This interview with Brely Evans, just blew my mind. This woman is a ball of fire! A source of energy! She is truly a genuine person and very steadfast in her love and mission for the Lord. It was a pleasure and an honor to sit with her and pick her brain for advice and insight. The sauce within this interview, was simply way too much to release at once, so we’ve decided to ease it out to you. In part 2, which will be available on June 12, 2018, we will get into some of Brely’s favorite collaborations, as well as some really personal and important messages she has for women of color, and more.
We will also get into the venue at which the interview took place. This woman is magical, and further confirmation that this interview blog is needed within womanhood. We need you to see and understand that these successful women are real and have their own stories surrounding moments in their lives, prior to what you see currently. We are so happy to connect you with them, and ask the questions that produce answers that can really bless the lives of so many.
How did you know you wanted to go into the entertainment industry?
Well, my first inclination was when I was probably about 3 years old, going to church, sitting in the congregation with my grandmother, and seeing people singing in the choir. I was like, “I want to go up there!” and she was like, “You’re too young!”. I would cry and cause a ruckus in my pew because I wanted to go up there with that music and those people singing. She used to tell me I couldn’t go up there until I was 4. I would cut up so bad, they would tell my grandmother, “Just let her go.” So I would go up and stand in the choir; and when the people would clap for us, it truly introduced me to a whole new world.
Brely begins singing: “A Whole New World!”
I just knew what I wanted to do at that point. I was able to get into the youth choir early, and when I did my first solo and people started clapping, I just got my whole life, right there! (laughter) That’s pretty much how I knew it would be entertainment. Of course, back then, I didn’t know that it was called entertainment.
Fast forward to about when I was 6 or 7 years old, when my parents were asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and I was like, “A SINGER!” – and they were like, “What’s your REAL job going to be?”, and I was like, “AN ENTERTAINER!” – (you know, I tried the more letters means more money thing) and they were like, “No! Where are you going to get your check from every week?”, and I was like, “Ummm police officer maybe?” (laughter) I just didn’t know.
I think it was always just in me. I wasn’t that little girl that wanted to play house. I wanted to play talent show. If I came to your house for a slumber party, (and those whose slumber parties I came to can attest to this), I was like, “Let’s do a talent show! I’m gonna’ sing, what are you gonna’ do? Let’s get your talents together!” I was also always playing business. “Won’t you come into my store, buy something, and then bring it to the register while I ring you up and write you a receipt!” Those were the games I played.
I urge every parent that’s reading this to watch your children. Watch what they just naturally lean towards. Is your little boy somewhere always beating a drum? Is your little girl always playing in make-up? Whatever they’re always doing, is probably a sign of what God has already put in them to do. I do believe it’s circumstance, situations, life, and just what other parents say we should do, that cause us to get derailed from what God has already put in us as a child.
Were there any challenges that you thought would stop you from making it?
Yes! I have always been brown and round, and I thought that being this size was going to be a challenge to being cast for different roles in movies and TV shows. It was always whispered in my ear, “You should lose a little weight; you’re so beautiful but you should try and lose some weight.” There were times that I really tried!
I even was a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, which I loved; it was an amazing experience. I lost 40lbs with them, and still was round; but that waist-line came on in. (laughter)
But that’s what caused me to think that I would have trouble in this business. Then I looked up, 16 films later, and said, “I’m working more than my thinner counterparts!” I had other friends who were actresses and they got the bodies to with it; they’re beautiful, they’re amazing actresses, and I said to myself, “How am I working more than they are working? What’s going on here?” – And so, that lead me to believe that once you find your most authentic self, whatever that may look like, whoever you are, it’s going to cause you to shine among the rest. It doesn’t matter what you look like, because guess what, every story needs to be told. There are some PLUS SIZE stories that need to be told.
I’m sorry, we’re going to take this thing LIVE because this information and what we are talking about, is so necessary for the masses.
