Novi Brown is a rising star who is taking the world of television and film by storm. Poised with a background in theater, Brown has ascended to what many may consider the heights of Black Hollywood with a lead role in Tyler Perry’s written, directed, and executive-produced television series ‘Sistas.’ Well into its fifth season, Brown stars as Sabrina Hollins and has won over the hearts of many but really — she’s only just getting started.

The 35-year-old stars as the lead actress in a recently released horror film titled ‘Alone In The Dark’ and is poised to also grace screens in an upcoming Christmas feature. Read as she shares how the transition has been from television to film and how she was able to tackle her lead role in a startlingly realistic horror plot. Brown also shares her predictions for Libra season, as well as the goals she’s manifesting for the next year of her career and beyond.

Jadriena Solomon: When we last spoke, you mentioned that you wanted to master your “craft of acting.” You want people to hear your name and say, ‘Oh, Novi’s there — we’re going to see this.’ And I would say that’s exactly how we feel knowing that you have multiple upcoming films set to be released. Can you tell us how the mind frame of an actor changes with the transition from television to film? And what has that transition been like for you in these past months?

NB: There’s definitely a huge difference between theater, film, and tv. I’m a theater actor — my degree is in theater. In theater, you have to give your entire body, and there’s a sense of “overacting,” which is our way of projecting because we have to reach an audience member that’s sitting all the way in the back of the theater. With television series, we’re building a character over time. An audience can visually see the differences and development in character, comparing season one to season three. Whereas in a film, we have to give almost all of those elements in about an hour and 30 minutes. So you have to provide the character with an entire life and persona, but you might only be shooting for a month.

There are benefits to each of the worlds. But I feel like since I’ve worked with Tyler Perry, I’m able to handle a film role because I’m able to memorize lines and develop a character in a quick amount of time. I’ve had five seasons with my  ‘Sistas’ character Sabrina, so I’m able to do that in a quicker time span. And I know that that environment got me ready to be in a film space where they require you to give the entire story of the character very quickly —  on top of that, we’re filming scenes out of order. So I might be filming the last portion of the movie, all the way at the beginning of the shoot. There are huge differences between each of the three mediums and I would recommend for actors dive into all of them.

JS: ‘Alone In The Dark’ was released on October 7th. And you star as Bri, a “recent divorcée who is forced to live under house arrest following her ex-husband Michael’s crimes.” Bri must “deal with uncovering the truth after she encounters an elusive stalker who appears to have control over her surroundings.” Is this your first horror project? And how did you feel when you were first approached for it?

NB: I’ve always wanted to do thriller movies. I love action. I see myself being in movies like the ‘Bond’ series and stuff of that nature. That’s where I really want to go. So the thriller side, that’s exciting for me. I’m probably going to try everything once in my career, at least to just experience what it is.

I was a little nervous but this film is more of a real-life circumstance. And it’s horrible that it happened to this character. But as far as these new roles, I have no problem playing anything at least once.

 

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JS: I can only imagine that horror is an entirely different monster of a project. It’s not the vivacious energy of ‘Sistas,’ the energy here is definitely more sinister, serious, and solemn. How did you find yourself preparing for this kind of project? And did you have any nervous reservations about it?

NB: ‘Alone In the Dark’ is a thriller and it’s definitely way more serious than ‘Sistas.’ I watch a lot of ‘Snapped’ and ‘Crime Watch Daily’, so that got me prepared for this type of role. As far as the more serious and solemn side, I think we have a responsibility as actors to tell real stories that are actually impacting people’s lives. People have been in marriages where somebody’s lying about finances and that disrupts their entire livelihood. And brings them into a situation they never even pictured.

So I do a lot of research. I watch people, and I’m an observer of the humanity of how different stories come about. So it’s actually exciting to play something completely different than what I’ve been used to — there’s a lot of seriousness on ‘Sistas’ but it is veered towards making the audience laugh. For this, I was able to be way more internal. I was able to be quieter. And that’s something that my character Sabrina lends me. So I was definitely able to kind of take a bit of that and put it into this project. I just had to remember that this is a real person’s story. And to approach it with depth, and honesty, and just be as authentic to the character as possible.

JS: ‘Sistas’ fans are definitely seeing a new side of you through these projects. But was there anything new that you personally learned about yourself that surprised you during this time?

NB: It definitely has made me feel more confident. In whatever field of work you’re in, you want to feel that you’re useful and that you’re being purposeful in your field. I’ve just been out here working on all of these projects and they’re finally coming together. So for me, I just feel more confident now.

I’ve been trying to be a professional actor for 14 years, and it’s taken so long for me to get into the position that I’m in now. So having three films that I’m a lead actor in just makes me feel as like, ‘Okay, there is space for me here. So just continue showing up, being professional, getting your work done, and being a joy to work around, and you can have longevity.’

 

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JS: We are sitting in Libra season until October 23. And since you are an astrology connoisseur, I would be remiss if I didn’t get a reading of the stars from you. What can we expect Libra season to bring us this year?

NB: I really love that you’re asking this — it really just depends on your specific chart of course. But Libra, in a nutshell, is an air sign, meaning it pioneers things and Libra represents relationships. So there will be somebody that everybody in the world will be dealing with — whether that be a best friend, a marriage partner, or a business partner — and you guys will have to come to more of a balance in your relationship. You guys are going to have to renegotiate your position. Maybe you’re doing something in the relationship that you no longer enjoy, now’s the time to voice that. Libra is all about negotiations. It also represents the justice system. It also represents our love life. So if you have exes, just be prepared for them to pop up.

This may be a time when you really have to learn how to show up in social situations and interactions as well. Because Libra deals with interaction — person to person — there may be some personality traits within yourself that you’re going to be reevaluating this season. And lastly, there could be a little shopping. It’s a good time for sales, some new skincare, and new fashion pieces.

JS: Of course, I have to get a question in about the Scorpio season. I know you’re Scorpio so your birthday is coming up. As you approach this next year of your life and your career, what are you manifesting? What do you wanna put out into the universe? Let’s do it right here, right now, in this interview.

NB: First and foremost, I’m manifesting consistent healthy choices. That’s number one because consistent healthy choices will then build my way to the success that I have in my head. Scorpio is all about transformation. It’s all about throwing out the things that don’t work anymore — Letting the dead weight go. It’s shedding season. And for me, I want to shed any habits that don’t work for me, like maybe not having the best sleeping schedule. I really want to do that better. I did a fasting detox this year, for like six days and that was life-changing. So I want to bring some more of those elements into my life.

For my career, I’m manifesting my trajectory toward Marvel films. I want to be speaking German. I want to be next to Dwayne Johnson with my big afro, shooting a specialty gun or something. That’s the other thing I’m manifesting.

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