You know and love her from BET’s Bigger and the hit show, Greenleaf – but are you ready to see actress, Jennifer Sears in a new light? In her new role on AMC Network’s ALLBK – Sears portrays a character named Trish in the Covenant, who in many ways reminds her of herself. Originally, Sears auditioned for another role, yet God sent a simple reminder when she was cast as Trish as a reminder that sometimes He won’t give us all we want, instead He’ll gift us with what we need. In my exclusive interview with her, Sears opened up to us about the process of landing her role as Trish, upcoming projects, and more!
Tell us about your role in Covenant ‘The Retribution.’
My role, Trish is the wife of Aiden Whitfield (portrayed by Jay Hunter). He is the younger brother to Amir (portrayed by Anthony Dalton) and prized-choice son of Conroy Whitfield). Trish is Aiden’s rock. Anyone who saw the first episode of part three The Retribution of Covenant sees that oftentimes; Trish is in Aiden’s ear. She gives him encouraging words, advice, and support. He doesn’t want to step on the toes of his older brother, Amir, who feels like he should be next in line to run things. If anyone saw the first episode, they know that Amir is not cut out to be in a leadership role (laughs). He is a hot mess! Aiden loves his big brother, and he doesn’t want to tarnish his reputation as a loving younger brother or put a damper on their relationship. Trish is looking out for her man. She wants to make sure that all the hard work that he’s putting into the family business is not being done in vain or go to waste by Amir squandering the family wealth and resources. With all that said, I think that Trish is carrying a lot of the load within her marriage and family. Conroy isn’t perfect, he has his own issues. The Retribution brings the issue of family issues to the forefront and forcing people to examine themselves. What are we doing that perpetuating toxicness to our families from generation to generation? There is a lot of family trauma and secrets being exposed. I love that the show brings physical stories to modern times. It helps people see themselves in these situations. The first episode, we saw seeds being planted. Some good, some bad. I’m going to put all the blame on Amir (laughs). It’s not Aiden’s fault. The second episode of The Retribution, people start to see who plays a hand in some of the seeds. Is it the father or do the children at some point have to take ownership for their own mess? How does retribution come to play? Are there any redeeming qualities for the Whitfield family? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
We know you originally auditioned for another character; would you mind sharing with us how you were able to connect with Trish in order to bring her character to life on screen?
I did, I auditioned for a totally different character (laughs). I was a little bummed that I didn’t get it, but there’s a reason why I didn’t. They said I looked too young to play the character (laughs). I like to say that God doesn’t always give us what we want. Sometimes he does, but he always gives us what we need. I wanted the role that I auditioned for, but God knew I needed Trish. Trish is the fixer of her family. I see myself as that for my own family. She tends to try to ensure everyone else in her family is good. You’ll see that in the episodes. Trish is dealing with her own trauma. She puts her own needs on the backburner for other people’s needs. I see myself in caretaker mode a lot. I am the youngest of four, I’m not married but I’ve been in that role of taking care of other people’s needs, and not tending to my own. I think that Trish has traumatic experiences in the second episode that a lot of women and some men have experienced but doesn’t deal with the pain. She feels like she can’t face it. In order for us to heal, we have to feel. We can’t be afraid to feel the pain and loss. We bury our feelings a lot and call it healing. That’s what I did with my own personal trauma. When I was presented the role of Trish, I didn’t know all of the details of what happens to Trish in this series. As I said yes and committed to the role, Trish started to become alive in me. I began to deal with not only her issues, but mine as well. If I’m being transparent, it was frightening. I didn’t want to do certain scenes. I remember being in my dressing room, praying, and I said, ‘This is scary.’ I wasn’t sure if I was ready to face this. In my prayer, God responded saying, ‘I know this hurts, I know this is scary, but if you trust me with your pain, I’ll heal not only you, but other people with their healing as well.’ I hope that this show helps people be brave enough to see themselves and know that they’re not only a survivor, but also an overcomer. Trish was a beautiful shift in transfer of my pain being emoted through her character.
Tell us about your role in the film F-Boy Free.
F Boy Free is a romantic comedy. It’s hilarious! I cannot begin to tell you how funny this film is. It was written by George Lott – a creative genius. The way that he was able to get into the hearts and minds of these three women – Jada, Bria, and Robbie. Each of them suffered heartbreak and loss in relationships. They decided to heal was to get revenge on every F-Boy that crossed their path. F-Boys are typically the bad boys, who are self-absorbed and use you then toss you to the side. My character Jada led her friends on this journey to take down F-Boys for the good of all women (laughs). It’s hilarious and witty. Even though they try to play the boys’ game, because we are softhearted, we keep letting our feelings get involved. We’re trying to differentiate our heart and feelings from revenge. We use what we have to crush every F-Boy for all women. Some of it backfires a little bit (laughs), it doesn’t always work out according to plan, even though Jada is the mastermind behind it, she herself cannot control her feelings. She does end up falling for one of the F-Boys, it’s a mess (laughs). I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’m currently on set working on a series that is a bit of a psychological thriller. It is a bit of a murder mystery of who done it? It’s another role that is challenging me personally and professionally. It’s another role that I did not audition for (laughs). I auditioned for another character, but the writer, director, and show creator saw me as a different character while he was watching me audition. As I began to read more of the script, I completely agreed. It’s funny how we as creatives get committed to a role. We want it so bad but casting and producers involved in the decision-making may see us as a different character. We just have to trust the creative process. What’s for you, is for you. A ‘No’ for one role, may be turn out to be an even greater ‘Yes’ for something else. This was that for me. My character is strong, passionate about political/social activism – as am I. This is me channeling going back to Clark Atlanta – where I was active for all human and social causes. This series touches on human social and political issues. It’s Black Lives Matter, police brutality, all of that. It also dabbles into paranormal activity and sci-fy, it’s amazing.
Featured Image by Brian Jones Photography