‘Sparkle’ Actress Tika Sumpter Talks Hidden Talents, Hollywood Boss Moves

TV star expands repertoire to singing and performing

Tika Sumpter, seen above with 'Sparkle' co-stars Jordin Sparks, who plays Sparkle Williams, and Carmen Ejogo, who plays Sister Williams (Image: Sony Pictures)

You also sing on the soundtrack. What was that experience like and how did you prepare?

It was so fun. I’ve always been around music and have sang most most of my life. I was signed to a record company and mom is opera singer. I sang in the choir and on One Life to Live we had to perform on Broadway cares.  It can be nerve wracking because you want to do it justice and sing well. The choreography we learned in a little amount of time and it was def. more intense for Jordin and Carmen because they’re more of the forefront. My character was in medical school.

Sparkle has an overwhelming theme of following one’s dreams despite challenges or deterrents. What specific advice would you have for other young actresses that you either got when you started or wish you knew when you got into the biz?

I started from the ground up. I had to just research. I had to read books, and learn where I should take classes. It was trial and error. I went to open calls with a million people. I didn’t come into the industry knowing certain aspects of that process, didn’t know the correct way to dress. I grew up on watching tv, and watching shows helped me to see the look they were going for. My advice: Do your research and know your craft. Take classes. If you want to work and be an artist and actor, practice your craft. Read theater books, and learn movies. I still have a ton of movies I need to see. Have a point of reference. You’d hate to get your chance meeting with Steven Spielberg and he mentions a classic movie you know nothing about and you’ve missed your moment.

Let’s talk Hollywood branding. You’ve had many diverse roles, but people can often typecast soap opera actors or downplay their acting skills. What are your thoughts on that?

I don’t think anybody goes into it saying, “I’m a soap opera actor.” Many big names started on soaps…I mean, huge stars. I would say “Well look at them. Look at their body of work.” You try doing a soap and see how hard it is. I’ve had to learn 40 pages in a day. It’s a great training ground, and I greatly appreciate what the experience allowed. One Life to Live took a girl who was doing commercials and voiceovers to her first real contract role. You can never typecast someone into one scope.



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