LaToya Tonodeo As She Explores Beyond The Camera
LaToya Tonodeo, who stars in POWER BOOK II: GHOST, is a truly talented, inspiring, and dedicated actress and individual. Recognizing there is more to acting than “saying words in front of a camera,” she continues to explore and push her boundaries. Playing the daughter of Mary J. Blige in the series, LaToya had the opportunity to work with someone who is authentic and absolutely amazing! Channeling her true self, the actress is setting sail for a voyage that will continue to expand and bring on new opportunities and adventures…
Why were you originally drawn the series POWER BOOK II: GHOST?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Power, the original series. It was a show that was different from anything I’ve seen on TV. It was new and fresh. The good and the bad guys were likable. I always wanted to be a part of the Power series. I even made a Vision Board and put Power and Starz on it. When the series ended, I thought “well, hopefully, I’ll get a chance to work with show creators, Courtney A. Kemp and Curtis “50 cent” Jackson on something else in the future”. Fast forward to 2019, the first spinoff, Power Book ll: Ghost, went into production and Diana Tejada came to life!
Tell us about your audition.
I received a self-tape audition appointment via email from my team. I immediately tried to find more info online about the show. I was trying to figure out if this was a prequel or any other information I could gather. Of course, I couldn’t find anything lol. They’re good at keeping secrets. I put myself on tape and sent it off. I was excited, but I said I have to let it go and don’t think too much about it. If it’s mine, it will be MINE! Later, I received an in-person callback appointment. I walk into the room and there’s Courtney, Anthony Hemingway, more producers, and casting. I was so focused and confident that I wasn’t even bothered by the amount of people in the room. I truly feel that I did a hell of a job. After the audition, they were chatting with me about my background, asking if I speak any other languages, do I play sports. Of course, that’s when the nerves kicked in. Lol. When I left the room, I remember smiling so big like “I did that!” “I killed it!!”. I felt so good that even if I didn’t get it, I knew I booked the room and I gave it my all. That was a great audition. I still remember that feeling.
What kind of prep work did you do for the audition? And then for the show, once you booked it?
I studied not only my lines but also the moments. I focused in on her relationship with her brothers and the connection between Diana and Tariq. I wanted to make sure that the chemistry was felt. I typically do the same prep for the show. The work doesn’t stop after the audition. It’s a continuation of diving into your character’s arc and breaking down the moments so that I’m as truthful to Diana and the story as possible.
You play the daughter of Mary J. Blige! What has that relationship been like?
Mary J Blige is an incredible human being. The relationship has been really sweet. She’s so giving when it comes to advice and she’s so real. No sugar coating, which I love!
What have you learned from her both as an actress and individual?
She’s a vet in the entertainment industry, so there’s so much knowledge she can offer all of us. One key thing I’m still learning from her is how to move in this industry. She’s a boss and when she speaks people listen.
Share with us a moment on set where you were faced with a challenge. How did you overcome it?
There was a time when I had a really rough morning. Initially, I woke up and everything was moving great. Then I was hit with a little adversity. It messed with my focus. I found myself struggling a little bit. I’m usually “on-it” but that time I wasn’t. So of course, that added to my frustration. As soon as I had a break, I went to a private space and did breathing exercises, and read a few scriptures (things I do to relax my mind). It worked and I came back to the scene and felt great! I got out of my own way.
In what ways does your character relate to who you are in real life? And completely differ?
Diana and I are both book and street-smart. We are really good at reading people and picking up on good/bad energy. We’re also very protective of the people we love. We’re both strong-willed. We differ in some ways. One would be that Diana is still seeking independence. I’d say I’ve found mine. I don’t feel like I’m battling for freedom and the right to choose my destiny. Diana wants to go to school, but at the moment she’s not allowed to because she’s being pushed towards being a part of the family business.
How did your other projects help build who you are today?
My other projects definitely prepared me for where I am today. It was the start of my growth and journey. I began to learn more about the business side of things as well as the technical side. There’s so much more to acting than just saying words in front of a camera.
Talent LATOYA TONODEO @toyofficial
Photography FRANZ MAHR @franzmars
Styling BLEU @styledbybleu
Hair MITCHELL CANTRELL @mitchellcantrellbeauty
Makeup MYLAH MORALES @mylahmorales
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @bellomediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites