene, but. We intersect more."
"I feel this season of 'The Chi,' people can expect a lot of change that happens in life," Ross said echoing co-star Michael V Epps who felt the same way in an interview with MEAWW earlier. "And also, the character's growth in the storylines, deeper storylines which ultimately is just growth."
'The Chi' airs Sundays 9 pm ET on Showtime.