By Mandi Pimental
Currently starring in the critically acclaimed new Tyler Perry series, The Have and The Have Nots, actress Allison McAtee shines brighter than ever in her role as Maggie Day. As a professionally trained theatre actress, McAtee is a natural on the OWN Network’s stage play television series. We spoke to this blonde beauty about fashion, her charitable nature and of course, her time spent as a superhero.
You are currently starring in the Tyler Perry series, The Have and The Have Nots, can you tell us a little bit about your character Maggie Day?
Maggie is tough. She's a no nonsense, take charge kind of woman- blunt and direct. Driven by her own motives and personal goals; she'll stop at nothing to get Jim Cryer (played by John Schneider) and David Harrington (played by Peter Parros) elected to the Governor’s office.
Having studied theater, this project sounds like a perfect fit for you. Was there anything that drew you to this project in particular?
In every show, (whether it stage or screen) the cast and crew develop a familial sense with each other. I think it is the product of putting all creative efforts together, and working toward a common goal. This show is nice because most of the cast is based in LA but we shoot in Atlanta, so when away filming we don't have many outside distractions and the sense of "comradery" is even more apparent. It is also the most intense shooting schedule (shooting one episode per day vs. one per week in all other network and cable prime-time shows.) The whole structure makes for a "boot-camp" of sorts. I love it!
When looking over scripts, what do you look for when choosing a new role?
A story that speaks to me in some way. Either the story itself or a character that I identify with
Are there any other projects in the works that you can let the Runway readers know about?
I've been developing a series with some friends. It is still in the beginning stages, but the working title is Erin’s House. It has the feel of a classic noir.
We love your sense of fashion. From on-screen to the red carpet, you always look flawless. Do you have a favorite designer or designers you gravitate to when choosing looks for your events?
Thanks! I love Helmut Lange and as for dresses, Herve Leger is a staple. My favorite new designer is Oscar Garcia-Lopez. I adore his work!
It has been said you are skilled in boxing, fencing, and dance and are a fan of pilates. What is your typical workout when getting fit for summer?
Yes, I do Pilates weekly and LOVE hot yoga! To kick it up a notch I run. Summertime (or even spring in LA) means great beach weather, and I love nothing more than running along the shore in the sand. If you wear a bathing suit underneath when you get too hot and sweaty, you can just jump in.
What are three summertime beauty must-haves in your makeup bag or cabinet?
I love Smashbox Camera Ready CC cream; as it has a high SPF and works to heal skin, (Sara McNamara’s Miracle Skin Transformer is great too.) Add a little Benetint from Benefit to your cheeks and lips, and some Maybelline Falsies Volume Express waterproof mascara, and you are good to go.
When you appeared on NCIS, you got to have a little fun with wardrobe and dress up as a superhero. If you could have one superpower, what it would be? And would you use your powers for good or evil?
That was the best! The first show I did Off-Broadway I also played a superhero. I'd love a film role as such someday. I think I'd want the power to preemptively sense danger or disaster and be able to freeze time (but so that I could still move to stop it). And, of course to fly.
In the past you teamed up with The Polaris Project, a non-profit organization that is working toward combating human trafficking, serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims. Are you currently working with any other charities or is there a specific cause that you are passionate about?
It is crazy that 'women's rights' are still such a big issue in our society. I'm most passionate about bridging the gap in gender equality. The Somaly Mam Foundation is another incredible anti-human trafficking organization. They rescue young girls who are victims of the sex trade industry, and with a focus on education and empowerment, give them refuge and a chance to start anew.
Do you have any words of inspiration or advice for those trying to break into acting or those considering majoring in theater?
Do some research and find out who the top University level acting schools in the country are. They'll have good artistry program and a reputation that can help you open doors when starting out. But do keep in mind; the most important thing is to develop a strong, solid craft, wherever you study. Determination and perseverance are key. Aim high. I think in any field when you combine skill with focus and drive you can often achieve more than you could have initially imagined. One of my favorite quotes as a kid was, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." by Brian Thomas Littrell and Les Brown.
For more on Allison McAtee, visit http://www.allisonmcatee.com/
For more on The Somaly Mam Foundation, visit http://www.somaly.org