“Star” is a production of 20th Century Fox Television in association with Lee Daniels Entertainment. Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy are the creators and executive producers of the series.
Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Queen Latifah stars as Carlotta, a surrogate mother to the young crew (Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady) that also includes Cotton (newcomer Amiyah Scott). Emmy Award nominee Benjamin Bratt plays Jahil, a down-on-his-luck talent agent looking to revitalize his career, who’s taken a certain interest in Star. The series also features guest stars Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz and supermodel/actress Naomi Campbell.
We caught up with 3 of the show’s stars Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady & Quincy to catch up us on where all their characters are headed for season 2.
The Knockturnal: So when you’re performing and channeling your characters, who do you look to as a source of inspiration?
Ryan Destiny: I think naturally I look for inspiration the same way I would do it in real life. And it’s just from people that I’ve always looked up to. Aaliyah, Lauren Hill, Brandy…Beyoncé also is a huge one. Just as far as performing, I love people that are entertainers as a whole. So Prince, Freddie Mercury, just these people that are always going to demand the stage so those are definitely people I always think of, and Michael Jackson always.
Brittany O’Grady: Definitely, you know, I came from a musical theater background, so the music industry at least me being put in it, through the show is new territory for me. When I perform as Simone, I perform as my character as an actress, you know I haven’t really thought about who she would be inspired by, but I always kind of looked at Kehlani as like a style for her. Kehlani, maybe even SZA a little bit. Erykah Badu maybe a little bit, I don’t know. But me personally I’m like, Barbara Streisand, Dorothy Dandridge, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews. I loved those theatrical performers, so if I were to ever be a singer, performer it would be in the way like Eartha Kitt was or Judy Garland.
The Knockturnal: Can you also talk a little about the industry, how does it work for you? Do you feel comfortable or it’s too much pressure?
Ryan Destiny: Yeah, I think naturally you’re going to feel pressure … it’s scary. The music industry especially just goes up and down. One day somebody could really love you and the next day you know, you can just fall. I think there’s a lot of more untrustworthy people in the music industry versus like in our drama lives. Yeah, it’s just scary in general and I think it really shows that in the show too as far as like the storyline and where it goes. You definitely see them be tested about who they can trust, if they can even trust each other. Just a whole bunch of things that they have to go through to learn and to grow as people and as artists. And I think that is definitely the same thing in real. I trust you too.
The Knockturnal: Does that happen a lot? Like people come up to you guys thinking that you’re your characters and they take you for your real life.
Ryan Destiny: I don’t know for me, I get more of like, it’s Ryan more than it’s Alex, which is something that I am so grateful for because I really am not exactly excited when somebody calls me Alexandra. I definitely am like, “Oh, okay, my name’s Ryan.”
Brittany O’Grady: I always get, the little sister. There was Simone, or like … or people like, “You are so different.” I’m like, “Thanks.” Do you smoke weed in real life? I’m like, “No.” Me and my character are very different. People see me definitely as … little sister. Where’s your older sister? I’m like, “I don’t know she’s probably grocery shopping like I’m doing.”
The Knockturnal: Quincy, what are you wearing bro?
Quincy: Listen, honestly my stylist, you put me on blast. My stylist just came through and was just like, “You about to be so happy this trip,” and literally, she just opened up the whole thing. Yeah, I just got here. Yeah so, I don’t even want to lie to you, we wearing boyfriend material. We’ll leave it at that.
The Knockturnal: What do each of you admire most about your characters?
Ryan Destiny: For me, I definitely admire Alex’s determination and her determination, period. Her constant wants and needs to prove people wrong, certain people like her parents, who obviously don’t fully believe in her, or more so her dad. Her constant fight to just, she’s going to make it in her mind, and I just love that and respect that. That’s definitely something I see in myself too, just constant determination.
Quincy: I think for Derrick I like a few things. One being, he’s passionate, whatever’s in front of him, whatever that he has his attention on. I think too, he’s a family man. I think that kind of creates a foundation of being grounded more than anything, and that bleeds through the character a lot. Living with his grandma. Then too, like that in itself is like branches off into a whole bunch of other things, just because of that family upbringing and how he is.
Brittany O’Grady: I think the thing I admire about Simone the most is her truth. I think she’s incredibly honest and true to herself and she does not change for other people, especially just her situations and what she’s been through. I think she’s budding into her true self. That’s something I admire so much and I like how she really doesn’t care about what other people think. I think that’s the big comical part of playing her. Just her moments where it’s like … Like I don’t care. I love that about her, she cares but she doesn’t care about the stuff that I think other people really care about. I think that’s kind of fun to play. And I think in ways I can be like that. Like I just learned about Givenchy like last year, I didn’t know what that was. So there’s certain things, but not saying that that’s not something to care about. It’s a great brand. These people laugh at me a lot for not knowing things – shoes, purses, but I think that’s what I have in common with Simone is I think I really do stay true to myself, and I don’t change. Especially, I think in this show, it was kind of a challenge for me because I didn’t come from a music background. I came from, like earlier I said, musical theater, so that’s kind of a little nerdy. I’m alone here. Like I went to school, people were like, “Why are you going back to school?” I’m like, “Because I want to, I want to study abroad I want to see the world.” I just stay true to myself. Despite the shade I get. It’s okay.
The Knockturnal: Do you think that the audience would see any growth in any of your characters from season one to season two?
Ryan Destiny: Definitely. Yeah, you’ll see, I think with all the characters, truly you see just their growth and how they deal with the things that they’re dealing with. I don’t know, it just seems like the characters are truly older this season for some reason. It’s weird because I think like the time limit from when it ended to where it is now is only a few months. But it’s a lot that’s happened within that time for all of them, so you definitely see their growth. So it’s just a really cool thing to see.