Get To Know Tatyana Ali (Again!)
Love That Girl was a risky endeavor for all involved. Not only was the comedy TV One's first scripted series, but it marked Tatyana Ali's triumphant return to television. And since she was producing in addition starring on the series, Tatyana was literally putting all her eggs in one basket during the show's test run of four episodes back in January.
But, like they say, with great risk comes great reward -- and even greater ratings. Love That Girl was a hit from the jump leading TV One to order 26 additional episodes of the series, the second serving of which starts airing tonight! To mark the occasion, I caught up with Tatyana to talk about the pride she feels for the show, where it goes in season two and what it was like working with Jaleel White -- a.k.a Steve Urkel -- again!
Insider.com: Congrats on the show's ratings success, I would have to imagine that makes all its success doubly exciting.
Tatyana Ali: Yea, it does. What's been awesome is that I've gotten to see the show grow. The new order meant that we have more time to explore the characters, more time to get the writing and production better – more time to perfect what we've been doing. It meant a lot to me.
Insider: What are you excited about this year?
Tatyana: The Jones family goes through a lot of dramatic things this season that people will be able to relate to. I certainly did. There's more drama. Tyana’s infamous ex-husband rears his infamous head over two episodes and those scenes with her family and her ex-husband felt so real.
Insider: You've also got Jaleel White coming on this season. You two were very much a part of my childhood, so seeing you together brings up so many memories. Have you known one another since the Fresh Prince/Family Matters days?
Tatyana: We've known each other for a long time. Jaleel actually did an episode of Fresh Prince, his character was trying to pressure Ashley into losing her virginity. And she turned him down. They were parked somewhere with a view [laughs]. Classic. I've known him for a long time, but we haven't worked together since then so it was great getting back together.
Insider: Who does he play here?
Tatyana: Funnily enough, he plays a similar kind of dude – he offers Tyana a real estate deal in exchange for a date. She realizes that she has to decide whether her integrity is more important that money. He's playing like the older version of that Fresh Prince guy, which I'm just realizing now [laughs].
Insider: The Fresh Prince legacy will never die, but have you seen Love That Girl permeate your fanbase at all?
Tatyana: I have and that's been really fun to see. Not only people who grew up during Fresh Prince, but what's been really exciting is having younger kids recognize me as Tyana. It took me back at first, but that's been really fun.
Insider: What should fans of the show look forward to?
Tatyana: The characters have to make some really tough choices this year and I hope that people find commonalty in the hard decisions that have to be made in life. One of the things I love about this season is that Tyana starts seeing a therapist, which is not necessarily something the black community talks about. So that was a really important episode for me – seeing this woman find her voice and find to her strength. I hope everyone, but women in particular who are watching, can take a little strength from that.
Love That Girl premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on TV One.