I just think it’s so crucial that people realize in life, that the reason why your daddy’s sperm hit your mama’s egg, is huge! A lot of folks didn’t make it. Do you know how many sperm come out at a time? Come on now! But only YOURS hit! Yours made it, and then you made it through the birth canal! As people, we’ve been through some stuff already! There’s a special reason for each one of our existence, and if we can just tap into that, the doors and the gates of everything will be open to us.
A lot of people don’t realize that. There’s so many people saying they hate their lives and they hate themselves, you know? It really troubles my soul that there are so many teens committing suicide, and all those kinds of things are happening because people don’t realize, you’re here for a purpose! You have something divinely set in you that only you can do! That’s why God gave us all different fingerprints, because he wanted to make sure we knew, that no one can do it like you. No one!
Tell us about your Brelonce dance!
(laughter) See what had happened was…. There was Brelonce before there was ever a Beyonce! I like to say she stole my moves in all her songs! (laughter) – I love me some Beyonce!
When the song, Single Ladies came out, I was very much single, and she just had my heart with it. I was just like, “You know what… I think they need a curvy-girl version, so, go to my Youtube channel right now, Brely Evans, and you’ll see I did my very own version: “Oh oh oh, Oh oh oh!” Yes!
Brelonce is in the building! Brelonce is just about freedom! You know, to put on a cat-suit with all this bawwwdy, was so freeing and I just celebrate my curves. I celebrate every woman who looks like me, and who I represent. Brelonce is just reminding that, yes we have our fit Beyonces, but we have the Brelonces too! – And I think maybe Beyonce saw it and gave me a lil’ nod… just saying it was alright!
It’s fun to make fun with things, but it’s serious too! Like, all the single ladies need to know that if they like it, they need to put a ring on it! Come on now! What are we dating for? Curvy or not, if you like it, do that to it! (as she pointed to her wedding ring)
But let me tell you what that video did!
That video, along with every other video and skit on my page that year, caused me to get a phone call from Flavor Unit Films, Queen Latifah’s management company, and that’s how I got in the movie, Just Wright. – No audition, no reading of lines, no nothing! They just said, we have a part for you in this movie Just Wright, and I was like, “Um… me?” – I asked where they were shooting and they said New York. I said, “I can’t fly to New York… I don’t have enough money, Sir.” They laughed! They told me I was taken care of, that I was actually getting paid, and that they would fly me out and cover the hotel and everything! I was like, “What!!!” – And that was my very first movie.
When you step out on what you believe is so about yourself, the world takes note of it. Everyone says, “the universe, the universe”, yeah well, God made the universe, so okay universe, whatever. The thing about that for me is, I put the world on notice that I was here, so let me do what I do! – And a lot of times, a lot of my friends are so uber-talented, I’m like, the only difference is the world doesn’t know that you’re here! That’s why I think social media is to be used very carefully, because it’s a very powerful tool. If it can get me from being with my friends with cameras, fooling around to Single Ladies, to being in a major film production, with A-list actors, talking to Queen Latifah; then that’s a powerful tool.
What inspired you to become a curvy model?
Well, I was very surprised when one day I got an email from a modeling agency called Clique Modeling Agency. They said, “We want you to be on our board for curvy modeling.” I said, “Oh no honey, I’m 5’2”. She said, “Yea and we want you to be on our board for curvy modeling.” I said, “So you can be a real model, and be 5’2” and one-hundred and (cough-cough) pounds?” (laughter) – And she said Yes!
I couldn’t believe it and I just kept saying, Lord, this is real! I got so scared of it though, that I want yall to know, I didn’t even sign the contract. It scared me because I thought that it couldn’t really be happening.
About a year went by and I got another email. At this time, I had just gotten married, I had time to take my mind off not signing that last contract, and I received an email from Fashion Nova. They said they loved my look, and they wanted to work with me. They asked if they could send me some clothes and do some different things, etc… and I said, Sure! I started working with them, and now this thing has blown up! I then was called by a designer, to walk in LA’s first, curvy girl fashion week! – And still, I am saying, is this really happening to me?!
When I tell you; nothing can stop us from anything. I’m doing runway and print modeling, and now, I’m doing Instagram modeling. Like really, who would have ever thought that this was a possibility for someone 5’2” and one-hundred and (cough cough) pounds? (laughter)
The world inspired this. Modeling was never on my radar, ever. I was just never sure if I was too curvy; but no, because they’re coming for me! The word says that he will give us more than we can imagine. This thing right here, this lil’ modeling thing, is so much more than what I could’ve imagined. – And really acting is too. When I grew up, I wanted to be a singer; I moved to LA to be a singer. It was my neighbor who told me, “you’re an actress!” He introduced me to a commercial agent, and when he did that, she told me that I was wasting her time, and my money. She told me I could’ve been on TV. After 10 auditions, it was my first time on television, on the Twix commercial. “Pookie-pie, do I look fat in these?” (smiles and laughter)
That was my very first time. No acting classes, not even a headshot. The world will tell you that you need headshots, measurements, etc… and YES you do need those things, but what God has for you, can’t NO man stop. So, when she met me, she said she would start sending me out immediately. By sending me out, I had no idea what she meant. She told me to start counting the No’s. That advice changed my life. She said, “It’s a game we play in the office. Every actor goes on auditions, and we just start counting how many No’s we get, until we get a Yes. My 10th audition was that Twix commercial, which went international. – When I made that first check I said, “Oh, Yea I’m an actor.” – And I took it seriously! I went and studied with Chip Fields, Tasha Smith; I loved my coach Tasha. Tasha scared me into acting, I like to tell people. (laughter) Tasha was tough but she told me she was tough on me because she knew I was good. I’ve had some amazing, amazing trainers. Even some of my friends who are actors now that you see on TV, who have taken their time with me to help and shape me into the actress that I am. I appreciate every single one of them; right now I’m thinking of Keisha Thompson. She’s an actress as well, but she also had a little piece of her time where she was teaching and coaching; and I sucked it up. I’m even thinking of my friend Amin Joseph. He is blowing up everywhere right now; and he took time with me. It’s just those little deposits that people over the years have blessed me with.
Even being on set with people; I remember being on set with Whitney Houston. She said, “Brely!” After a shocked delay, I was like, “Huh?” I couldn’t believe Whitney Houston was saying my name! She said, “Come here, you’re going to have lunch with me today.”
As Brely remembered and reminisced on this precious moment, she began to demonstrate how Whitney began singing runs with her, then prompted her to follow-up with her own! She was just blown away by the fact that she was sitting there harmonizing and singing runs with Whitney Houston.
There are some times in life that I’m just like, Lord!!! Pinch me somebody! – But those deposits are valuable. I’m sure it was nothing to her, but I was literally sitting there from across the room like, oh my gosh, she’s putting her hand in her purse. Wait, she has a purse. Oh my gosh, she’s so regular; do you know what I’m saying?
Little did she know, what she was saying, was exactly the way I was feeling when I walked into Regina Love’s Hair Boutique, and she walked in to prep for this interview! I am always honored to have the privilege to sit down with these busy women, celebrities, and women of power, who we look up to in such a way, that sometimes makes them seem unreal, or just magical. You just never know how much a person looks up to you, or how much they love what you do and how you do it.
I believe that God has allowed me to do movie after movie, TV show after TV show; and now I’m getting into the streaming world (I’m doing some producing), because he knows that I am going to tell people that it was ALL because of him!
I really have just opened myself up to the possibilities of Yes. I don’t even know what my next film is, sitting right in front of you now; but I have not a care, not a concern, for that mortgage or that car note. It’s a peace that I just have! He’s been doing it; he’s not going to stop!
Considering your role in Man in Apt. 3B: Was that a role you got into personally, considering you have experience being a curvy girl and now curvy model?
When I read the book by Carl Weber, I was just amazed. Someone had wrote a book and has transformed it into a stage production. I couldn’t believe that the curvy girl was the lead! That was my very first time being a leading lady.
I just have to say, I love ND Brown; I loved everybody over at Tri Destined Studios. They truly treated me like a leading lady. They told me that the energy I brought to the set everyday was leading lady, because I was setting the tone for everybody.
When I read the book, I really got into my character, and so many people told me when I played her, they saw Connie. Carl Weber is a New York Times Best Selling Author, and he has a lot of fans. They were very concerned about who was going to play Connie. They were saying, “Yall aint puttin’ no butt pads in no pants of no skinny actress, and call her Connie! We want a real Connie!” (laughter) So, he put on his social media: What about Brely Evans for Connie? He hadn’t even met me yet. – Do you know his fans cast me? He just put the question out, and his fans said, OMG YES!
To All of Carl Weber’s Fans: Thank you all! Omg yall, we did it!
If it wasn’t for them saying yes, I might not have gotten the part. The people spoke, and they pushed me into a new arena, called Leading Lady.
What was it like working alongside Whitney Houston?
Girl, what was it like!? I was excited about having my new Auntie. She was Auntie Whitney! She was like, “Come here, niece!” It was just so amazing. One day I was doing the dougie, like just dancing around, us and Jordan and Tika; we had such a blast, just working together. Everybody was so loving; even the clothes! Ms. Ruth Carter, she dressed us, and everything was just done well.
I am extremely grateful for the production company, which was Akil Productions, whom I absolutely love. They are the ones who had me on Being Mary Jane. She wrote that show and then she turned around and cast me in Sparkle. They have a new show out now, called Love Is. I can’t wait to see it. I’m not even in it, but I still promote it because I just love them.
It’s not about me all the time, you know. I gotta’ take my light and shine it on somebody else for a minute. They also produce the show Black Lightening. I just love them, and they gave me a step up in my career, because they saw something in me. I was doing real estate before I was an actress, and they were my real estate clients! Never once did I allude to the fact that I was an actress. When they figured out that I was an actress, they asked me why I never said anything, and I told them because that wasn’t was I was there for.
They were like, “Who are you? We love you for life!” – Because people are so used to people pulling on them for that networking thing. (I can’t stand networking) One of my best friends last night, Amesha Mason, (if you need a realtor in Atlanta, go check her out!) told me I need to let that networking thing go! I told her, NO! I have a T-Shirt, and this is patented; “I don’t network, I let God work!” He puts me in rooms, and the rest, he works it out.
If I would’ve introduced myself to them as an actress, that would’ve been premature. But when you let that thing marinate, you give them a chance to fall in love with who you are, and then see the skill level, and that’s why they now can call me to be in shows like Being Mary Jane, working alongside Gabrielle Union; they can just say, “Go for it! Come on and get in this film with Whitney Houston!”
If you know Brely, you’ll have an idea why we had to break this thing up into two parts. So much life, and so much energy! – If you know me, then you know it was going around full circle. If you don’t know us, then just read!
What are some of your favorite collaborations?
Hmm…? I’ve had so many!
So, I still sing, and I’m looking forward to a new music project. I’m looking forward to some exciting new music with my manger back there! (He was present at the interview, capturing some of this great material)
The last film I did, You Can’t Buy Christmas, which was on TV One; I actually placed 2 songs on that. The end title song, Finally, that’s me singing; and I was so excited to work with my God Sister, and her writing team, The Track Heads, to produce that song. – So, Im looking forward to some amazing musical collaborations.
On the other hand, now that I’m producing, I am really looking forward to some really funny show ideas for you guys – a game show; and things you wouldn’t attribute to a lil’ black girl from Oakland! (laughter)
I have a lot of stuff coming down the pipe. Last month I was able to meet Oprah, which just changed my life in the moment. I told her that I would be playing her in her biopic, and she looked at me and said, “Believe it!” – And when she said that, I was like, “Come on, yes!!!” (laughter)
So, I’m looking forward to that! I am looking forward to when the time is right; and I know that time will come, that I will be able to portray the one that is giving all us little black girls a floor. (People like to say she’s given us a ceiling, but I like to say she’s given us a floor because if we stand on her shoulders, we can go even higher than she’s gone. – So, I’m really blessed to have had her in my world and in my presence.
