Following her short-lived role as Playboy Bunny Brenda on NBC's drama series "The Playboy Club," Naturi Naughton has scored another television role on Lifetime's "The Client List." Based on the network's 2010 original film of the same name, the new series follows Jennifer Love Hewitt's character, Riley Parks, as she pursues a job at day spa in Texas.
During a recent interview with The Huffington Post, the former 3LW singer and "Notorious" actress discussed starring opposite Love Hewitt, her thoughts on the abrupt cancellation of "The Playboy Club" and her aspiration for a music career similar to Whitney Houston's.
What's the synopsis of the "Client List"?
Jennifer Love Hewitt is starring in it, and it's essentially about her as a young mother who's kind of struggling, living alone with two kids. Her husband has left her as a single mom, so she somehow lands on this spa called The Rub, and it takes place in Belmont, Texas. So The Rub is where I work, and I come into play as one of the spa girls, Kendra. The spa gives "extras." So that's what everyone is talking about. It's an underground spa that no one assumes to be a place where these girls are giving "happy endings," and there's a lot of drama that goes along with that, too. So when you watch the show, it's not vulgar, it's not risqué, but it's definitely pushing the envelope a little bit so that people see what could be happening if a spa like this existed.
Since it's based on Lifetime's 2010 television film, does the series pick up where the movie ended?
It's taking the movie from its inception. The beginning of the series starts with Riley and her family. When you see the season premiere, you'll see that it's not the movie. It's just inspired by the same story and the same characters like Kendra. But it doesn't start from where the movie left off. It's a whole fresh new start, and it's a whole new story actually. All of the different scenes that we're shooting, none of them took place in the movie. It's just a more creative way to put it all in a TV series.
With Loretta Devine playing the head of the spa, do you see any parallels between the on-screen chemistry that you had with Jenifer Lewis, who also portrayed a matriarch figure in "The Playboy Club"?
I do a little bit. I mean it's different, but I definitely have been fortunate to work with such veterans like Jenifer Lewis and like Loretta Devine. The only thing that I would parallel is the older, matriarch figure. But Jenifer Lewis' character in "The Playboy Club" was a little different, and we didn't get a chance to have as much interaction as I had with Loretta on "The Client List." Loretta's character is hands-on in this show. She's checking on us in the spa, what not to do, and telling us to watch our backs. Her character, Georgia, owns the spa, so she's a boss with a tender side, and I love that about her character.
Following the cancellation of "The Playboy Club," there were reports that the remaining episodes were possibly being picked up by another network. Do you know what the latest status is?
Yeah, there was a lot of talk about that, I'm not sure. But what I do know is the rest of our season, I believe the studio may put it out. So what I think is that there will be a DVD release for the show. As of right now I'm pretty sure that they're not picking up the show for any other networks, but at least for the fans who did follow us -- even though we were cancelled after three episodes, we shot seven -- it would be really cool. And I watched them all and was like, "Dang!" It was so fun. We had a lot of interesting characters. Raphael Saadiq was in our next [fourth] episode, and then we had Javier Colon playing Ray Charles. So it was a good experience. And although it's done, I still look at it as a fond memory.
When we last spoke there were rumors circulating of you possibly starring in the next X-Men film, and you mentioned that there were still some loose ends to tie up. Any updates?
No updates. I mean, I can't say that's in my near future or happening. I kind of have to take work as it's available and as it comes. But I'm still open to the opportunity; I would love to do that. Of course that would be another avenue of my career that I haven't tapped into yet, so I'm all for it. I just know that my focus has to be on this series. And if that comes back around, of course I'm ready to do it and go for it.
We also discussed the possibility of you returning to the studio this year for a new album. Is that still in your plans for 2012?
Music is a part of my life. I actually talked to a couple of producer friends of mine. This year I'm hoping during my hiatus from the show I can get back in the studio. I have been writing actually and working on my own with music. I just haven't put it out there, and I'm not in a position to focus on that, because I want to give "The Client List" my all. I'm assuming by the end of this year I can have my down time to delve into the studio and get my music popping again. Because that's how I got into this business, so I will never let it go.
One of my biggest inspirations growing up was Whitney Houston, so I was devastated to hear about her passing. I'm from East Orange, New Jersey, and started singing at New Hope Baptist Church, so she was like my fellow Jersey girl. And ever since I was a little girl, I looked up to her and always said I would want to have a career like that. So may she rest in peace, and I just hope that one day I can focus on the music and be as great as she was.
"The Client List" premieres April 8 on Lifetime.