By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Monday, September 21, 2015
Miss Lawrence, an Atlanta singer and hair stylist who co-hosted Bravo’s “Fashion Queens,” will appear on the season two return of TV’s buzziest show “Empire” on Fox.
She will be singing and has a few lines of dialogue. She will have scenes with Jussie Smollett, who plays the openly gay R&B singer Jamal Lyon and exchange lines with Gabourey Sidibie, who plays Lucious’ assistant Becky.
Miss Lawrence became known making appearances on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” hanging with Sheree Whitfield and later, Kenya Moore. That led to her co-hosting “Fashion Queens” with fellow Atlanta hairstylist Derek J and Bevy Smith, the Bravo version of “Fashion Police,” which lasted three seasons but has ended its run.
A few years ago, Miss Lawrence said she met “Empire” creator Lee Daniels, who recognized her from her time with “Real Hosuewives” at the Crustacean in Beverly Hills. He came up to her and said he enjoyed seeing her on the show. He also knew Bevy Smith. When Miss Lawrence was goofing around on the set of “Fashion Queens” doing a mock scene of “Empire,” Smith sent a video of it to Daniels. He loved it. He asked Miss Lawrence to send an audition tape. She crooned the disco classic “You Make Me Feel (Might Real)” by Sylvester, being a fan of disco. (She’ll be singing that song on the show as well.)
A couple of weeks later, Daniels called Miss Lawrence. “I almost hit the floor,” she said. He complimented Miss Lawrence and even put her on the phone with Lenny Kravitz. Jokingly, Miss Lawrence seized the opportunity to lobby for a role on “Empire.”
Daniels took her seriously and got her on the show. She shot her scenes in Chicago a couple of months ago.
“They booked my travel,” Miss Lawrence said. “They sent me the script. It was surreal. I’m looking at the script with all these superstar names and super-talented people and actors and actresses. My name is up there with them. Oh my God!”
(Among those who pop in for cameos the first episode include Al Sharpton, Andre Leon Talley and Don Lemon of CNN. And A listers Marisa Tomei and Chris Rock show up as well.)
“I had a moment to myself,” she added. “I’m a very spiritual person. I had to go into a space of thanks. Give thanks to my higher being.”
She was able to attend the premiere event in New York City September 12 and not only got to meet all the cast but also luminaries such as Mariah Carey (who is supposed to guest star this season) and Naomi Campbell, who played Hakeem’s side piece season one and could return. She plans to watch the season premiere Wednesday at 9 p.m. just with her immediate family: her parents and her sister.
Miss Lawrence also decided not to show up this season at all for “Real Housewives.” Instead, she is focused now on acting and singing, as well as continuing to run her hair salon Pressed For Time in Midtown.