If you could work with anyone in the industry that you haven’t worked with yet, who would it be?
I’m so glad you asked! I love her films! She really transforms from film to film to film to film, with dialect, with approach, with…. I just love her artistry! (Clearly in awe, she just summed it all up) I just know we’re going to do something together.
Do you know who else I love! I love Melissa McCarthy. Her copy, is so freakin’ hilarious! I have a film that I’ve written, where she and I play sisters! So, it’s hilarious! – But I love her work!
There’s so many people that I would never turn down, but if I just had to check off a top 3, you know I gotta’ get a Denzel moment in there, gotta’ get an Idris Elba moment in there; sorry husband, I’m just saying. (laughter) There’s so many people I’d like to work with though, but just to name a few, those are some of the ones.
What is marriage like being a person who is in the entertainment industry, in the lime light, traveling a lot, etc..?
Mmmm…..! “I’m sure marriage for anyone…” (as she interrupts herself, she almost gave us a piece! — And you’ll see why I say that, because I ended up getting some exclusive insight! Eeeee!)
I remember people saying that marriage is hard, but no one defined what the hard was; and I have a book coming out, that’s going to define what that hard means! So, I can’t give up all the tidbits now, but, I have defined what that hard means.
Yes, marriage is hard, yes, it is wonderful, yes, it is challenging, and I will give you this. I’ll give you this one little bit: It is the greatest, reflective mirror of yourself, that you will ever need. You will never see a clearer picture of who you are, than when you marry someone. – And stay tuned for the book!
How blessed am I? I felt a tingly feeling that journalists and efficient folks alike, can resonate with. She confirmed that no one else has gotten that “tidbit”!
What advice would you like to give to women, looking to go into the entertainment industry?
Umm, I never read the book, but it comes to mind; The Power of Now.
I don’t know what you’re waiting for, I don’t know what’s holding you back, I don’t know who’s holding you back; don’t let money hold you back, opportunity is now. Get your training, learn you craft, know your authentic self, put yourself on social media now (as opposed to later). If Issa Rae did not use the tools that she had; I love it when she says, go lateral. Get with your friends. Who do you know that does hair, does make-up, loves to do camera work. Who do you know?
We have got to go lateral, to all come up the ladder. The time is now! We are not promised tomorrow. I’m going to be on a radio show, with my girlfriend Christina Johnson, called Love and Light Lessons. My company is called Water Walkers Worldwide, Inc. I encourage people to quit their jobs.
My mother was like, “You can’t have no business encouraging people to quit their jobs!” – But see, the people who hear that water-walking call, they know who they are. So, when you hear me talking about, You should quit your job, you know, oh yea, she’s talking to me. We are here for a purpose and until we get in those places of purpose, you’re life will not be fulfilled. You will be the angry people driving, shooting on the road, and causing all this ruckus that’s happening in the world, because people have not realized who they are, and they’re doing all kinds of stuff for money! – If we get out of doing things for money, and do things because we love it, the money will come.
That’s where I’m living right now, and that’s what I’m here to exude to everybody.
We had a show last week, and I was on her show. The phones were ringing off the hook so bad; of people wanting to tell their testimonies, or people saying I need to hear this. We went about 20 minutes over the show, and then she invited me back this week. I’m going back on her show tomorrow, to discuss water walking. Getting out of the boat of fear, procrastination, debt; there’s so many reasons why.
I don’t have any children, so I am cautious. There are people who have children, and feel like they can’t quit their job. God says do everything decent and in order, so I do believe putting in that two week notice, but we got to have a strategy. You have to be strategic. You better have some prayer warriors around you, and sometimes you can’t tell everybody what you’re about to do. They might try to talk you out of it!
