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Meagan Good Is Unapologetically Owning Who She Is in 2021 & Beyond

The actress is entering new professional and personal territory.

meagan good

On a recent Tuesday afternoon over Zoom, Meagan Good was excited to talk about her upcoming comedy series "Harlem" and how turning 40 has changed her outlook on life. With a chipper tone in her voice, she excitedly talked about her role as Camille in the series, which sees Good playing a different role and showing another side of her persona. " It's so crazy because my prayer two years ago was 'I just want to do more things in the action space' in terms of [the creative department]. I wanna do some Lucille Ball physical comedy." Harlem came along, answering Good's prayers." When I got Harlem and I read it, I instantly fell in love with it. When I found out that I got it, I actually cried because I was so excited, and it's such a different character for me. I'm very goofy and kind of quirky and all that good stuff, so it's the perfect character for me."

Born on August 8, 1981, in Panorama City, CA, Good began her acting career at 4 years old, starring in commercials, and went on to appear in a variety of TV shows such as Touched by an Angel (1994), Moesha (1996), The Steve Harvey Show (1996) and Raising Dad (2001) alongside Bob Saget. Of the roles she's taken on in her early acting career, she says "it was just to get an opportunity to get my foot in the door and show people that I can act and that I can do drama. In the beginning it was just about getting that dramatic role."

In her early 20's, Good wanted to show people that she "was a woman who was grown and was not a child." "Because of that, I went into this space of playing a lot of the girlfriend roles, a lot of the love interests, girl-next-door." However, this strategy would leave Good with a set of particular roles that she could play. "By the time I was in my late 20's I felt really pigeonholed in that space where I felt like people were like 'Okay, she's an attractive girl so we should hire her for this but she probably doesn't do anything else.' That's what it felt like to me."

This development led Good to adopt a new strategy. "By the time I was turning 30, I felt like it was time to really reinvent myself." To do this, she looked back at a conversation with actor Terrence Howard and leaned on the lessons she learned from it. "When I was about 17, I ran into Terrence Howard and I was working on the Nickelodeon show at the time when he was working on a show called Sparks. He asked 'How old are you?' I said 'I'm 17.' He said 'What are you doing?' I said 'Working on a show for Nickelodeon.' He said 'Look, when you're done with this, don't do TV for a while. You're young, you wanna travel the world, you wanna play all different types of characters, you wanna never know what you're doing next. So, just have fun and be present. When you're a little bit older and you're ready to settle down, have a husband, have kids, then go back to TV because then you can play some really amazing characters. But you also have more stability and you know where you're gonna be; you know what your day's gonna be like, and you know the character. I was like 'Interesting.'

meagan good

When Good turned 30, she thought it was time to reinvent herself. "The first thing I did was I cut all my hair off to try to get people to see me differently and then I decided I'm gonna try TV again." This particular year of Good's life was pivotal for her. "It was the year we really started having the conversation about diversity and every time I've been doing TV, I was always playing the sergeant, the boss, more of a guest star role—it wasn't the lead. I set my stipulations and said 'All right, I wanna do a show that's diverse. I want to be a leading character. I wanna be able to do action. I want to be strong but vulnerable.' I said this is what I want and I ended up getting Deception.

Representation is important to Good in the world outside of acting, as she believes it's "important for little girls and young people because so many of them are watching or seeing movies with no other information but what they're learning around them in school, from their teachers, their friends, their parents. They're seeing a lot of things for the first time in life and what we show them is gonna paint their world and it's gonna tell them the sky isn't a limit and that they're beautiful as they are. They don't have to change anything about themselves and they can be proud of who they are."

She recently spoke out about hair mistreatment at the Hair and Makeup Equity: Changing the Industry Standard in May, recalling how she was injured by an ill-prepared stylist. However, she thinks that the outlook on Black hair in Hollywood is changing, stating "I do see shifts happening in a big way. It's definitely leaps and bounds from where we were. When I started Shazam, the movie that I'm doing the sequel to right now, I sat down with the director and said 'Listen, I know this is the hairstyle that everyone wants me to have, but if you look in the comic book, this girl has curly hair, very curly hair and she's the only Black cast member and the only Black person in the family. I think it's really important that when little girls see her, that we don't Europeanize her. We don't straighten her hair.' I know it's a great edgy haircut, it's one I'd probably wear in real life. However, I think the way I need to represent this character in this movie is very important and it's important that she has curly hair. The director, David, thought this was great and was onboard saying 'Absolutely let's do that.' And that was before the conversation got really really big in 2018."

