Victoria Rowell Talks Her New Film Birdie, The Rich and the Ruthless, and Her Fight For Diversity In The World of Daytime! [EXCLUSIVE] Check it out ->
Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix
Soap Opera News had the wonderful opportunity to chat with The Young and the Restless alum Victoria Rowell about her latest film and her critically acclaimed series The Rich and the Ruthless! Check it out below:
The award-winning actress’ film, Birdie, tells the story of Luke, who is released from prison after serving time for vehicular homicide, which resulted in the death of his wife. He desperately wants to reconnect with his 8-year-old daughter, who is being raised by her grandparents. Rowell plays the grandmother, Catherine Cooper, who isn’t ready to give parental rights back to Luke. The film ultimately delivers a message of forgiveness and second chances as we see the family reunite.
Recently, Victoria has been enjoying the success of her Daytime Emmy-nominated drama The Rich & the Ruthless, whose fourth season just dropped on BET Plus. She loves working with wonderful actors like Richard Brooks, noting that having the ability to hire a qualified and diverse group in front of and behind the camera “feels right and overdue and timely at the same time.”
As for a fifth season of the series? “There are always rumblings,” Rowell teased. “The audience certainly wants more. I am always hoping to get that call. We have been well received as you know. Season 4 was truly exciting for us and our best season yet. So it is our hope we will get picked up for Season 5.”
The Rich and the Ruthless brings all the drama and excitement of your favorite daytime dramas, a world that Rowell is familiar with. In fact, she has had the pleasure of directing several of her fellow The Young and the Restless castmates like Brenda Epperson (ex-Ashley) and Kimberlin Brown (ex-Sheila). And most recently Bryton James (Devon), who she told us was a joy to work with again.
Despite not having been on the show since 2007, Rowell’s The Young and the Restless character, Drucilla Barber, is still one of the soap’s most beloved. Looking back on her time in Genoa City, Victoria revealed that her favorite storyline was when Dru was determined to get ballet lessons. As a trained ballet dancer, Rowell loved collaborating with Bill Bell on the story. “I worked with professional ballet dancers that I knew. Bill allowed me to do all the choreography, music selections, and costumes. It was an amazing experience.”
As an advocate for foster care, the story which saw Drucilla and Neil adopt Devon is a special one for the actress as well. “And then the Sharon friendship storyline. It just resonated with people. It sort of took Sharon Case and me by surprise how much people loved it.”
“People might not know that I have been directing for years. I understand how it works and how to get it done. And it’s really a group effort,” she told us about her work behind the camera. “But producing has its own set of challenges. You are overseeing the entire production with your team and there are a lot of moving parts.” The challenge is something that she is taking head-on for her role as Producer and Director on a new Christmas film, Blackjack Christmas. The project will see her star alongside Harry Lennix, Charmin Lee, Dawnn Lewis, and her young Birdie castmate Kyrie McAlpin. Rowell also has another film, A Rich Christmas, for BET starring Bill Bellamy, Vanessa Williams, and Denise Boutte that she is excited for the audience to see.
While she is eager to create more content for the world to enjoy, her greatest work is behind the scenes as a prominent promoter for the economic inclusion of women and people of color. “It has taken Black writers in daytime drama painfully decades to be hired. But it is turning a corner slowly,” she continued. “I worked with the National Urban League to get the first Black WGA writer hired on The Young and the Restless in 2011 and that was Susan Dansby. Now she oversees the writing on the show. And most recently Susan Banks was hired. This was a step in the right direction. It was as important for me to do the work in front of the camera as it was behind the camera. There have been other diversity steps on the number one soap opera in the United States but it is emblematic of what needs to change and improve. I am proud of the work and I am proud of them. I need to see more. I want to see more. And I believe there will be more as long as the soaps stay on the air.”
You can follow Victoria Rowell on social media here. Be sure to check out Birdie, now streaming on Pureflix.com, which has a 7-day free trial for new subscribers. You can also find some of her other fantastic works like The Rich and the Ruthless on BET+ and Jacqueline and Jilly and Trash vs. Treasure on AMC’s Allblk.
Thank you, Victoria, for the lovely chat!