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While Candace is on hiatus from her dirty dealings on “The Have and the Have Nots” until the show returns to OWN on January 7th, the actress that plays her, Tika Sumpter, has some other projects in the works. She’s starring with Tyler Perry in A Madea Christmas which comes to theaters this Friday.

Listen above to hear when Tom became Tika’s biggest fan, Tika’s advice to aspiring actors, and who she feels is her most embarrassing family member. 

“I play a teacher who’s always trying to do the right thing but sometimes it doesn’t always turn out like she thought it would,” Sumpter says. “But at the same time, she’s holding secrets back from her mother because she’s trying to protect her mother but she’s way sweeter than Candace.”

Sumpter, 33, a native of Queens, N.Y., says that fans are often hesitant to greet her, thinking she may respond to them in the persona of the manipulative, scheming Candace. But it depends on which fans, as Sumpter also appeared on the daytime soap One Life to Live and the nighttime drama Gossip Girl. Sumpter enjoys both comedy and drama parts, but she says doing comedy after so much drama was fun.

“I think there are parts of me in both. I’m a nice person, a sweet, good-hearted person but I do have that side of telling it like it is. I love [comedy] because I’m so used to being in comedy. I laughed so much on this movie. It was a good vibe on set.” In A Madea Christmas, Madea shares the screen with a dysfunctional white family. Sumpter says that the universal themes of the movie will resonate for anyone.

“I don’t care who you are, we all have embarrassing family members. Madea’s not alone in the world of tell-it-like-it-is embarrassing family members. Just try to accept people for exactly who they are, I think that’s the message throughout.”

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