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Denyce Lawton Talks New Film, Working With Snarky People, + 2022 Goals

Hey, they say manifestation is real so you have to speak it into existence. Denyce Lawton is not only looking to bear a child, she's also looking for a thief in her new Tubi original film, Most Wanted Santa.

The film follows FBI Agent, Harper Winslow (Lawton) who teams up with Los Angeles Police Detective, Carly Lopez (Teresa Castillo) to hunt the mysterious “Santa” who keeps stealing multi-million dollar works of art during the holiday season. Things get complicated when Harper realizes that her new friend and fellow art lover, handsome and wealthy Christopher North (Donnell Turner, “General Hospital”), has become her #1 suspect. Most Wanted Santa also stars Kate Watson (“Killer Advice”), Mark Lawson (“General Hospital”), and Carolyn Hennesy (“General Hospital”).

Your Voice Media correspondent, Ty Cole chatted with Lawton about the film, code-switching, her pregnancy goal, and more.

Cole: In this film, you played an agent - How did you prepare for the role?

Lawton: You ever heard of the saying "Stay ready so you don't have to get ready?" There's not much television I watch for pleasure - most of things I watch are roles I want to be in, play, and shows I want to be apart of. For me, I've been preparing and wanting to do law enforcement for so long as I watch shows centered around it and my father is within the field. Yes, she's an FBI agent, but it was more about her love for her category instead of work space. It was very informational.

Cole: In the film, you have a pretty snarky, annoying partner who works with yo on the assignment. Have you ever had to work with someone like that in your past and what’s the best way to deal with someone like that?

Lawton: How I handle people like that in the past compared to how I handle people now is completely different. I used to think because I was in the urban community participating in urban projects that it was our people who had this contingent within each other or petty women being petty to other Black women - and it's not. There's pettiness within the entire industry. I used to run and tell my agent and manager or tell them how I felt and what they could or could not do. Now, I let my team handle in quiet and professional manner.

Cole: Do you feel like you have to code switch now in your career or have you ever code switched in the past?

Lawton: I'm kind of code-switching right now, I am. I find myself doing it often. I'll go into a store and if I'm asking for something, I'll change my voice to make me less threatening and more likable. I find myself making sure I look presentable in some stores because we can't walk into a Target or Walmart in pajamas like everyone else can.

Cole: Where did this pressure come from?

Lawton: For me, it's because I have to be presenable most times in a overly crowded area due to being an actress and it's society - how I've been treated. It's a trigger response from how I've been treated. Don't put my receipt in my bag, put it in my hand until I get to my car because we just may be accessed of stealing something. It's a trigger response - not everyone has to do that. It's my trauma response to America.

Cole: If Santa can grant you any kind of wish for 2022, what would you ask for?

Lawton: This is very personal and I haven't said this to anyone, but I want to get pregnant in 2022. I'm putting it out into the universe because you have to claim these things. I've been single for the past two years, which no one has known about, but the interviewing process has me spilling all my business (laughs). If I'm not in a loving healthy, stable relationship by this time next year, then I've made a decision to co-parent with a great guy or find a Black gay couple to co-parent.

You can watch the full interview below and you can now watch Lawton in her new Tubi original film, 'Most Wanted Santa' available to stream now.


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