Kelly Rowland and Marsai Martin Trade Advice on Being Young, Gifted, and Black

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17:  Actors Marsai Martin and Kelly Rowland on the red carpet at the

Image Source: Getty / Rich Polk

Marsai Martin and Kelly Rowland could also be separated in age by over twenty years, however the gifted stars have lots in frequent — together with their new Paramount+ film “Fantasy Football.” The trade friends fashioned a friendship years in the past and reunited for his or her heartwarming sports activities comedy after Martin — who produced the movie — sought out the previous Destiny’s Child singer to play her onscreen mother.

The “Black-ish” alum stars in “Fantasy Football” as Callie A. Coleman, a youngster who discovers she will be able to magically management her father’s efficiency on the soccer area by way of her Madden NFL 23 online game. The benched NFL participant (performed by Omari Hardwick) then makes an attempt to revive his profession to show to his tech-wiz daughter and spouse Keisha (Rowland) that he generally is a famous person.

The film’s lighthearted plot is what attracted Martin, 18, and Rowland, 41, to the venture — they contemplate it “extremely mandatory” to bolster the illustration of Black ladies on this comedic house (just like the lane Lindsay Lohan carved with motion pictures like “The Parent Trap” and “Freaky Friday”). Their shared ardour for these tales is a part of what introduced them nearer throughout filming, too. Between recording their viral TikTok videos and performing collectively onscreen, the 2 icons have cultivated a really particular bond — and their joyous vitality collectively is infectious.

Ahead of “Fantasy Football”‘s Nov. 25 launch, POPSUGAR bought to hearken to Martin and Rowland have a spirited telephone dialog about every thing from their first impressions of one another to the challenges that include being younger Black entertainers. Read forward to see what they dished about.

On How They First Met

Marsai Martin: We met some time again whenever you got here to my birthday — I used to be 14. I used to be shocked as a result of it was a shock that you just had been coming, proper?

Kelly Rowland: That’s proper.

MM: It was a birthday dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse, and all my associates had been there. My aunts and uncles had been there. And you then pulled up, and I used to be like, “Wait, what?” [laughs]

KR: “Where’d she come from?”

MM: It was very stunning, however for me, it simply form of felt like you slot in so nicely. Immediately, I felt so comfy with you. I feel nerves had been taking place after I first met you as a result of I’m simply nervous round new individuals, however they instantly went away due to how candy and down-to-earth you might be.

KR: Aww, thanks for saying that.

MM: I knew from the very starting I needed to work with you as a result of I knew your vitality was one thing that I’ve by no means actually skilled earlier than with being so comfy with anyone.

KR: I bear in mind [you] feeling very heat and sensible past [your] years. And on this specific venture, [you don’t] know however I watched [you]. I discover [you] very fascinating as [you’re] issues in the best way they’re working. I’m excited about the “Fantasy Football” house and the way extremely observant and artistic you might be. I really feel like we’d like [you]. [You are] mandatory for us, for our neighborhood, for the world to see true Black lady magic at its best: inventive and assured and daring.

On Reuniting For “Fantasy Football”

MM: I knew I needed a household that felt actual, that felt like they might simply exist on the earth. And in terms of chemistry, that is the most important factor for me as nicely. With Kelly, I feel it was truly hilarious as a result of we had Omari, after all, after which we knew we needed a mother to deliver all people collectively for positive. Keisha, she’s the primary piece for every thing to be in addition to it was within the movie. We auditioned a few individuals, however we knew from the very starting we needed Kelly for positive . . . So when the provide got here up that you just needed to do it, I used to be simply bouncing up and down. I used to be so, so excited.

KR: I used to be, too.

MM: That was our expertise on our finish, however how was it for you, truthfully?

KR: I imply, I cherished each second of it as a result of it was me enjoying a mother. I used to be excited [about] how I’d be with a daughter. Because I’ve two boys, it was like, “Oh, how is that this dynamic going to be?” I form of rolled off of our vitality and went from there . . . Everything form of felt like this heat house, to be sincere, for everyone to thrive and be essentially the most wonderful model of ourselves with these characters. That course of was enjoyable.

On Starting Their Acting Careers

KR: For me to go from singing to performing, I’ve all the time cherished performing. I’ve all the time cherished motion pictures, all the time sat there, watched, and needed to know the entire dialogue of a film — identical to I heard you do the identical factor. That was a very long time in the past after I bought the chance to do it — I feel it was a Jet Jackson film with Destiny’s Child; I’ll always remember. I used to be like, “This is enjoyable, [I] may do that all day.” Whenever the chance [to act] presents itself, I wish to bounce and check out it.

