Monday, February 01, 2010

Interview (OLTL): Tika Sumpter Hopes Layla Finds True Love, Peace

Tika Sumpter, the beautiful young actress who originated the role of Layla Williamson on “One Life to Live” back in 2005, was used to playing a supporting role. Now that Layla has some front-burner storyline action going on, Tika couldn’t be happier to show off her acting chops.

Daytime Dial: Have you enjoyed watching your character change and develop through the years?
Tika Sumpter: I really like it. I’m glad now they gave me this storyline, and people can see different sides of Layla, other than just the supporter. It was good to see raw emotion and just a different side of her. Colleagues were coming up to me and saying, ‘Wow, this is great.’ I got the chance to show people I can do this, I can handle this.

DD: Layla was instrumental in getting Fish to come out of the closet — take me through how Layla felt when she first found out, because she was falling for him before she knew he was gay.
TS: Layla is a hopeless romantic and she was always getting into these dead-end relationships, and she finally got with someone she thought she could have a genuine relationship with. When she found out Fish lied to her, she didn’t want to believe it. It rocked her. It made her not want to open up. It made her feel very vulnerable. There is always that scary place where you feel like it’s gonna get messed up somehow, no matter how good it is. It literally, physically hurts her every time she thinks about it. She is still going to give love a chance, but in the back of her mind, she might not want to give everything at this moment.

DD: At first, it was hard for Layla to get together with Cristian because of Evangeline. What changed for her to allow her to accept her feelings for Cristian?
TS: She’s always seen the good qualities in Cristian. He was there for her in her time of sorrow and pain. With all those mixed emotions and feelings, she gave in to him. She always had a secret longing for that kind of man: manly and authoritative, but he has a sweetness about him and a vulnerability.

DD: What do you like best about Layla and about playing her?
TS: I love her ability to not only be tough, but to also be vulnerable at the same time. Nobody likes to be taken advantage of, but she tries not to allow herself to be a victim. She’s not afraid, even though she has been hurt over and over again. She keeps getting up; she’s a strong girl.

DD: What do you hope for Layla and her future?
TS: I want her to be successful in any career that she chooses, but hopefully she’ll go back to acting and singing. I hope she gets some kind of peace from her mother. Her mother always places Evangeline on a pedestal and kind of looks down on Layla. I hope she finds some peace with that, as well as find peace with her dad passing.

DD: Snoop Dogg is coming back in February. That must be a lot of fun when he’s on.
TS: He’s my homey. He’s pretty amazing. He is so chill and relaxed and easy to work with. He’s just a good guy and supersweet.

DD: You just filmed “Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming.” Can you tell me about your character?
TS: I play a girl named Nikki. She’s a law student and comes from a really good family. She’s a strong girl and really, really smart, but she has her insecurities. Basically she is the girlfriend of the main character, and there’s a little love triangle thing going on.

DD: Do you get to dance in the movie?
TS: I had to learn how to step for the film, and it was really hard at first. But I learned it, I did it and filmed it, and I was superexcited. I can’t believe I did it, because it is VERY hard. It’s a really good workout too!