Toni Braxton may have had her share of life challenges including bankruptcies, illnesses and a separation from her husband, but she’s powered through them with grace. Whether she’s the supportive older sister on “The Braxton Family Values,” whose new season begins on WEtvon Thursday, March 14 at 9 p.m. or finding love in an unexpected place in the Lifetime movie “Twist of Faith” debuting on Saturday, February 9 at 8 p.m., Braxton is staying busy. In the movie, she plays Nia, a single mother who finds love with a Jewish man who is dealing with his own set of challenges. Although Braxton was hospitalized late last year for blood clots (a common problem for those living with lupus), she’s doing fine now and sounded great when we caught up with her recently. Read on for Toni’s take on life, family and working through it all.
BAW: You already have a lot on your plate. What made you want to do “Twist of Faith,” and how did you get involved in it?
Toni Braxton: This character is Toni Braxton if she wasn’t a recording artist. She’s a teacher with a college degree, she goes to church, she sings in the choir, but a little bit unlucky in love with her marital situation. She’s a single parent and she’s decided to focus just on her kid. Sometimes you have to open yourself up to find love. Love has no color. This guy is Jewish and they find each other. It’s a really beautiful love story. My manager brought it to me. It was a project that I felt so attached to immediately.
BAW: You do have a lot going on, recording, doing a reality show and still healing from your health issues so this must have really spoken to you.
I did this last year. You know movies take some time to come out. I knew who this person was, so I had to do it. And then I had great people around me who helped me feel comfortable in front of a camera. Plays [are one thing] but acting in front of a camera is completely different. It’s more technical and more visual but everyone was completely supportive.
BAW: But you’ve done tons of music videos. That must make it easier?
No way. No comparison. Nothing about that is similar. Nothing. No way. In a video, you’re looking at the camera. [In a movie] you’ve got to make sure you’re not looking straight into the camera, you’ve got to look to the left or the right depending on where the person’s eye is – so many technical things. Anyone who wants to act should probably take a lighting class. It’s not about the acting; it’s about the technical part. How do you stand? How do you know where [to look?] The best person who does this is Denzel. He’s editing while he’s shooting. No wonder Denzel’s Denzel. He’s making it easy for them to edit. He’s brilliant at that. I’m learning. But I had a great time. It’s always great when you’re learning something new and challenging yourself. I like educating myself on anything that can make me a better person and a better performer.