Tichina Arnold has been in the acting game for a while. Her breakthrough role came as Pamela James on the 90s Fox sitcom Martin and she’s remained an in-demand actress ever since.
Arnold has starred as a leading lady opposite Terry Crews in the autobiographical sitcom of comedian Chris Rock on UPN’s Everbody Hates Chris. She’s now the leading lady opposite Cedric The Entertainer in CBS’s The Neighborhood.
During a chat with Shadow and Act, we talked to Arnold about how reality television has turned into a destination for several of her peers. While many see it as a way to boost their popularity and potentially get more work, Arnold saw it in a different light. She admits that she’s been approached on several occasions to work in reality television but ultimately decided against it.
“I’ve been in a few meetings and after one particular meeting about doing a reality show with my daughter, I was told, ‘Yeah, you guys are not a trainwreck, so there’s nothing really that we can do’” she recalled. “That was my cue to exit stage left because I’ve been in the industry a long time so I’ve learned how to separate my personal from my business. So I learned as a child that show business is a business and then it’s a show. I had to think about my career on a level that I want it to sustain itself and I didn’t think that doing reality would add or be a positive thing, just for me….and having a daughter, I said, ‘I don’t want to expose my personal life. What if she gets older and I’ve already chipped away at her legacy?’ I didn’t want to make a decision like that to where I would regret it. I thought going into reality would not be conducive to something I think would be beneficial for me and my daughter.”
Though it was hard to turn down certain deals, waiting things out and staying true to herself is what has landed her where she is today. With The Neighborhood in its third season, Arnold is looking forward to continuing to showcase positive images of Black people. Most networks that she’s worked on have been targeted to an urban audience and she says CBS is ensuring that there is content of quality for Black households.
“Out of all the networks that I could start on, being on a major network, I’m so happy it was CBS,” she said. “CBS sticks with their shows, they have a format, and I love that they are putting their money where their mouth is and they’re talking the talk and we’re seeing more of me on the network.”
Check out the full interview below, in which Arnold talks more about The Neighborhood, working with talented co-stars and more: