Shalita Grant Shares BTS ‘You’ Intel and Why Beauty Played a Big Part in the Role of Sherry

Shalita Grant Shares BTS ‘You’ Intel and Why Beauty Played a Big Part in the Role of Sherry featured image
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If you haven’t binged on Season 3 of Netflix’s YOU, block off some time, settle in and be mentally prepared to meet Sherry—the perfectly concocted mean girl meets mom-influencer played by the brilliant Shalita Grant. (She’s OK if you really don’t like the character, she says that’s the goal.) We recently caught up with the 33-year-old actress, who shared how social media plays out for her in real life, some BTS beauty intel and why hair is a keystone both on- and off-screen.

What’s it like playing someone who is so over-the-top?

“I absolutely loved it; I loved every second of it. The worst Sherry acted, the better I felt. [laughs] The writing was so good, and the storytelling is so good, and where everything and where everyone goes is so good. You’re on the edge of your seat the whole season—you can’t get up because there were so many cliffhangers.”

A big part of her identity revolves around social media. Is that you in real life?

“No. I’ve been telling everyone that, from 2015 to 2020, I had another company running my Instagram, my Twitter, my Facebook because I’m not great with technology at all. I only got social media because I was on a show. I’d rather go frolicking in the world and live a life that’s not online. Plus, there’s too many people, too many opinions, which is not for me…but in 2020, I thought I needed to let people know who I am in a way that is not a posed photos and an on-the-surface caption. Saying ‘Happy Thursday!’ is just not me; I’m super multilayered, and I’m buck wild and crazy—I like to pole-dance, I like to hang out with my dogs. [laughs]

That’s just the truth. I’m into being alone and doing weird stuff on my own. As a result of me taking over [my social media account], I’m not super active because that’s also me. I’m not on to show you when I’m somewhere, or the food I’m eating, or keeping people with me during the day. I don’t like being around a lot of people, so why would I invite thousands of people into my day? [laughs] That doesn’t sound good, but what I do now is more authentic to me.”

You’re a huge advocate for natural hair and you have your own line. How did that play into this role and the products you had on set in general?

“My business, Four Naturals, is so multilayered in how it functions in my life. When it comes to set life, the line allows me to play as many different characters as possible. The sky is the limit now—mainly because the health of my hair has improved, the strength of my hair has improved, and the maintenance is simple now. Before, I felt I had to have on extensions and wigs to hide my hair or to try to change it to be more suitable to the world.

At one point I just said, ‘You know what? This is limiting me as an actor…this is limiting me in life.’ There are so many things I can’t do because I’m wearing a wig or I’m wearing extensions, but it also limits me in my ability to be a character-actress. I wanted to be able to be freed up to do that. I did a silk press for You. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, she’s wearing a wig or a weave.’ But that’s my hair.

For Sherry that was the flex. She gets to be the Queen Bee because, in the politics of beauty, the bitchiest queen must be unimpeachable. To pull off Sherry and how successful she was at deploying some of the worst behavior—and believably getting away with it—it was important that my hair told part of that story. Also, the fact that it was a six-month shoot where we were straightening my hair all the time, which is a really damaging thing to do with this hair type…I left that show with more hair than I had when I got there. I had done two chemical processes on it prior to getting the job, but I still had long, strong, healthy hair despite the choices that I was making. That’s a gift of Four Naturals.”

Your character comes out in each scene with a different look. Do you have any secrets from behind the set on how you built the styles?

“Again, in the politics of beauty, it’s the one with the natural-looking everything that wins. I didn’t wear press-on nails, but I used this incredible nail hardener that allowed me to have thick, strong, healthy nails—and we shot during the pandemic, so I wasn’t going to the nail salon. When the pandemic started, one of the things I wanted to teach myself was how to do my own nails at home, and how to care for them, so learning that was great and that also plays a part of the persona of Sherry. Everything down to her manicured nails are perfection and so is her skin. I love the Ordinary line. It’s affordable and the products are amazing. That blood facial product [the Peeling Solution] is a game-changer. It’s so cheap, but it’s the best chemical peel you’ll ever get. It’s amazing.

What are you excited about as the year closes?

“My girlfriend and I are renovating a 2,600-square-foot home here in Houston, and then we are putting it up for sale at the end of the year. We call it the house of love—it’s four bedrooms, two bathrooms. Yes, brain shock! I have my acting, my hair-care line and now I guess I’m in real estate!”

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