Watch Saweetie's acting debut as a 'bossy' artist in grown-ish premiere clip
Yara Shahidi's Zoey Johnson has her hands full with another difficult artist in grown-ish's midseason premiere.
The last time we checked in with the Freeform comedy, Zoey decided to drop out of college so she could style the demanding Joey Bada$$ full time. When grown-ish returns for the back half of season 3, we find Zoey in Miami working on music video featuring both Bada$$ and his protégé Indigo, played by rapper Saweetie, who makes her professional acting debut with the role and guest-stars in multiple episodes. Like her mentor, Indigo knows exactly what she wants and isn't afraid to say it, as you can see in the exclusive clip above.
"I think Indigo is just a little bit of a bitch. She means well, but just sometimes she says the wrong things," Saweetie tells EW.
She continues: "My favorite thing about [playing] Indigo was when both her and Yara were on the same page and having a good time. You can just see the love and excitement that Indigo has for [Zoey]. I think the dynamic is like a cool, bossy, sometimes mean big sister to Yara. She loves her, but she just has a hard time showing you."
In the past couple years, Saweetie has made a name for herself in the music industry with her two EPs, High Maintenance and Icy, and hit singles "My Type" and "Tap In." However, playing Indigo gave her an opportunity to not only stretch as an artist but to also reconnect with the side of her that loves acting. Even though she took acting classes when she briefly majored in theatre in college, she still hired an acting coach to help her with this role because she's a self-described "over-preparer."
"I wanted to make sure I delivered," she says, before explaining how her coach helped her get into character. "I feel like with roles, whether if it's an episode or in a music video, you always have to commit to the emotion of what you're trying to portray. I thought it was cool, a little cheating but that's okay: I played an artist and I'm an artist myself. But the girl's attitude and personality is completely night and day with mine so I did have to learn about her. She's a diva, she's bossy. She's a little bit of a bitch [laughs], so I definitely had to commit to her attitude." (Alas, she didn't have a chance to ask her cousin Gabrielle Union for any acting tips before cameras started rolling).
Saweetie was very nervous when she stepped onto the grown-ish set for the first time, but Shahidi helped calm her nerves once they started working together. "I would ask her for advice, and she was so easy to work with, so it was an honor and a pleasure to work by with her. I know she's gonna continue to do big and great things," says Saweetie, whose debut album Pretty Bitch Music is expected in 2021. "Even if I would mess up sometimes, she was just so helpful. It's always nice to work with someone who wants you to do as good as them. What I will say is that she's such a team player. She was like hyping me up and gave me the motivation, so it was fun to work with her."
If she gets her wish, this will just the beginning of another part of her career. "I could definitely see myself having a show like that or just doing more guest-star roles, or even doing a movie. I think it's art. It's fun to step outside my comfort zone and [it] allows me to just explore my creative side."
Watch the midseason premiere clip above.
Grown-ish returns Thursday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.
Video provided by Freeform.
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