When you’re able to make a name for yourself amongst legends like Lynn Whitfield and Keith David–it’s clear that you have an effervescent spirit. Lovie Simone has starred on the hit OWN series, Greenleaf since 2016 as the charismatic and rebellious Zora Greenleaf. But now, the 20-year-old is more than ready to show the world that portraying Zora is only the tip of the iceberg. With a slew of films debuting soon and an iconic casting announcement, Lovie’s name is exploding around Hollywood.
In addition to Greenleaf–Simone’s forthcoming film, All Rise based on Walter Dean Myers’ National Book Award-winning novel Monster is slated to hit theaters in November. Also, her Sundance hit, Selah and The Spades where she stars opposite Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome will premiere on Amazon soon. With all of this happening amid Season 4 of Greenleaf, Lovie is one busy woman.
However, the New York native is just taking it all in. Recently, STYLECASTER sat down to chat with Simone about why she left fashion school for acting, Zora’s Season 4 journey, playing the bad girl in Selah, and her bewitching upcoming project.
“I’m very into fashion, but not in the mainstream sense,” Simone revealed about why she left the fashion industry for acting. “But I do feel like acting is for me because it’s not just one perspective that I get to grasp and understand. There are so many characters and so many people that you have to go through and figure out their gray areas. It’s not the white and black that you normally encounter when you come into contact with strangers.”
One of those characters is Zora Greenleaf. In Season 4 of Greenleaf, Zora has returned to her parents’ home after a bad breakup and just as quickly, has her eyes on a new guy. “I feel like Zora is not one to sulk in her bad feelings,” Simone reflected. “I feel like she’s a bit of an escapist–that’s why she gets into a lot of what she gets into. Falling for this new guy might be something that distracts her. Throughout the season you’re definitely going to see more depth to Zora, and you’re going to see why she does the things she does.”
After running away with her-exboyfriend in Atlanta, Zora has returned home to Memphis hoping to reconnect with her cousin/best friend Sophia (Desiree Ross). However, Sophia’s own issues might further the rift between the young women. “You’ll see how Zora handles this emotionally throughout this season,” Simone explained. “You’ll also see where the relationship grows from there because both Sophia and Zora are in a transition. Everything that’s happening wasn’t happening two weeks prior. I feel like they’re just getting a lot of information and they’re just coping the best ways they can. You’re going to see how they clash, how they fight, and try and keep that sister cousin relationship throughout it all.”
Though being at home is much better for Zora than being with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Isaiah (Roshon Fegan)–her parents, Kerissa (Kimberly Hawthorne) and Jacob’s (Lamman Rucker) marital issues will undoubtedly begin causing problems for her. “It definitely affects her like it would affect any child that is aware of their parents’ troubles,” Simone reflected. “I feel like she lashes out in other ways that might not be as direct. So that’s why she is a bit of a wild child and does a lot of the things that she does. I feel like that does take a toll on her because she is the eldest. She grew up with them. She has a very strong sense of what family is so you’ll see her perspective broadened and shift throughout the season.”
In addition to Greenleaf– Simone is also thrilled that the world is about to be introduced to Selah in Amazon’s Selah and The Spades. The H.B.I.C and bad girl of her boarding school, Selah definitely gives us Kathryn from Cruel Intentions vibes. The film was so well-received at Sundance that Amazon is also adapting it into a series. “As far as the series goes, I don’t know anything,” Simone laughed. “What I do know is that it’s going to be amazing because Tayarisha [Poe]’s vision is truly one of a kind. Filming Selah and The Spades was very fun because there was a huge shift. I’m used to working with a lot of older, well-established actors. In Selah, I was able to work with people around my age and just have fun and build relationships. It was also fun working with Tayarisha because it was like working with my older sister who wanted the best for me and wanted me to express myself fully. Also, working with Jesse Williams and Gina Torres, that’s like insane for me. It felt like we all just had genuine connections because the whole story was something we were passionate about.”
Though Simone was coy about any forthcoming projects she had on her plate when she spoke with us, just days later it was revealed that she’d been tapped to star in Blumhouse and Columbia Pictures’ remake of the ’90s cult classic, The Craft.