The audition for Hattie in ‘Twenties’ was Jonica T. Gibbs’ first audition — ever. HL spoke with Jonica about turning into Hattie, what she’d wish to see in season 2, and extra.

The critically-acclaimed BET collection Twenties burst onto the scene in 2019 and have become an prompt hit. Lena Waithe created and wrote the collection that follows Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs), a queer Black lady who’s chasing her desires of being a screenwriter in Los Angeles alongside her two greatest pals, Marie and Nia, performed by Christina Elmore and Gabrielle Graham. As they navigate their twenties, the women lean on one another by way of good instances and unhealthy.

Jonica’s terrific efficiency all through the primary season proved why she’s among the finest new actresses on tv. She talked with MeSlop EXCLUSIVELY as a part of our Emmy Contenders collection concerning the “distinctive” audition course of, which was her first-ever audition. She additionally opened up about her season 2 hopes and her response to what occurs to Hattie within the finale.

Jonica T. Gibbs stars as Hattie in ‘Twenties.’ (BET)

What was the audition course of like for Hattie? 
Jonica T. Gibbs: The audition course of for me was very distinctive. I used to be doing arise comedy, and I wasn’t signed with anybody. I didn’t have a supervisor or an agent or something like that. Principally, with my greatest pal we co-wrote scripts to do an internet collection referred to as No Extra Comics In LA. We began capturing it with a couple of of our pals. At the moment, I used to be substitute instructing long-term after which I took a job serving tables at The Cheesecake Manufacturing facility. We have been capturing on the identical time, and I simply turned fairly exhausted. We employed an organization to assist crowdfund and we raised cash. We reached out to some individuals, and Lena was one of many those that we reached out to. She gave me a chance to audition, and the remainder is historical past. I learn the script and fell in love with the character.  I simply form of got here up with my very own curated outfit to put on to the audition that I felt match Hattie’s character. I used to be fairly chill about it, apparently. Truthfully, since then, I’ve by no means had an audition like that ever. As a result of the vitality of the ladies that have been auditioning with me and towards me was so unimaginable. It was my first audition ever. I didn’t know any completely different, however they have been saying like, wow, we’ve by no means completed an audition the place everyone’s sitting outdoors serving to one another run strains or simply having such superb chemistry and dialog. We even took a gaggle picture. They have been proper. Since then, you don’t go into audition rooms and chat. It was undoubtedly a novel expertise for me.

The position of Hattie is impressed by Lena. While you talked concerning the character, did you add your individual nuances? How did that collaboration work?
Jonica T. Gibbs: Lena was very dope about giving me the autonomy to form of convey my very own perspective to the character. I actually appreciated that as a result of I hit her up and was like, “Hey, do you need to hang around so I can decide up your mannerisms?” I used to be able to go and imitate her. She informed me that the character was loosely based mostly on her and for me to do my factor. I like that as a result of it felt very collaborative in that regard, however I undoubtedly needed to get my phrases proper. If I wanted course, the administrators or Lena even would give me course. There have been undoubtedly scenes the place Lena was like, “No, do it over as a result of I need you to do it this fashion.” For essentially the most half, she let me go. However there have been moments just like the scene between Hattie and her mother once they had an argument within the workplace, Lena undoubtedly wished that scene to really feel precisely how she felt it when she learn it.

The present ended on fairly the word with Hattie and Ida’s kiss. Have been you stunned by that ending?
Jonica T. Gibbs: I used to be stunned by the ending. I feel that it’s an amazing setup for subsequent season. It was an amazing cliffhanger. Lots of people have hit me up about it saying, “I knew it!”

Is there something you undoubtedly need to discover with Hattie in season 2? 
Jonica T. Gibbs: It will be dope to get extra episodes, so we will have extra time. It’s a 30-minute present, so it goes fairly quick. The greatest response I’ve gotten from individuals is that they need it was longer. It’s not essentially a real 30 due to the commercials. I feel that Twenties did an amazing job within the first season of giving views round every character so that individuals can construct relationships with every character. It will be good to see issues simply be extra in-depth and go deeper. There can be extra conversations round simply the normalization of being Black and being queer and being in sure areas interval. I feel it might be nice to see how we now have to maneuver by way of completely different areas. I feel that may be attention-grabbing to contemplate, particularly with a few of the issues which are happening on this planet.

‘Twenties’ premiered in 2019. (BET)

One factor that actually stood out to me about Hattie was her confidence. She is simply unapologetically assured in herself. In a whole lot of exhibits, her sexuality would have been the first focus of her character, but it surely’s form of the very last thing you concentrate on along with her. She’s simply dwelling her life, and she or he simply occurs to be queer. Was that refreshing for you?
Jonica T. Gibbs: It’s very, very refreshing. That’s truly the very first thing I fell in love with as a result of most queer individuals most likely have gone by way of modifications of their life. Even in case you went by way of it as a baby, your mother and father most likely put you in a selected sort of clothes initially based mostly off of your gender and in no matter means they felt was greatest. So each queer individual has most likely gone by way of some sort of transition and stuff like that. I discovered consolation in her confidence as a result of she lived in a world the place no one questioned her. No one noticed her as completely different, and that’s actually what my life is now. The factor is, once I acquired the audition for Twenties I used to be just about in that house as a result of I, at that time, had come out to my household and I used to be relationship. I used to be out, it was identified, and I might truly speak about it at a comedy present after which submit it and never really feel like, “Oh my God, my household may see it.” Being Hattie is nice for audiences to see somebody not simply as queer, however similar to you mentioned, uniquely and confidently themselves and maneuvering by way of areas which are regular, and she or he doesn’t care. No one’s contemplating one another’s sexuality. It’s not all about sexuality. We’re such a multi-layered and multi-faceted human beings. It’s simply dope to see a personality use that house to be human.

How does Hattie’s expertise mirror your individual?
Jonica T. Gibbs: I additionally stayed on my pal’s sofa once I first moved to LA. Not as a result of I used to be been evicted, however I used to be contemporary to LA, and she or he lived along with her boyfriend. The factor is, I didn’t get comfy like Hattie. Hattie actually melted into it. I used to be like, I can be right here for a month. They didn’t give me a timeframe. I simply was like… Y’all stay collectively. It is a private factor. I’m not making an attempt to get comfy in any respect. I wasn’t like Hattie. I did go three months with out paying my lease, however my landlord didn’t kick me out. He was an angel despatched from up above as a result of he allowed me to create like a cost plan to pay him again. Who allows you to get behind three months’ lease and doesn’t stress you out? He was so calm about it. He knew I had simply run into some onerous instances. Fortunately, you run throughout people who find themselves empathetic. Aside from that, I’ve dated a straight girl, and that’s a large number. I’m glad to have these instances behind me.