Rutina (centre) with her onscreen siblings Kofi Siriboe and Dawn-Lyen Gardner. Season 1 Tue Vuzu AMP (*103) 21:30 Repeats Sat Vuzu AMP 17:00 Drama
Few characters match up to Rutina Wesley’s role as tomboy Tara Thornton on vampire series True Blood (2008-2014). Thanks to talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey, who’s executive producing her new show Queen Sugar (2016-current), Rutina is swapping fanged foes for the money-grabbing kind as activist Nova Bordelon, who’s returned to claim her dead dad’s Southern sugar plantation.
Nova is the 37-year-old’s second 1
Southern US-based role (after True Blood); she was born on the other side of the US in Las Vegas though. And while a career in showbiz was always on the cards, thanks to her parents Ivery and Cassandra being professional dancers, “My gran told me to get a back-up job in case acting didn’t work, like nursing,” Rutina laughs.
The 13-episode season 1 (Oprah’s 2
renewed it for a 16-episode second season) is being filmed in New Orleans, which means that Rutina’s got to split her time between three cities – she lives in New York half the year and LA for the other half.
Not that she’s going to be apart 3
from her significant other. Rutina divorced her little-known actor hubby of eight years Jacob Fishel in 2013 and said, “Marriage sucks – it’s not for me.”
In saying that, she doesn’t mind 4
being romanced – she and Jacob met while studying at famed New York arts school Juilliard and he wrote her a poem and performed it in Central Park.
Rutina loves rollercoasters, which 5
is a bit of a contradiction because she’s terrified of heights. What she does love is sweets, specifically Twizzlers (a US brand of liquorice-rope-like sweets). She jokes about having sleepwalked and woken up eating a Twizzler.