Raney Branch may be a face you recognize from some of your favorite shows like The Originals and Bones, but now she is well known for her role on BET’s hit show Being Mary Jane. Another season has wrapped up, but we talked to her about her experience on the show, working with the incredible cast, and what she has planned next. Check out all the goodies she told us!
KRISTIN: How did you get into acting? What drew you to it?
RANEY: I’d been acting since I was a teeny tiny thing – singing, acting and attempting to dance. But what really made me think “gosh, I want to do that” was watching the Anthony Hopkins/Brad Pitt movie “Legends of the Fall” when I was a teen at home on cable. I was like 14 or 15 – full of rage, hormones and this need to express. It just hit me. I’m holding a pan of lasagna and watching this amazing scene between two powerhouse actors and thought “I need to do this.” I wanted to feel that way, I needed to make others feel that way. I don’t really know how to describe it, but when you know, you know.
KRISTIN: You play Aaliyah Luckett in BET’s Being Mary Jane. What was it like joining this show a few seasons in?
RANEY: It was a little intimidating at first. I was working with some amazing actors that I’d grown up watching – I’m a huge fan of Gabrielle Union and Michael Ealy. Don’t even get me started on how many times I’ve watched every episode of Richard Brooks on Law & Order! So intimidating but so amazing. So powerful to get to work with people you look up to. As an artist, we’re always looking for opportunities to grow and learn. I definitely got to see some great work.
KRISTIN: For those who have not watched Being Mary Jane, what is it about?
RANEY: The show is about this powerful woman named Mary Jane who seems to have it all – she’s got a great career as a nationally recognized news anchor and this sexy luxurious lifestyle. But she has a horrid time dating men. The first three seasons explored her various career and romance conquests and fails. This season we are really getting to see the backstory on why she is the way she is. I think a lot of people can relate. My character Aaliyah comes in this season as a fixer of sorts to help get Mary Jane’s public image back on track.
KRISTIN: The cast is a fantastic one on this show. How is it on set with everyone?
RANEY: It’s a great set to be a part of. Everyone’s really nice. Lisa Vidal (Kara), who is also a very gifted singer, leads us all in songs and we definitely end up dancing a lot of salsa when she is on set!
KRISTIN: Aside from Being Mary Jane, what else do you have coming up that you are working on?
RANEY: I’m currently writing a comedy web series with my writing partners. I can’t say much about the concept at the moment, but it’s our satirical take on a really popular sub-genre of tv. I’m also prepping for an indie film I’ll be shooting this winter.
KRISTIN: Do you have a social media presence that fans can follow to keep up with you?
RANEY: Yes! I’m actually really addicted to Instagram – particularly those cooking videos that make you think it only takes 59 seconds to make a gourmet meal. Check me out on Instagram and Twitter at @raneybranch or on Facebook at @OfficialRaneyBranch.
Make sure to check out this entire season that just wrapped up by checking out BET. Also make sure to follow Raney Branch on all of her above listed social media sites and stay tuned for more from her soon!