We sat down with Empireactress Tasha Smith to discuss what we can expect from season two, why she loves working with her fellow cast-mates, and how to prank Tyler Perry if you have an identical twin sister.
Tasha Smith is back for a second season in Lee Daniels’ successful drama series Empire as Carol Hardaway, the younger sister and accomplice to Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon, a former drug dealer fighting for her share of her ex-husband’s record company fortune.
When she’s not helping Cookie bury bodies in flashback scenes, Tasha stars as Angela Williams on For Better or Worse, the spin-off television series of Tyler Perry’s two Why Did I Get Married films, now in its seventh season.
The actress spilled on how her character Carol will rock the boat in season two of Empire, what it’s like to work with an accomplished cast of actors on the show (hint: “It’s like a buffet of fine art”), and how she and her twin sister managed to prank Tyler Perry on the set of For Better or Worse.
The newest season of Empire recently premiered. Can you give us any hints about what to expect from season two? TASHA SMITH: One thing I can tell you is that it’s going to be good. Honey, Cookie is in rare form and Lucious is as luscious as ever. [Laughs]. When you get a little deeper into the season, you will see Cookie and her sisters having a few family issues, which is going to be very interesting too.
Vivica A. Fox will make an appearance as Cookie’s older sister later in the season. Can you give us any insight into that as Cookie’s younger sister? TS: I’ve never gotten a chance to play the baby sister before, so I love having my big sisters who are, both of them, crazy as hell. I can tell you this: Carol calls them crazy, but she might be the one with the problem.
How would you describe your character, Carol, in three words? TS: In three words? I have two words: troubled soul.
What has it been like working with an accomplished cast of actors, such as Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, on a popular show? TS: Honestly, they are a tour-de-force. They’re amazing artists, they’re amazing people—full of life, full of energy. It is so wonderful to be on the set with them.
Do you prefer to play the same character over an extended period of time in a TV series, or star in a film? TS: Honestly, I love movies, but you know what, I love television too. Angela is like a part of my family now. I’ve been with her for so long [through the two movies and seven seasons of For Better or Worse], she’s like a cousin. [Laughs] It’s a different kind of experience with Empire because now with For Better or Worse, no matter where they go with Angela, I know who she is—but Carol, I’m learning who she is and that’s a beautiful experience.
Switching gears a little bit—I read that you have an identical twin sister, Sidra. I’m curious, have you ever switched places for a day? TS: Well, I did prank Tyler Perry before. [Laughs] I had her go on the set as if she was me and try to do my role and that didn’t fly. Tyler was like, “What is going on? Something is wrong with you. I don’t understand.” It was so funny. But as kids we never switched places or anything because we’re identical twins, but our friends and people, they knew us apart because I was always loud. My sister, her demeanor is so different. Just walking in the room they knew, “Oh, that’s Tasha.” [Laughs]