Interview: Nia Long

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Nitara Carlynn Long was born in Brooklyn on October 30, 1970, but didn’t live there very long. After her parents divorced when she was only two, she moved with her mother to Iowa, and then to South Central Los Angeles where she was raised from the age of seven on.

The 5’2� beauty of Trinidadian extraction first found fame on TV as Claudia (1991) and as Lisa (1994-1995) on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and she would later enjoy recurring roles on both Judging Amy (2001-2002) and Third Watch (2003-2005). On the big screen, her breakout role arrived opposite Larenz Tate in Love Jones. Her film resume’ also includes critically-acclaimed outings in such hits as The Best Man, Boiler Room, Boyz ‘n the Hood, Friday, Soul Food, In Too Deep and the original Big Momma’s House.

Nia’s career probably peaked in 2000, which is when People Magazine named her one of the World’s 50 Most Beautiful People, and when she landed the third spot on Black Men Magazine’s 10 Sexiest Women List. To top it all off, she and her fiancé, Massai Dorsey, also announced that they would be expecting their first child later that same year. Though Massai, Jr. did arrive on November 30th, the couple never married, deciding instead to go their separate ways.

Having to raise the baby alone as a single-mom, Nia, quite understandably, needed to put her skyrocketing career on hold, and so she went on hiatus at the peak of her popularity. Since returning to work, unfortunately, she seems to have taken a step backwards, evidenced by her three box office flops in a row: Alfie, Are We There Yet, and How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass. However, her return to play Sherry in Big Momma’s House 2 now gives the gifted actress an excellent opportunity to remind the world of her considerable talents.

BSN: So, what’s the basic plot of Big Momma’s House 2?
NL: Martin’s now married to Sherry. She’s expecting a baby. He’s being booted off the FBI, so he tries to prove that he’s a much-needed fixture in the Bureau by getting involved in a case that he has no business getting involved in. He presents himself as a nanny, gets the job, and is there to investigate some fraudulent activity where the U.S. defense is concerned.

BSN: Were you nervous about doing the sequel?
NL: I wasn’t really nervous, because I thought the story in this was really good. And it’s been so long since the first one that we’re going to hopefully capture a completely new audience, and then satisfy our existing audience.

BSN: How was it working with Martin Lawrence again?
NL: It was so great. He’s fantastic. He really is. He makes it easy.

BSN: By cracking you up and keeping everybody in stitches?
NL: Not by cracking us up. You know what it is with him? I love how he’ll change the tagline of every scene. Whenever he has a joke, he’ll sort of flip it, switch it. And so you kind of just learn to flow with it.
BSN: Since you’re pregnant, you get to wear your own fat suit in this movie.
NL: I do. I have my little baby connected to my leotard. And I have some extra boobs.

BSN: How uncomfortable was it working with the extra weight?
NL: It was all good. I was having flashbacks from when it really happened.

BSN: But it must have been different, since you weren’t really pregnant.
NL: Absolutely, but after eight hours, it becomes pretty much the same, ‘cause you figure it’s five pounds.

BSN: Thanks, Nia.
NL: You’re welcome.

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