MM: For me, I began after I was 5, so I am unable to even actually bear in mind or let you know the entire story, however I do know for a truth it got here naturally and I stumbled upon it, imagine it or not — which is a loopy story as a result of again within the day, I used to imitate all of those motion pictures from the again of my head, so I knew this was destined for me . . . [I remember] I went into a photograph shoot house in a mall down in Dallas and took vacation photographs only for my grandparents to have for the vacations. And then subsequent factor you recognize, the photographer was like, “She takes path rather well. I’ll offer you a reduction when you go to this performing class.” And then the remainder was historical past.

KR: Wow. Have you gone again to see that photographer?

MM: No, I do not know the place he is at. But thanks!

FANTASY FOOTBALL --Marsai Martin as Callie and Kelly Rowland as Keisha a  in Fantasy Football streaming on Paramount+. Photo: Boris Martin/Nickelodeon/Paramount+© 2022 Paramount Global. All Rights Reserved.

Image Source: Paramount+

On Transitioning From Child Stars to Adult Actors

KR: I feel that when individuals develop up with you, they really feel like, with all due respect, they’ve an opinion. I feel that it is vital to be very cognizant [of how] you are somebody. It’s a particular lens . . . I feel that it is vital to recollect how outdated you might be at that age. You do not know what the dynamics are as you might be rising and moving into this leisure house the place all people’s you — permitting individuals to have these moments the place they’re human — as a result of the reality is, I bear in mind being 17 and anyone’s like, “You cannot do that, you’ll be able to’t do this, you’ll be able to’t do that. You must all the time do such and such.” It’s like, “Oh, so that you’re by no means presupposed to do something incorrect? That’s practical” [laughs]. I’m grateful that I had nice individuals round me who had been pouring into me so far as morals had been involved, being a woman, doing every thing with grace, being grateful for the place you might be within the second, all the time being goodhearted, and having pleasure and zeal for what it’s that you just do. I feel that grace bought me by way of for positive.

MM: I agree. I’m going by way of this proper now, so I [don’t have] no recommendation or [anything], however I feel it is very important let individuals exist and discover their very own ups and downs and their very own errors. It’s just a little bit tougher for us as nicely as a result of we’re within the public eye, and persons are watching us whereas doing it, so it does really feel like there’s strain coming into that.

KR: There is, yeah.

MM: My mother and father, my sister, my grandma, and my great-grandparents — they’re throughout me all the time. And I really feel like so long as I’ve that help system, I’ll be OK. I really feel like individuals do suppose they’ve a way of say and wish to guard you, and with the world of social media, it isn’t getting any higher. People simply have to simply accept that individuals develop up and ladies develop up, and you have to settle for that and allow them to do what they do.

On Peer Support within the Entertainment Industry

KR: It depends upon what you are comfy with. If you wish to be round your loved ones and that is your grounding and secure house, that is the place you are presupposed to be. If you meet different girls or younger girls alongside the best way and also you bond, you click on, that is nice. That’s truly what occurred with me and Serena [Williams] or me and Ciara — we grew to become associates and moms. Outside, after all, of Bey and Michelle for me. I used to be like, “Oh, these [women] simply got here alongside the best way.” But I used to be very a lot so pleased with my household and it being simply us. It felt good. I used to be secure, I used to be protected.

MM: With me, I like my household, I like my associates. My [two best] associates are usually not within the trade in any respect, so they do not actually care nothing about [my] work. They simply need me to have enjoyable and play with them, which is cool. But I feel it is vital to seek out individuals who have been by way of the identical issues as you or anyone you’ll be able to relate to inside this house, like [you], Kelly. But I do suppose it is an vitality factor. I’m massive on vitality and attempting to attach with individuals in that manner. So I really feel like no matter occurs, occurs. I feel you’ll be able to really feel your manner by way of the BS and all the opposite issues round that. It’s simple to seek out your manner when you simply follow your floor and what you care about.

On the Secret to a Long-Lasting Career

KR: Being humble — always stretching your self and never being afraid to attempt new issues creatively. It’s additionally having the ability to join with nice individuals as nicely, for tasks like [“Fantasy Football”]. You nonetheless must have enjoyable. [Work] continues to be enjoyable to me. Here I’m years later, and I’m simply actually grateful to nonetheless be having enjoyable. That’s the key of all of it to me.

MM: I feel in my world, there are a variety of hardships in terms of doing issues that you just’re captivated with and the ups and downs with that. But what my dad all the time says is, “The hardest factor that is ever going to knock you down is life, and everybody bought to undergo that.” So I really feel like so long as you retain every thing lighthearted, enjoyable, and thrilling — to the place you’re looking ahead to the following chapter in your life — that is essential. Because all people around the globe seems like they’ve some form of strain on themselves to be one thing, particularly being a younger Black lady. So I feel [the secret is] maintain bringing your self first. Self-care is every thing. Mental well being is every thing.

“Fantasy Football” is now streaming on Paramount+.

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