Wendy Williams is her own entity, never afraid to speak her thoughts and opinions on current matters. Pushing her own nationally syndicated television talk show titled The Wendy Williams Show since 2008, the media personality and businesswoman comes from truly humble beginnings: growing up with big dreams in Asbury Park and having to overcome endless obstacles to get there.
For those who may wonder how Wendy got to where she is now, look no further than the new original Lifetime film, WENDY WILLIAMS: THE MOVIE. The television channel aims to flip the script and turn the spotlight on Wendy herself, who’s established her name as one of the go-to sources for celebrity news. The biopic will chronicle her journey from the early days in urban radio to having her own syndicated talk show, pushing through all the haters and naysayers along the way with resilience and determination.
The biopic stars Ciera Payton (from Tyler Perry’s The Oval) and Morocco Omari (from Chicago) as Wendy Williams and her ex-husband Kevin Hunter respectively. Not only will audiences be able to get the inside scoop into her fruitful career, standing tall as an icon in the media world for decades, but they will also be allowed into her personal life as well.
Baller Alert was in attendance for the movie’s virtual press conference, asking Wendy and the actors one question each. Wendy Williams: The Movie is slated to premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 8pm/7c, immediately followed by the Wendy Williams: What a Mess documentary at 10pm/9c.
Was it intimidating playing real-life alive people?
Ciera: Yeah, it was very intimidating. [laughs] In general, as an actor, you do the prep and get into the character. You create this world, it’s all a vulnerable experience. Now we have social media and the world watching at large, so the whole process of acting sometimes is a very intimidating process. To step into the shoes of a woman that’s so amazing and everybody knows her, that’s intimidating because you want to make sure you do it justice. You give the version of Wendy that everybody loves and knows so well.
Stepping into it after I knew that I booked the role, of course I was excited. But oh my gosh, I want to make sure I get it right. I had the pleasure and the opportunity to speak with Wendy for a while, she gave me a lot of great tips and pointers. She was extremely supportive all throughout. With that, the intimidation subsided. It’s huge shoes to fill, to step into. Everybody’s in love with Wendy.
Morocco: Kevin for me, I was trying to do research on him because I got this role very late. He was like a ghost. I couldn’t find any footage on the brother. I found a radio interview so I had to create him from what was said about him through other interviews, what other people said about him. Ciera’s job was bigger because Wendy Williams, she’s an icon. Everybody knows her, whereas Kevin was this invisible man to the masses. I was watching a lot of Dame Dash and Fat Joe, mixed both and giving him that New York mannerism. That boss mannerism. I’m from Chicago, so I had to really find my way to Brooklyn through those two brothers.
Salt-N-Pepa actually asked you to be their DJ, what was a young 21-year-old Wendy Williams like?
Wendy: I wanted to be on the radio. That was an honor, but I was bigger than them at that point in my mind. I’d already doing weekends in New York, but nobody knew that. I was working 7 days a week, and I was only in D.C. during weekdays for a full-time shift. I was on my way to be a star in radio in New York, and everything worked out for the best.
How nostalgic was it watching the Salt-N-Pepa movie?
Wendy: I enjoyed watching Salt n Pepa’s movie! I feel like was there the whole time. It was reliving the good ol’ days of hip hop, and some of the bad ol’ days. It goes to show you how far you can take it if you really want to.