What's It Like to Work With Tyler Perry? Zulay Henao And Wendi McLendon-Covey On 'The Single Moms Club'
You've seen her on ABC's The Goldbergs and Steve Harvey's Think Like a Man, and if you she made you laugh on screen, you can imagine what it was like interviewing, Wendi McClendon-Covey.
After spending 3 years in the United States Army and studying at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, the beautiful Zulay Henao landed her first role in Feel the Noise. Talking to Zulay was like talking to an old friend. She spoke freely about her experience during the filming of The Single Moms Club and you can clearly see the friendship between her and Wendi.
Zulay Henoa and William Levy, Image © D. Long/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com
Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club is a feel-good comedy that follows five struggling single moms who join together, because of their children's behavior, to organize an upcoming fundraiser and school dance at their children's exclusive prep school. They find inspiration among one another in their new sisterhood, and they help each other through the obstacles and trials of being a single mom.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Zulay Henao and Wendi McLendon-Covey from the cast who shared what it was like filming the movie, working with Tyler Perry and how their roles were therapeutic.
On How They Identified With Their Roles When They Aren't A Single Mom:
Zulay: In talking about this (question), I realized what I really loved about my part, my role in the movie, is that I enjoyed being a mother. I always wanted...I always knew that I would be a mother some day and this really kinda solidified that maternal instinct to me. It was really nice, engaging with my daughter (on set) and giving her advice. The girl who played my daughter was clinging to me and we had such a good, beautiful bond.
I was raised by a single mother. My father was around but my parents were divorced when I was 14, so I was able to kind of go back to that time in my life and really absorb what that was like, for me as a child but then also really understanding all of my mothers sacrifices. It was really therapeutic, to be honest with you, being on set and it happened not exactly during filming but like, right after and then I watched "Daddyless Daughters" on Oprah and all these things just came together for me.
On what it like working with Tyler Perry?
Wendi: Working with Tyler was fun because he was very collaborative. He encourages you to improvise, so he writes everything, obviously, but he's not so in love with his own words that he won't listen to other ideas.
I personally like doing ensemble comedies, so it was fun to get to bond with these women and watch them be hilarious. Sometimes I would just turn into an audience member during the scenes and I would just be like "where is this going?" It was really fun.
Wendi: I don't have the strength to be a mother and I never felt like I needed to do it even as a kid, so for me, I look at people who have husbands and nannies and I don't see how they do it. I know a lot of single moms and I don't understand how any mother does it, EVER in life. It's like saying, "I don't need to have any time off for 18 years or more. I give big props to all mothers!
On Children Seeing The Single Moms Club
Wendi: I do think this movie is good for children to see, especially teenage children. I would say, ""Hey, your mom probably sacrifices a lot, have you ever thought about that? You think your mom maybe cries in her bedroom at night thinking 'I can't do anymore than I'm doing and I feel like I'm failing at everything but I'm trying so hard."
On Her Role in The Goldbergs and The Single Moms Club
I totally "get" both moms. On "The Goldberg's", she's a total helicopter mom: in your business, standing over her kid watching him sleep. My character in The Single Moms Club is, you know, her kid is 12...she can feed herself, dress herself, what does she need me for? Here's a wad of cash, go amuse yourself. She's someone who's like, "I'm important! I really want to excel at my career but it turns out that she's failing at that, she's failing at mothering...just failing at life! There' s NO love life to speak of.