Have y’all been watching “Sistas”?
The series follows a group of single black females as they navigate their “complicated love lives,” careers and friendships through the ups-and-downs of living in a modern world of social media and unrealistic relationship goals. Hayslett was recently announced as a series regular on season two. She plays the character Fatima, a paralegal at a prestigious law firm, who has a confident approach to dating and likes to keep her communication clear and her options open. Fatima has been a tremendous asset to Andi Barnes (played by KJ Smith) at work, which leads them to forge a real friendship, but if you’ve been watching this season you know that Fatima has been forging ties with a new love interest who she’s actually connected to in ways she has yet to discover! In addition to acting on “Sistas,” Crystal is also a consulting producer on the show.
BOSSIP: How much input did you have into creating your character Fatima?
Crystal Renee’: Fatima is loosely based around Crystal as far as her demeanor and her attitude, but a lot of the stories that I share with Tyler go to all of the different characters.
BOSSIP: How difficult is it to balance working as a Consulting Producer and acting at the same time?
Crystal Renee’: I consult with Tyler as far as things going on and what things we’re dealing with dating in Atlanta. The first season I was costume designing, I was consulting producing and acting and it was insane, so the second season I was like we need to find someone else to do the costume design because it was just too much. Season 2, both acting and consulting was a lot easier because most of my work is done on the front end so by the time we get to camera I can just focus on acting.
BOSSIP: Have you always wanted to act?
Crystal Renee’: Since I was a kid acting has been a passion of mine. I used to give speeches on my parents fireplace mantle, like acceptance speeches for an awards show, since I was around five-years-old.
BOSSIP: Similar to Fatima, your faith is important to you. Can you talk about how your spirituality has helped you manifest your acting goals?
Crystal Renee’: My journey wasn’t the original journey that a lot of people go through when they pursue acting. My faith played a big part because there came a point in time where I had to put my faith in God and allow him to order my steps. Even when things weren’t going the way I thought they should . Especially around the times when I started getting callbacks from auditions all of a sudden Tyler asked me to be his stylist and a costume designer so I was at a crossroads like, ‘Do I take this job or do I continue to chase this dream” and as you’re getting older you also want stability so I was like ‘alright Lord I’m just going to trust you on this and take this job.’ And everything ended up working out and I couldn’t imagine it to work out any better, for it to be on a show that I actually helped create, that I’m actually producing on. I was there from the very beginning of the show. It’s actually super dope to see how things unfolded.
BOSSIP: What are some of the comments you get from your friends about the show?
Crystal Renee’: They love it. My friends and family will be like, ‘That was Crystal right there. Certain things that they know me.’ The past couple episodes with the shower scene I had people hitting me who I hadn’t talked to in years talking about, ‘Oh so this is what we’re doing?’ One of my exes hit me like, ‘Oh you showing out now,’ and I’m like ‘I’m just doing my job.’ My dad kept asking my mom, ‘Is it over? Is it over? Is it over?’
BOSSIP: What’s it like working with Devale Ellis, who plays your love interest Zack?
Crystal Renee’: I could not be luckier to have such an amazing scene partner. Devale he’s patient, he’s a teacher, I learn so much from him and he takes the time to help me develop my character and my skillset. Because we shoot really fast, sometimes he can see me getting overwhelmed and he’ll be like, ‘Hey take a beat, you got this.’ And it’s vice versa too, like one day he came to me like, ‘Crystal I need you to carry this,’ because he had a super long day and his brain was just fried, and I was like, ‘I got you!’ So we lean on each other. We’re really good friends, I’m friends with his entire family, his wife. So it just makes on camera that much easier. I trust him. I super love D. We call him the Dad of the cast, because he’s like, ‘Alright guys, we gotta do this today.’ He treats us like we’re his kids.
BOSSIP: We saw his wife (Khadeen Ellis) your comments saying she almost jumped in the shower with you guys for the sex scene.
Crystal Renee’: Yesssss. I love K. She is so funny but she was so serious. One thing I love about his wife is she is so confident in their marriage, because you just never know when you have scenes like that with someone who is married. It was something I was apprehensive about. It was the first sex scene I ever had, I was super nervous and on top of that this man is married and I wanted to be conscious that there is a wife at home watching this. When I met her there was an instant bond. It was funny because he had called, it was right before we had to shoot that scene and he told her, ‘Crystal is super nervous because we have to go shoot this shower scene.’ K was like, ‘Girl you better go do your thing.’I think when she said that it really helped me like, ‘You got this’. It was one less thing I have to worry about. She really helped me.
BOSSIP: This show is a little wild, some of the storylines are doing the most, do you ever say this is a little extreme?
Crystal Renee’: It’s go hard or go home and let Tyler Perry do his thing. Once I give my input on dating and those type of things it’s Tyler Perry’s show after that, so whatever he writes, that’s what we film. He’s known for the cliffhangers. It’s funny because when we’re reading the scripts we’re like, what’s about to happen next? We’re just in suspense like everybody else.
BOSSIP: We’re waiting for everyone to figure out that Zack’s new girl is Andi’s co-worker. How small is the world?
Crystal Renee’: What’s funny is the character Fatima has no idea that Zack is Karen’s ex. You know Zack and Fatima have only been out to dinner one time. Everything else has been at the house and the one time we did go out nobody saw us. And he never says Karen’s name. It’s just an ex and every time he says something, Fatima is like, ‘I don’t want to hear about her.’
BOSSIP: Is there a lesson in that? Do women need to do less at home dates? Or at least know the ex’s name so they know they’re not going to get their hair done by her?
Crystal Renee’: Absolutely. Communication is key. I think it’s important. There’s 50/50. Sometimes your past is your past, I don’t care but also I just want to make sure I don’t know that person because if it’s somebody that I’m really cool with then that’s a no go.
BOSSIP: That’s a real Atlanta thing too — Atlanta is so small the dating circles are like if you didn’t date that person one of your friends may have or you may have dated one of his friends, it’s one of those things that is really precarious in certain cities.
Crystal Renee’: Yeah and that’s something I definitely touched bases with Tyler on. This city is so small. It really is. It’s like a dating pool. And you don’t know who’s dated who. I’m happy we got to touch on that because it’s so true.
BOSSIP: What’s next for you? We love the content you create outside of TV, all the video tutorials you post on social media.
Crystal Renee’: I’m auditioning, trying to book more stuff. I’m really excited about the platform this has given me and the opportunities that wait in the future.
As far as the video tutorials, I’m super creative and it’s something I love to do. And I love editing. It’s something about creating the content and editing it and putting it out there and getting that feedback from certain people who tried recipes or took interior decorating ideas that I had, my hair videos they love those. It’s something I have a lot of fun doing and something I definitely want to take to another level with my brand, whether that’s something like having my own hair products or my own interiors line. It’s something I definitely want to think about.
Tune in to “Sistas” Wednesday nights at 9pm on BET