Celebrities

Nia Long on Playing a Dying Mother in 'Beaches' and a Baddie on 'Empire'

by Lisa Hirsch Lozano 2:52 PM, January 18, 2017

Aired June 16, 2017

Veteran actress Nia Long is sitting down to talk with Rach about two vastly different roles -- playing a mom on Lifetime’s remake ‘Beaches’ and a villain on the FOX series “Empire.”

On seeing the original ‘Beaches’ for the first time as a teenager, Long told Rach, “I was in high school, and I remember thinking, ‘This is why I want to be an actress. This film touches on every single emotion: life, death, birth, friendship, loving someone from a distance sometimes. … for women it encompasses every moment that is big in life.”

Long plays dying mother Hillary in the remake, and says she was influenced by the real-life loss of her aunt, who died of cancer, and left behind a son. “I thought about my auntie Rhonda,” while making the film, she said, adding, “I dedicate that film to all the women who are battling anything that is terminal, because it takes a lot of strength to wake up every day, keep a smile on your face, move forward, and be there for your children.”

To contrast her ‘Beaches’ role, Long will debut later this year on the FOX hit “Empire,” and her villainous character couldn’t be more different. She likes the challenge, though: “I’m enjoying playing the bitchy girl. It’s so good, you don’t have to apologize for anything.” The hardest part? Walking in heels after wearing sneakers at home when playing around with her two sons.

Watch the video to see her play a game of Nia’s Long List (Inspired by “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”) with Rach and a member of the audience (spoiler -- they are all pretty bad at this game).

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