Naturi Naughton Talks Early Influences, Her Marriage, Being Strikingly Different and More
Over the last 20 years, Naturi Naughton has redefined what a triple threat means. The singer, songwriter and actress has come a long way from her days of being a member of the Platinum-selling girl group 3LW. Naughton is now known for being a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series” for her globally recognized role as “Tasha St.Patrick” on STARZ Network’s #1 hit series “Power.”
As we sat down and discussed her new chapters in life and journey as a newlywed, the critically acclaimed actress shares with us who influenced her growing up and the one person she wants to portray on the big screen. “I was influenced by Whitney Houston growing up,” says Naughton. “I was born and raised in East Orange and Newark, New Jersey. She was someone I saw in Jersey and said to myself, “If she can do it, I can do it.”
When Naturi is not on set, she enjoys simple things like reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Xavier “Two” Lewis, and her beautiful daughter, Zuri. “You have to cling to the good. Cling to your circle and your group of friends and family.” she continues, “If you don’t keep that energy around you, it’s easy to fall into depression.”
As we talked about her philosophy in life and keeping God first, Naughton opened up about how she wants to be remembered in this world by her family, friends, and fans. “There is something unique about my presence,” she says. “I hope they will always feel inspired by that.”
Looking back at Naturi’s career, you’ll see that she evolved into a force that will only grow and inspire the next generation of artists. Reminding them that what you believe and say will manifest in your life.
Check out the exclusive interview with Naturi Naughton below.
It’s been two months since you married your fiance, Two Lewis, at the iconic St. Regis Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. How does it feel to step into this next chapter in life? As a wife, it feels amazing to step into the next chapter. We just celebrated two months. Until we make it to a year, we celebrate every day because it’s an accomplishment to find your person and make a conscious choice to be committed and married. He loves my food. I’m out here giving #WifeLife, and it’s been fun! It’s been fun to explore a new layer of myself. The first two months of marriage have been awesome.
With your background in music, who has influenced you as a singer, and are there any music legends you would want to portray on the big screen? I was influenced by Whitney Houston growing up. I was born and raised in East Orange and Newark, New Jersey. She was someone I saw in Jersey and said to myself, “If she can do it, I can do it.” Transitioning into movies and music, I wanted to do it all just like her. I was also vocally influenced by Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, and Brandy, who I got to work with on ABC’s “Queens.” Someone I’d love to play one day is Lauryn Hill. I love her story, and I know she’s had a lot of ups and downs in her life and career, but she’s still iconic and amazing.
As a black woman who is a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series,” what advice would you share with the next generation to prepare them for the industry? It’s an honor to say that I’m an NAACP Image Award recipient multiple times. Growing up, I watched the award ceremony and said, “Wow, this is our Oscars!” especially as an African American woman in an industry that doesn’t always make you feel celebrated. I’m blessed to have had my journey, but I would advise other aspiring artists to know themselves first. To make sure they stay grounded and be committed to their craft. A lot of people nowadays, with social media, think they can post something, and that’s their thing, but that’s not long-lasting. I recommend knowing who you are and staying committed to who you are because when I walk into a room, you’re getting Naturi.
There’s so much happening today, and with your busy schedule, how do you protect your mental health, and what’s one thing you enjoy doing in your free time? It’s hard sometimes. We all struggle with everything in the news and so many mass murders and our children. The world is so corrupt now, but there is also a lot of joy to be grateful for; thank God. You have to cling to the good. Cling to your circle and your group of friends and family. If you don’t keep that energy around you, it’s easy to fall into depression. For me, I keep my sanity by keeping things simple and staying focused on my daughter. Take in what’s happening, but don’t let it consume your spirit.
What is your philosophy to live by in life? My philosophy to live by in life is to keep God first because all things flow from Him, and that’s literally how my life goes. I trust God, and every time I do that, it works. What you believe, what you say, will manifest in your life.
You are an actress, singer, and songwriter that’s achieved so much over your career. How do you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and fans? We all have to think about that because tomorrow is not promised. I want them to remember that I made them laugh and made them feel. I hope my family, friends, and fans remember their feelings while in the room with me; the joy and laughter. There is something unique about my presence, and I hope they will always feel inspired by that.
The definition of Contrast is ‘to be strikingly different.’ What makes you strikingly different? I’m so excited that I’m doing Contrast Magazine! What makes me strikingly different is my personality. I’m extremely honest but in the nicest way. Even if I have to deliver bad news, I will say it kindly. Another striking difference about my energy is that I’m a giver. Many people expect me to be like Tasha, and I’m like, ” I’m totally the girl that went to catholic school, who likes to play games and gets tipsy off two drinks.” I hope that my kindness and my energy gives people warmth when I meet them.
Creative Director and Stylist: Oliver Brown.
Photographer: Petros Koy.
Makeup Artist: Ashley Stewart using Nova Beauty by Fashion Nova.
Hair Stylist: Ro Morgan.
Photographer Assistant: Leijan Alvarez.
Videographer: Charles Hawthrone of Regeneration Productions.
Fashion Assistant: Safa Haque, Nekeyta Brunson, Izabella Bradfield, Sheila Fisher