HHUCIT Magazine Feature:
Actress Spotlight – Erica Hubbard
by Edward Griffin
With a successful career in the world of entertainment thus far, this chilhood model turned actress has made her stamp on Hollywood. Erica Hubbard has appeared in many major feature films and sitcoms including the critically acclaimed Lincoln Heights. This windy-city native and proud graduate of Columbia College is making her mark on the acting industry and her dynamic talent is exceeding Black Hollywood.
Not allowing adversities placed on actresses of color to affect her, Erica is shining on and off screen. Influencing young people with the Erica Hubbard Foundation, she makes the time to have a positive impact on our future.
Being from Chicago, IL. How did you get into acting, and how did growing up there help your experience in acting?
I started acting at the age of 9 in Chicago. At first I started off modeling as a child then immediately after began acting. My dad had a good friend in the business who got me in the industry modeling for Sears then I signed with an agency. Soon after signing with an agency I started booking commercials, voice-overs, and doing theater in Chicago. Growing up in Chicago helped shaped my career because of the training I had around town, on-stage, in Piven, Act-One and at COLUMBIA COLLEGE. I also learned a lot growing up in the inner-city with my mom and then moving to the suburbs with my dad.
I remember watching the Mo’Nique Show and you talked about getting kicked out of high school and your path to becoming in actress how did that happen?
On THE Mo’NIQUE SHOW I had mentioned being expelled from an all-girls school for an argument I had in a classroom, and then I transferred to a coed high school that I excelled in; running track, doing the high-jump and of course taking drama classes. Taking drama classes in high school led me to go to college and minor in theater.
You attended Columbia College and got your Bachelors degree in 3 years, what motivated you to finish up so quickly?
I graduated college in three years, and what motivated me to get a degree so quickly was the fact I wanted to move to California (and book more TV/Film roles). I filmed roles in Light It Up and Save The Last Dance in Chicago, but I knew the bulk of the industry work was in California. So, I took extra classes in college and went to summer school a lot so I could graduate early to move to the West Coast.
You even tried your hand at Modeling as a former Ford Model, how was that experience?
Being a FORD Model for several years was a great experience for me. My modeling jobs help pay my tuition through college modeling and I got a chance to travel. When I was at FORD Models that’s when I got the life-changing news that I would be the NOXZEMA GIRL.
For some that don’t know you’ve been blessed to work in many major films including Save The Last Dance, Akeelah and the Bee, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants & more…How were you able to stay consistent in landing those amazing roles?
Working in major films such as Save The Last Dance, A Cinderella Story, Akeelah and the Bee, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, etc. I was able to remain consistent in booking roles because of the fact I like to be versatile in choosing roles I portray. Instead of playing the same role over and over I like to venture out and be different characters. For instance, I portrayed Cassie Sutton on Lincoln Heights for 4 years, but the role (Kita)I’m filming on the BET Series’ Let’s Stay Together is the exact opposite from the role on Lincoln Heights. I think the best way to keep working in the entertainment industry is to portray a wide range of lives.
You have also appeared in several TV Shows including EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, CSI: Miami, JUDGING AMY and most notably for your starring role in the Hit Series Lincoln Heights how has your experience been in TV vs. Film and do you prefer one over the other?
I have been fortunate to be on hit-shows like Everybody Hates Chris, Cold Case, CSI: Miami, Lincoln Heights, etc. I love the art of bringing life into a role that someone creatively wrote. I think the craft of storytelling is extremely entertaining and every person I portray has a message that needs to be told. I love to portray many different personalities therefore, I have no preference when it comes to telling a story on film versus television.
Lincoln Heights had a great run and it was recently cancelled how was your experience on the show?
After being on Lincoln Heights for 4 years, I felt blessed that I could be on a show that could be viewed all those years and win a NAACP IMAGE AWARD for Outstanding Best Drama Series! It was a dream come true to portray Cassie Sutton as well as be a member of the Sutton Family on Lincoln Heights. Working on that series for ABC Family gave me a huge opportunity to work with some of the industry greats such as Kevin Hooks, Ernest Dickerson, Seith Mann, Jesse Bocho, and Kevin Sullivan.
At the time, Lincoln Heights was also the only show on TV with an African American cast, how important was it to keep Lincoln Heights alive in African American households?
