Louisiana native, Taja V. Simpson is an award-winning actress known for many film and television projects she has taken part in including Boo 2! A Madea Halloween Lethal Weapon, Intercept, and more! In addition to her acting career, Simpson is also the author of “Cracking the Acting Code: A Practical Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Actor.” Here to discuss her new role in the first-ever all-black cast of a Valentine-inspired film, Taja V. Simpson opens up to Sheen Magazine about her role as Cozi and shares insight into future projects we’ll see from her!
Tell us about your newest project, My Online Valentine.
My Online Valentine is a romantic comedy that is about relationships. It is a first of its kind, it is an all black cast that revolves around a Valentines Day film. This is my first lead in a feature film, I’ve done a bunch of film and television but this is my first lead! I am super excited that it will premiere in theaters! It takes place in Chicago, Illinois and it is about Cozi. Cozi’s ex-boyfriend pops back into her life after she finds romance with her new guy, Blaze through this online dating website. I play Cozi and she is a protagonist in this film.
Cozi is at a crossroads between fears of the unknown versus that familiar territory. What I mean by that is the fear of the unknown, we are dating that new person and you are unsure if you’re going to have the same likes, chemistry, but you’re still optimistic and hopeful to try and figure out what that is going to be about. Then there is the familiar territory. Oh yeah… with that ex-boyfriend (laughs). He just gets to you, you’ve shared so much together but do you want to go through that again? It also gives you caution and uncertainty, you’re so confused because you’re in this anxious state of mind, trying to figure out if you should move forward or back.
She is a girl who is happy in her life but just when she gets strong enough to move on, of course, that’s when the ex pops back in! You think you’re good and he’s like “Hey, I love you, I want you back !” (laughs). Cozi has to decide if she values herself enough to know what is best for her.
I believe there is a reason why people are your exes but it is such a great story and I think that’s why AMC liked it so much and wanted to give it a theatrical release.
How was this role different from any other role you have portrayed?
Well, Cozi is a single woman in her 30s and she is a successful food blogger. She loves food, experimenting, and trying new things. She is this girl who is loyal, caring, and insecure trying to find herself and love. For me, this role is different from any other role I have portrayed because I have always played women who knows exactly what she wants. This is someone that lives in the grey area of not knowing what to do and I really love exploring that dynamic of a character because I have been there too. I’ve dealt with the conflict of not knowing what to do and I’ve personally gotten myself to a place where I know better (laughs). We have to be strong enough as women or just people, in general, to know that yes, something may feel good, it may not be what you need.
In what ways do you believe you and your character are the same and/or different?
There are definitely similarities for sure. Cozi is very interesting to me, I love food and I love to cook. I’m not a food blogger but I do love to look up recipes and put my own Taja spin to it. I like to think that I’m a little bit of a baby chef (laughs). The online dating experience was very apprehensive. I’ve been there, I was super apprehensive because there is that unknown of what you’re going to get. In that aspect that’s how we’re kind of similar. I think that overall in life, I’m the person giving the advice and she is more of the one who needs it. My friends and I have this funny joke. When we move on, we call it black history (laughs), we allow it to be in the past. It gives us the strength to move on and in that instance, we have similarities but as an overall person, I’ve worked on myself enough now that I can see that I am a little stronger now.
What can viewers expect to see?
My Online Valentine! I love this movie. It is such a great romantic comedy, I think its for everyone. I think our director, Christopher Nolen does such a great job, the actors in this movie were so committed to telling this story and the proper way to portray each character. I think it is a story for everyone, the story that we’re faced with challenges and not being sure what to do. The antagonist is played by Robert Christopher Riley and the Blue Kimble portrays the man that really puts his heart into it and wants to move on from past heart pain. Cozi’s best friend portrayed by Laila Odom is the best friend that tells you like it is and leads you where you need to go. Viewers can expect to see a beautifully written story that will allow them to go on the journey and see real-life issues with relationships.
Are there any other projects you can give us insight on?
Well, absolutely darling! I have two projects coming up. One called London Mitchell’s Christmas it will premiere at the Pan African Film Festival on February 10th and again on February 15th. I’m really excited about this one because I do a British accent! This will allow my audience to see me as they never have before.
Lola is another one that I’m in training for right now. I’m going to be playing a female boxer and I’ve always wanted to play a role that is physically challenging, one that demands you to dive all in and that’s what this role is doing. I train three days a week, I’m in boxing, I’m getting pretty good! Production will begin in the spring. This character is another character that finds herself, strength, and confidence in something she never even knew anything about.
My Online Valentine hits theaters on February 1st at one AMC Theatre in select cities:
Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Tampa, and Dallas.
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Featured Image: Johnny Elizalde | All images provided by The Dupree Agency