Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Raven Goodwin
By Amen Oyiboke, Staff Writer
Published February 19, 2015

The young actress talks about ‘Being Mary Jane’ and her transition from Disney    

Raven Goodwin’s real life doesn’t mirror her character on “Being Mary Jane,” but she knows young women can relate to the issues she faces. (Courtesy Ryan West)

Coca-hued skin, a beautiful smile and a personality that could virtually light up a room are just a couple of things that makes actress Raven Goodwin standout from a crowd. Whether you know her or not, the 22 year-old Washington, D.C. native has been on the acting scene for some time now. She started her acting career at four on TV and movie screens picking up roles with Disney and Nickelodeon. 


Moving from child to adulthood, in 2013 Goodwin stepped into a more mature role-playing Niecy Patterson, an outspoken and straight-to-the-point 19 year-old single mother of two… 

“Niecey is a complex character who is trying to get things together,” Goodwin said. “She is on a journey trying to figure out things about herself and the issues she is going through.”

Goodwin gave a little insight about her transition in Hollywood and working on  the second season of “Being Mary Jane”.

LAS: What are your anticipations for the audience when they watch the second season? Does your character Niecey evolve?

Raven Goodwin: All of the characters evolve in the show this season. It’s like each person has their own epiphany. My anticipation is for everyone to love what we put out this season. We put in a lot of energy and patience to get such an intense season done. We had awesome directors like Regina King on board and I would just say it was like we were on an island—everyone is working together on that island trying to get things done. The response that we’ve gotten from the show thus far has been spectacular and I couldn’t pray for a better show.

What is it like working with Gabrielle Union?


Goodwin: You know I tell people all the time that working with people like Gabrielle Union, Margaret Avery and Aaron Spears I learn so much from them. It’s not about just working with one person. It’s such a heavy roster of people that it’s almost like an acting school for me where I’m observing. I’m really quiet on set because on the inside I’m freaking out. It’s amazing because I have scenes with Richard Roundtree where I’m just really thankful to be acting alongside people like him.

It must be difficult playing a teenage mother that not only has two children, but family drama as well. What did you have to do to channel into your character Niecey?

Goodwin: Although she has experienced life in a different way she never knew the consequences of life, which gives her a sense of innocence. When I got the script for the show I didn’t think I could play her [Niecey]. But, my mom was like, ‘You know you can do this. You just have to dig deep to get into this character.’ So, I had to do just that. My mom was a mom at my age so I just asked her how was it and got some insight from her about being a young mother. I had to pull from different people in my life.

This is a major difference from your Disney days. How was your transition from children’s television to adult roles?

Goodwin: My transition was so smooth. It was beautiful and quick. I didn’t have to go away for five years and reinvent myself. I think I’ve always had this actress thing about myself where I was always witty and growing through my roles. I wasn’t the star of “Good Luck Charlie,” so it was easy to transition. I’m glad that it happened now rather than later. Since 12 years old, when I moved to California, I’ve consistently had work to do every year and that makes me really happy. I’m definitely blessed to have opportunities to work all the time.

As a plus size woman, you know that the entertainment business can be quite judgmental when it comes to picking actors for different shows or movies. How do you feel when you go in to audition for different roles?

Goodwin: I have to be really confident especially when I enter a room full of women who look nothing like me. They can smell fear and see right through you. They know when you’re unprepared, so you have to come with it. I always try to make sure that I don’t feel intimidated and if I ever do I smack myself out of it. I make sure that I do my best as an actress and if the people deciding who gets the role like it–they’ll take it and if they don’t–they don’t. I have to keep my own personal positivity.


The second season of BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” created by Mara Brock Akil, is already grabbing much anticipation from social media and fans of the show. The new season captures Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union), juggling more intense issues in her personal and professional life as a journalist. Her career ventures into more feature stories about the “Black experience,” while she deals with an unstable relationship between her Mom and niece (played by Goodwin) back at home.

BET premiered the second season of its hit freshman drama “Being Mary Jane,” starring Gabrielle Union, on February 3. Episodes will air from 10-11 p.m. ET/PT –with 12 one-hour episodes consecutively airing every Tuesday night.

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