I’d like to refer back to the bible on that: I don’t remember Peter, before he got off of the boat, looking at the disciples saying, “Should I go? I think that’s Jesus, and he said come, but I don’t think I should…” He didn’t do that. He got on out. – And he started to walk on water. He started to do the impossible, which actually means, I’m possible. It’s possible to do the impossible. So, it started storming; that’s his debt, that’s his fear, the naysayers, and then he began to drown right? But what did Jesus do? Came out and rescued him! – In the midst of all of that!
So the moral of the story for us to focus in on, is that even if you step out the boat, you still won’t drown. What does it matter if you quit the job? God aint’ gone let you drown! I’m daring people to have crazy faith. Right now, that hashtag, #crazyfaith, my girlfriend Ursula started that. I want to take her around the world on a tour I’m going to start.
Can I just tell you, Thank you for having this platform, first of all, because it’s women like you who are causing these conversations for us to be powerful women. You know, you see all the women in here making it happen in here! I’m just so excited! – I mean, I give our kings the salute and everything, but it’s fifteen women up in here doing their thang! Come on now!
Right now it’s the power of woman. Now, we can only be as powerful as our kings are, let me be clear on that, let me be clear that they set the stage for us to walk on. Let’s not go too far with that, like “We all woman, we all woman!” No, we need our men, let’s be clear.
I began to touch and agree with her, and I began to explain my appreciation for my own man, for his support in my own water-walking experience and she asked me if I gave two week’s notice, or if I just walked out. I told her that I did map things out ahead of time with the hubby, but that I did in fact, walk right out.
Let me tell you something. That touches my heart in such a way. I’m so glad I said yes to you. This is another piece of validation, that you’re moving in your God self, and in your most authentic self! It gets me choked up.
All of our journeys, are tied to someone else’s destiny. We are not here alone, and we are not here to be on our own.
Don’t you know if I did not see Regina Love on The Voice, singing and people saying, “you sing like her!” No, no, no now, don’t get it twisted! Don’t get me wrong, because I don’t sing like her; now, we may look alike, (laughter), but if it wasn’t for people continuing to bring her up to me, and then we met and were like, Oh my gosh, you really ARE my sister, and oh my gosh, we do look alike, and oh my gosh, can I siiiiing like you?! (laughter) If it wasn’t for all those thing meshing together, and if it wasn’t for us loving on each other, we wouldn’t even be here today!
That’s why it was important for me when you asked where I’d like to meet to talk; I said, Oh! My sister just opened a new hair boutique in Duluth, we must go there! – It’s about each woman saying, What can I do for YOU? Saying yes to you, now says yes to her, and now, you’re already talking about interviewing her! Do you understand how this thing just keeps going? We’re all interconnected. If we don’t connect each other, then we die, and that’s just the end of it. Look how much higher we can all go!
Like right now, I’m in my second Regina Love Hair Boutique look; I’m just saying. We in here with this hair! My thing is, we’re able to promote without even saying anything! – Cause yall was already saying my hair was cute before I even said where I got it from. Now you can come on and get yours too.
That’s what it’s all about. I hope when someone else is doing their interview, you can pass things on. Brely Evans said this to me. Dropping your name in places, you just never know how God’s going to use whatever you put out there. If you never put anything out there, you can’t get anything back.
Regina Love Hair Boutique
Close your eyes and step into the black woman excellence, ambiance of hair and beauty! This place is beautiful, and it gives you VIP vibes for sure! Brely Evans and Regina Love go back a long time and their sisterhood is so beautiful!
We had such a ball shooting this interview at such a beautiful place. Brely slayed in some beautiful looks that were created live, as we had our talk! – Two flawless makeup looks and two luxury hair units! Hello, somebody!
It was such a pleasure working with THEE Regina Love and her talented team of beauticians. Don’t be bummed about the lack of info on this, because we ARE going to sit down with Regina Love, and get all the scoop on her music and beauty career, as well as talk about her newest business-baby, Regina Love Hair Boutique in Duluth, GA!
Images by: Joy Evonne Photography