Fresno-born Golden Brooks initially balked at the idea of being part of a cable series called “Hollywood Divas.” Generally, the term diva is used to describe someone to avoid.
Despite the negative connotations of the term, Brooks signed on to be part of the reality series that will open its third season Wednesday, July 6,on TV One. The series looks at the lives of Brooks plus fellow actors Lisa Wu, Countess Vaughn, Paula Jai Parker and Malika Haqq.
“It surprises me. I never thought in a millions years my career would take me down this lane,” Brooks says. “When they came to me, I said, ‘absolutely not.’ It was not what I want to do.
“Then I began looking it through the lens of what it would be like to see Golden Brooks personally. Media is a different beast, and you have got to keep up with the times.”
Brooks saw the show as a way to help keep her name out there with fans and those in the industry. It’s also a way to spotlight “The Golden Collection,” her design line that includes pillows and candles.
That path to the reality show started in Fresno as Brooks split time between the central San Joaquin Valley and the coast after her parents divorced. After attending Fresno City College, she headed to Los Angeles, where – over the past 20 years – she’s landed roles in TV shows and films. Her longest run was on “Girlfriends,” which ran from 2000-2008.
“Hollywood Divas” has been a big success for Brooks. The series premier in October 2014 attracted 1.2 million viewers, the most for any show on the network. TV One’s mix of original programs, documentaries, movies and reruns is aimed at African-American adults. It can be seen on AT&T U-verse 157 and Comcast 483.
Brooks has spent a major part of her life in front of cameras, but it took some adjusting to having a camera crew follow her around.
“It is very weird,” Brooks says. “In acting, they saw ‘action’ and then ‘cut.’ (With this show), there is never any ‘action’ called and they don’t cut.
“It’s not the easiest … medium for me. That’s because you know what the beginning and end will be. It’s the middle part you don’t know what they are going to do. God forbid you roll your eyes because that will be put somewhere else.”
This season begins with Brooks juggling three new acting jobs while settling into her new home.
The crew captures the best and worst moments. For Brooks, the best part was the crew being there with her hearing she had landed the biggest job of her career. The down side was the cameras were rolling when Brooks had a wardrobe malfunction on a fashion show runway.
Most of the show focuses on conversations between the women that can be kind or catty.
“At times it’s like being part of high school locker room chatter,” Brooks says. “The most ridiculous things get said, and I just have to take it all with a grain of salt.
“We aren’t doing ‘Mad Men’ here. Sometimes you want a great meal and other times you want fast food. This is the In ‘n’ Out of TV.”
Along with the reality series, Brooks is keeping very busy with acting. Along with a recurring role on “Blunt Talk” with Patrick Stewart, Brooks has six projects that will be released in the near future. She’s also in line for another big project but can not talk about it at this time.
All this work comes after Brooks took some time off to have a baby. She didn’t want to turn over her child to a nanny for the first two years, so she put her acting on hold.
As for the reality show, Brooks wants it to reveal how hard it is for actors to find good roles while dealing with the good and bad that comes along the way.
“It’s not about the highs and lows, but how to deal with what happens,” Brooks says. “And now that I have a child, it is so wonderful to come home and see this little face. That’s reality.
“I have a great home life and a team of friends who keep me grounded.”
In other words, she’s nothing like a diva.
- 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, TV One