During the time Lincoln Heights was airing it was the only African-American drama series on TV in its original season, and I felt like I had taken part in a historical moment! Furthermore, after TV One picked up Lincoln Heights to air… I got a lot of Facebook and Twitter Messages about how relatable the show is to its audience. It’s truly a great feeling of accomplishment to know that our show touches its viewers hearts!
Was there a specific reason for the cancellation?
I believe the network thought Lincoln Heights had ran a good 4 year course. The cast and crew was very proud to work on a show for 4 consecutive years! During those years when Lincoln Heights was the only African-American TV Show in its original season airing we believed we delivered a thought provoking messages that brought (much needed) attention to the challenges and dreams of our community.
Moving on you have a new show in the works on BET starring alongside Malinda Williams (Soul Food – Series) Kim Fields (Living Single) which is being produced by Queen Latifah for BET on the show titled “Let’s Stay Together” talk to us a little bit about the show?
Currently, I am filming a BET Series called Let’s Stay Together portraying Kita Whitmore. I am truly happy to work on this show created by Jaque Edmonds Cofer with Producer, Queen Latifah and the cast! With the talented writing team that’s in place and working hard… we laugh a lot everyday and have fun (in the creative realm) making the show come alive. I feel gracious to have met and worked with Kim Fields who directed a few of the episodes. I hope our viewers enjoy Let’s Stay Together just as much as I enjoy working on the series!
I love the art of bringing life into a role that someone creatively wrote. I think the craft of storytelling is extremely entertaining and every person I portray has a message that needs to be told
When can we expect to see the show?
The show Let’s Stay Together is tentavly set to air January 2011 on BET. Please check your local listings for dates and times. Also, check out www.BET.com for more information and the Let’s Stay Together Facebook Page for updates.
Talk to us about your foundation, the Erica Hubbard Foundation and what you guys do?
I started The Erica Hubbard Foundation to motivate our youth to be positive, motivate the youth to achieve success, inspire the next generation to keep holding onto their dreams (despite poverty or low self-esteem) in the midst of a crisis and challenging economy. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago witnessing the affects of gang and drug infested communities, and I want to be a voice for our community that says, “Always look beyond your circumstances and know that you should expect better for yourself.” Recently, I was asked to give the Commencement Address at Olive-Harvey College on the South Side of Chicago. I felt honored to send a message to the graduates about having aspirations and being the hope of our community. I feel giving back and doing charity work is the best gratification and fulfillment you can have on this earth! For more information please visit www.TheEricaHubbardFoundation.org.
Within our company we have an AIDS initiative called R.A.P on AIDS that we have been pushing forward by educating the underprivileged communities on the Affects of HIV/AIDS. HIV AIDS is running rampant in the Black community, what are your thoughts on this deadly epidemic that is the leading cause of Death of African American woman ages 25-34?
My thoughts about the HIV/AIDS epidemic is that there needs to be more information about this epidemic in our community. The epidemic should be talked about in health classes at our schools, more PSA’S should be visible, brochures should be passed out in front of our clinics, and more free hotlines to call in regards to ones health. The serious topic of HIV/AIDS needs to be talked about on a continuous bases. As you mentioned previously, you are beginning your initiative, and with you I will gladly join forces to bring more awareness in our community about R.A.P on AIDS. I encourage everyone to go get your yearly checkup’s and care about yourself and the well-being of other’s to live a healthy life.
What advice would you give any young women who say, “Erica is someone that I look up to, she’s my role model, I want to be just like her”?
The advice I would like to leave everyone is to find a mentor in your chosen occupation you are working in or want to pursue. Always have a positive support system around that edifies you. Please watch who you hang around and call your friend especially if they’re always talking negative (and don’t have any dreams to pursue). Here are a few books I recommend to read, How Successful People Think, God is My CEO and The Richest Men In Town. Know the more good you speak about yourself in a humble way… the more good things will happen to you.
Would you like to leave anything else with your fans?
Thank you to everyone who has supported my endeavors and watched my career all these years. It makes me very happy to know that I have someone out there that supports my journey in this entertainment industry! If anyone wants to say hi or leave a message please go to my Twitter or Facebook Page/Erica Hubbard. Also, check out my website.