Yolonda Ross had made her name a strong presence, that has been felt in movie theatres and living rooms across the world for two decades. Yolonda represents the organic, selfless hard workers of society who pour their hearts and minds into their gifts for the benefit and good of the “whole.” On her road to self-discovery, Yolonda has earned the respect of her peers by maintaining regards as a thoughtful creative who seeks to inspire with both her actions and words. To learn more about Yolonda Ross and her future plans, enjoy her feature interview below!

What changes can we expect from your character in season 3 of The Chi?

You can expect growth from Jada in Season 3. Growth and self-awareness from a woman who’s put away her womanhood for years to be a mother and caretaker to others. 

When you first received word that the COVID-19 outbreak had reached the official status of a global pandemic, what was your first reaction to how it would affect you and your surroundings? 

I actually started worrying about it around Christmas when it was being talked about spreading in China and then to the cruise ships.  Once it was at global status, I was thankful to be in a place with an outdoor space and living with someone I get along with and feel safe with. I’m a pretty prepared person overall, so our house had TP, paper towels, 91% alcohol, gloves and masks already. The fact that the virus was spreading so easily made me very uneasy. There’s not much of a difference in my life though. I don’t need crowds. 

You make known your strong support for the steady empowerment of all women, specifically the black woman. If you could reach out to Yolonda of her youth, what advice would you give her to better prepare yourself for a career as a black female actress?  

Stay the Yolonda that you are: polite, thoughtful, and full of wonder. You’re the perfect you. 

When you have time off from work, what is Yolonda’s typical daily routine to stay mentally prepared for her next role or audition?

My mind really never stops working. I think when you create for yourself, that’s just the norm. I make sure that I have outdoor time to just sit, listen, and feel the air. I make lists, so I can see what I need to get done for each day and not over book myself or overthink things. 

You stated out of all of your roles, Jada closely resembles Yolonda’s way of thinking and caregiver personality. When you originally received your script did you consider any other roles and why?

No, I didn’t consider any other roles in the script. I think as an actor, when you receive an audition, it’s already set in your mind you are the character they have you prepare for. There haven’t been many times where I read a script and thought of myself for other roles in the project. With Jada, when I read the lines, they rolled off my tongue. I have said many of the same things that were written verbatim. I knew Jada and I were a perfect fit.

Are you working on any new projects or creations you wish to discuss at the moment? What is the next mountain Yolonda plans to conquer?

Yes. I’m working on getting all the financing together for my first feature as a director, which has been included in Film Independent and Sundance programs. It’s called “Scenes From Our Marriage” about a black couple in the arts, who wrestle with what it means to love and succeed in show business. 

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All images by Parrish Lewis