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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Actress Jaclyn Betham: Sharing What It's Like to Live Your Dream

by Cyrus Webb

When Tyler Perry's THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Tues. May 28th with over 1 million viewers tuning in I wasn't surprised. Not only is he an amazing storyteller, but I think we all knew that OWN's first scripted series was going to have something that audiences of all backgrounds could appreciate---and we haven't been disappointed yet.

My first interview with the cast of the show was with actress Jaclyn Betham who plays Amanda Cryer. Though I have never talked with her before I was familiar with her work from the film QUIET with actress Susan Graham. I knew that she was someone to watch, and in her new role she is definitely not disappointing.

The first question I asked her was about the show's response. "I was really excited," she told me. "When you shoot a pilot of a brand new series you're kind of scared. You don't know how it's going to do. When  we found out it the response it felt good. You want people to watch your work. When they do you're super excited."

When I brought up the appeal of the cast and the show, Jaclyn agreed with the universal message. "I think that everyone sees themselves in one of the characters," she explained. "With Mr. Perry there is always a message, something you can relate to. I think that was a great process to be a part of, too. With each episode there 's a greater message at the end of the day. What more can an actor want!"

Jaclyn told me that this is exactly the path she wanted for herself. "I had this dream that I was working so hard for. Once all of that pays off you sit back and say 'This is happening.' For me I had to embrace it. It's so clear to me that your dreams can come true if you have the dedication and the drive to push for your dreams. You just have to make it work."

Part of what  has made this journey an amazing on is the cast on the new series. "I've heard horror stories about working with casts on show," Jaclyn told me. "I'm so happy that is not the case with us. We are all very close. It's like a second family. I think that's why we can be so nasty to each other on camera, because we are so close. I couldn't be luckier to be a part of this cast."

Bringing Amanda Cryer to life was a lot of fun for Jaclyn because of her complexities in life. "I think for her she's never made a decision in her life. Amanda has been crying out for attention and wanting to be her own person for so long that finally she's like 'Listen to me.'" Ironically the character that many have grown to love to hate to love Candace (played by Tika Sumpter) gives her the strength to try to stand up for herself.

In Season One of The Haves and the Have Nots we have gotten a glimpse into Amanda Cryer's life, and through her portrayal of that character more of the world has gotten to know Jaclyn Betham.

When I asked her what was it like to interact with her fans since the show began Jaclyn says at first it was "kind of a weird process," especially adding the world of Twitter to her routine. "I was really into Instagram before the show," she explained. "Now I'mm kind of getting used to responding to the fans. People are interested in what I'm passionate about, and I'm happy to talk about it."

Jaclyn's advice those who see themselves in Amanda is this: Realize your truth. "I  think that honesty is so important. Living in your truth is essential. You'll never be happy if you don't."

Stay in touch with Jaclyn Betham at www.twitter.com/jaclynbetham and make sure to use the hashtag #havesandhavenots.

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