Audibly excited when the topic switches to fashion, Good launches into her favorite go-to look and what she's obsessed with right now. "Right now, Skims are kind of an addiction for me. Khloe {Kardashian} and I were very, very close growing up and it's really amazing to see all the beautiful things that are happening in her life, and Kim, and Kourtney. I remember Kylie as a little girl and Kendall, it's very cool to see blessings on blessings for them." Describing herself as a minimalist, Good is "really about how things fit my body and doing things that feel like I don't take too much effort." Simplistic looks make Good feel most beautiful so she "tracks down vintage t-shirts", hunting for them "all over the internet and all over the country", and dons SKIMS stretch pants. She'll "spend money on shoes and a good jacket, a purse", but mostly loves her clothing to be "vintage, understated and 'just fit my body well'." As for shoes, Good is currently obsessed with "Prada combat boots." Into redesigning clothing items, Good reinvented the combat boots she recently purchased by getting them "cut down a little bit shorter." Explaining that there's two versions of the Prada boots: "one is really high and one is really low", she "cut mine to mid length and kept the tongue high, and then i have another pair of combat boots that are Marc Jacobs and they used to go to my calves and I cut them down to ankle boots and added a platform to them. I love vintage shoes. If they're not exactly what I want, I'll just redo them with a great shoemaker."

meagan good

When it comes to makeup, Good likes to keep it simple. "I used to wear a lot of makeup when I was younger and I didn't realize that I didn't actually need it. I remember running into Thandie Newton at the Essence Women in Hollywood brunch and I looked at her skin. I'm like 'Gosh, her skin's so beautiful.' And someone was like 'Yeah, she doesn't let anyone put makeup on her.' So, when I started my next project, I said 'Look, I'm not wearing any foundation at all. I'll wear tinted moisturizer or tinted face oil, but no foundation. Just do concealer and you can do bronzer, highlighter, but nothing on my face. That was about five years ago. Since then I don't wear face makeup at all." Because of this, her go to look is "to highlight my nose and my cheeks, make sure my brows are on point, and then if I feel like wearing a lip, I will. For the most part I keep it simple. If I wanna pop it up, I'll wear a cream or a color eyeshadow. I like that dewy, melty, shimmery look. It feels like you didn't try too hard but you definitely see it and it definitely pops." Although she's always had good skin from her parents, she did not take care of it in her 20's. "I didn't always wash my face. I've stayed up late. I smoked in my 20's. It wasn't until I got to 30 that I was like 'Okay, it's time to really be serious about taking care of my skin and being preventive in how I treat it.'"

Good looks after her mental health just as strongly as she does her physical health with prayer, exercise, listening to podcasts, and taking time for herself. "The first thing I do when I get up is not touch my phone— pray, sit there for a moment, take deep breaths, make sure I'm getting oxygen to my brain. Then I read my Bible and then I say affirmations over myself. I get up and I start my day. When I get in my car on the way to work, I'll listen to something uplifting, whether it's gospel or something uplifting in general. I want the first thing that hits my spirit to be something encouraging, reminds me of who God says I am, that sets my day in intention so that if things don't go my way and are frustrating or overwhelming, I'm better equipped to handle them in the right state of mind. When I do have time, I get on the treadmill, listen to podcasts and relationship books— she informs me that she just started The Transformation of the Inner Man—watch music videos that encourage me, and stay in shape."

A new method of self-care for Good has been therapy, which she started back in April, and also took a sabbatical from drinking in that same month. "I was like 'As I'm moving into 40, I wanna make sure my heart and my spirit are healed from some of the things that I experienced when I was younger, some of the things that I experienced where I grew up, some of the things I experienced from growing up in the industry, any type of trauma, anything that I need to deal with rather knowingly or unknowingly. I really wanna be intentional as I move into this next season and say 'Hi, Meagan. Let's take care of you. Let's make sure you're healed. Let's make sure you're prepared for what's next. Let's make sure you're as usable as possible for God the way that he wants to use you and able to really have a handle on my purpose, my focus, and how I should be spending my time. "

Good isn't just about her own career: she's also about uplifting the next generation Black filmmakers, leading her to participate in a screenwriting fellowship by Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud and the Sundance Institute called "Women Write Now," where young Black female writers can submit their short film and are provided opportunities to develop their projects, get mentorship, produce their films, and have a platform to exhibit them. On this, she says "I'm really excited about the next generation, in general. Growing up in the industry, I did deal with a lot of people telling me straight up "We'd love you to be the lead in this project, but because you're Black it's probably not going to sell overseas' so we'll give you the best friend role or something like that. Because of my mindset, I never really got angry. There'd be moments where I'd be like 'That's not fair.' I want to make it easier for the little girl behind me.That's always been my mindset and this is an extension of that. It's a big responsibility and we have to be able to see all different kinds of voices and put magical things out there that are important to a lot of people."

Photos: DeWayne Rodgers; Makeup: Jorge Monroy; Stylist: Jeremy Haynes

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