Talking With: Nadège August from “Ruthless”
Interview with actress Nadège August, who takes us into the sex-cult world of Tyler Perry’s latest BET+ TV series.
A spin-off of Perry’s original series “The Oval,” the show follows Ruth Truesdale (played by Melissa L. Williams) after joining the sex-crazed Rakadushi cult with her daughter. While there, she encounters the financial whiz, Joan (Nadège August), who the cult leadership relies on to fix the books and keep them out of trouble.
Television fans will recall Nadège from her role as Dylan’s mother Darlene Wilson on the Nickelodeon show “Young Dylan.” Prior to this, she landed on the Zach Braff sitcom “Alex Inc,” “Criminal Minds,” “Happy Endings,” and “Castle” among others. She is the creator and star of the comedy web series, “Bougie Dilemma” and currently is the creator and host of the edutainment podcast series “What the Fockery.”
To learn more, we are Talking With Nadège August about “Ruthless.”
For those who haven’t seen “Ruthless,” what do we need to know about Joan?
NADÈGE: Joan is a former accountant turned member of the Rakadushi tribe. She helps fix the books when the Rakadushi’s are in financial trouble. Joan is a very smart woman who is a valuable member of the cult. She is trustworthy and immediately likeable. If Joan is on your team, you immediately feel comfortable that she is a “ride or die” kind of sidekick or friend. Joan appears toward the latter half of Season 1 but by season 2 she is undeniably prescient.
What attracted you to want to portray this character on the show?
NADÈGE: At the risk of sounding unhinged, I happen to love learning about cults. I devour podcasts about them. Cults fascinate me. So naturally when the offer came in, I HAD to do it. The opportunity to explore one individual's reason to join a cult and to have the opportunity to grow through rules and tenets, all in the safety of pretend! I was sold.
How did you prepare emotionally to live in this cult-centric world?
NADÈGE: My job is to portray characters truthfully under imaginary circumstances. When most of us hear or think "cult", we have all sorts of judgments. The first thing I had to do is release my personal judgements about all I've read, heard, watched or think I know about cults and simply accept that Joan is happy to be there, to be of service and ultimately thrive or survive.
Would you consider Joan to be similar in personality to yourself or the opposite?
NADÈGE: Joan is mousy in a creepy way. I am not mousy, maybe a tad creepy (lol- joking of course). The actor can't help but inject a bit of who they are in the roles they play. I couldn't help but inject her with a bit of humor. But overall, we are opposites. The joy in acting for me is to get to live these different lives and I found Joan to be deliciously complicated.
Do you have a favorite scene from the show? And, was it also your favorite to shoot?
NADÈGE: Season 2 is upcoming shortly and at the risk of giving too much away, Season 2 finale episode rocks! I can't wait to hear what our audience has to say and they are very vocal. There are Facebook "Tyler Perry's Ruthless groups", twitter hashtags and Instagram pages that I creepily eaves drop in. These folks share their thoughts, provide analysis and interact with each other. They unpack every episode and even have predictions about various story lines. All I know is by the finale, Joan grows in ways that will astound and surprise them.
What do you hope audiences take away after watching?
NADÈGE: To beware of the proverbial sheep in wolf clothing. New episodes are available every Thursday on BET+
Finally, is there anything else you’re working on that we can watch for?
NADÈGE: Nickelodeons "Young Dylan" I play Darlene Wilson, the titular's character wayward mother. If you want to just hear me, I have a podcast about non-normative topics & lifestyle "WHAT THE FOCKERY" available on all of the major platforms.