Felisha Terrell, known for her striking portrayals on prime-time sitcom, Days Of Our Lives, HBO series Entourage, N.C.I.S. New Orleans, Rosewood, Lucifer, Supernatural, Survivors Remorse, and Shooter, brought a whole new meaning to the Meg Thee Stallion phrase "Hot Girl Summer" by securing the bag in effective terms.
The beautiful actress is unleashing the enigmatic vixen much like Alexis Colby [80's interpretation of Dynasty] in newest television drama AMBITIONS, produced for OWN Network by Will Packer Media in association with Lionsgate and its producer-distributor Debmar-Mercury.
She’s played a wide range of characters, but this time, she enacts Marilyn Barnes, a jet-setter with major coins whose also capricious sorority sister to Stephanie Lancaster played by (Robin Givens) and Amara Hughes played by (Essence Atkins).
Felisha scored a recurring role in the adaption of British series UTOPIA opposite to that eighties flame, John Cusack, written and executive produced by Gillian Flynn. In this drama, Felisha plays Hailey Alvez, a highflyer investigative journalist channeling the “no holds bar” spirits of Oprah Winfrey and Katie Courick.
“My characters on both shows are very fun and different,” says Felisha. "Marilyn Barnes on Ambitions is… I think you shouldn’t sleep on her. When people say, ‘Don’t take my kindness for weakness,’ I think Marilyn Barnes would say, "Because it’s the sharpest tool in my arsenal.” I think she comes across as poise, regal and very together, but don’t get it twisted. If you cross her, she will come back swinging. I’ll leave that there and let you fill in the gap. She’s a fun character to play because you definitely don’t expect [wrath] to come from her,” she finishes.
“Switching gears to UTOPIA—the show is amazing," explains Felisha. "Gillian Flynn,[is] just a prolific writer, who wrote, “Gone Girl, and Sharp Objects, among many other things. She’s ridiculously talented and the cast is amazing.
‘It’s [UTOPIA] basically about a group of young adults who through social media, an online chat-site, they basically befriend each other through their love of this cult-classic, graphic novel [online book club]. They basically have some conspiracy theories. They find out that their theories are coming true in the world. While they are on this quest for them to get their hands on the installment of the next, graphic novel, some very bad people are chasing them from government agents to other shady types.”
Felisha graduated with honors from the University of Iowa in Journalism. She also worked for a fortune 500 Healthcare company. Felisha was dissatisfied and maybe a little bored with that conduit. “I think we don’t know what we want to do when we’re young but if you look back, there’s some underlying clues. I, for sure, always wanted to be an entertainer,” Felisha says. “I loved bringing joy even if it was to my parents or my grandparents faces by making up dances or being silly or strutting myself on the imaginary catwalk in my living room. Those things were always there, but growing up in the Midwest, my family instilled a staunch work ethic within me. You go to school, you go to college, you get a good job, and that’s what I did. I definitely had always been ambitious, even though I’m on a show called AMBITIOUS,” she chuckled. “I’ve really been motivated and inspired to be the best at whatever I do.”
Felisha tried pharmaceuticals for about three years, and that wasn’t the career move either. Gag! Therefore, she packed up her little blue car and moved to Arizona, and while there, she auditioned for the Phoenix Sun Dance team. “One of the judges(was there) from the Ford Modeling Agency in Arizona—I made the team and got back into modeling that year, which in turn, helped me get my agent in LA, and who I’m still with (the agent). That crazy story is how it all worked out. I just had this feeling—I remember talking to my mom about it at length. Moms worry, and that’s one of our jobs (worrying). Now, with being a mom myself, I understand where she was coming from. She wanted me to save money for a year and wait to make a plan. I said, ‘Mom, if I don’t go now, I will never go.’ I think that’s the voice you must listen to, that gut voice, that faith that enters and the gut voice that says go or whatever. What’s the worst that can happen? If I don’t go, I’ll never know at all. I’d blame myself. If I fall flat on my face, at least I tried.”
Felisha aimed high with that intuitive thought and hit the stars. Talk about taking the risk.
The actress said that she works with many writers, casting directors and producers because there is a huge market [now] for streaming platforms. “I think it really comes down to honing your craft,” she says. “Anybody that’s passionate about their craft, you must stay on top of it. As for me, I’ve always been in class. There are times where I’m not physically in class twice a week, because I’m either working or I have responsibilities as a mom, but I have an acting coach that I work with. It doesn’t matter what time zone I’m in or the time zone he’s in, we will get on FaceTime and work through projects, because I need that constant feedback and constructive criticism. Lebron James and Michael Jordan had coaches their whole lives. Just because they are amazing, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be better, and that’s how I approach it,” Felisha talks about the reason she’s scored top roles in the most popular shows airing on television.
Aside from her works as an actor, Felishia balances time between family and business ventures. Although she admits that her #HotGirl summer might’ve been a little frosty. “We didn’t get to do any traveling this summer. We had plans to go to Greece, which would’ve definitely been a hot girl summer, but my husband and I are business owners. We recently launched LaFayette Rosé, which is a wine company. Entrepreneur life is wonderful but it’s a lot of work, so we’ve been just pounding the pavement and trying to get our Rosé in as many markets as possible. That’s what we’ve been doing. It might not sound exciting, but in the end, it’s amazing. Right now, we feel like we could definitely use a little break and we might try to escape Summer during Labor Day weekend and I might get my hot girl summer photos, at least,” she giggled.
“Am I still having fun with this?” That’s a question Felisha asks herself when she’s going through setbacks as an actress. It’s clear to see from her latest projects that the answer is a resounding yes.
“At the end of the day, I feel so blessed that I’m even able to pursue what I love, because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity in life. They’re punching a [time] clock and I don’t take it lightly that I get to do that [act].”
Felisha embraces the journey—she’s still passionate and grateful for the lessons as well as the many heaves that landed her where she is today.
“First of all, find a great teacher,” Felisha encourages new actors diving into the film industry. “It might not be on your first try. Ask around and find a good workshop. The best thing you can do to support yourself is do the hard work now. Find the class that really challenges you to dig into the subtext to flush out your characters back-story and history, and really do all the work. The reason we love Denzel, Meryl Streep, and Sidney Poitier—I can keep naming all these phenomenal actors. We can look at them and say that they have it, but the it [factor] that they have is that work that they do. They’re so good that it’s seamless. We don’t see their work, but they go so deep that there’s this layer of every character they have, that makes it intoxicating when we watch them."
In closing, Felisha reminds all actors to do the work now so it will serve them later. “We live in a world where everything is instant gratification, and we want things now. That’s great, but doing the work is important. They [veteran actors] are that good for a reason, and I would impose upon anyone to do the work now because it’s going to serve you for the rest of your life. It will be a career and not just a job."
Follow the actress for theatrical cuts here at @Felisha_Terrell Instagram/Twitter