Tatyana Ali Turns Psychic for the TV One Thriller Second Sight

Michael Logan
Tayana Ali  from TV One's Second Sight
TV ONE

What a nightmare! Tatyana Ali stars in the new TV One original movie Second Sight as schoolteacher Clara Randall, who is haunted in her sleep by visions of a kidnapped girl. Taking matters into her own hands, Clara sets out to save the child’s life and, in the process, discovers that people close to her are hiding some pretty creepy secrets. Ali, best known for her roles on The Young and the Restless and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, gave us a preview of this shock-a-minute thriller.

Are you a believer in psychic phenomena?
I’m definitely open to it and feel we humans are capable of more than science gives us credit for—some people more than others. I certainly don’t have visions like Clara does, or know anyone else who does, but almost every woman in my life, including me, has a sort of sixth sense. I see evidence of it all the time.

Such as…?
I’ll be feeling really low about something, and my mother will have a dream about me, wake up in the middle of the night and call—just when I really needed to hear her voice. That’s not coincidence. It’s an unexplainable kind of knowing. Learning to listen to your instinct is an interesting, universal challenge for women. We are taught to second guess ourselves, to not trust our gut feelings. I was really excited and fascinated to play Clara, a woman who trusts her psychic abilities. She must really believe in herself when no one else will.

Clara had visions as a child but then they stopped for 20 years. What’s that about?
I think it had a lot to do with her mother, who didn’t understand Clara’s powers and tried to drive them out of her. Clara wasn’t physically beaten as a child but she was certainly beaten emotionally. She was scolded very badly and made to feel ashamed of her supernatural ability. Now that her visions are back, Clara is like a superhero rediscovering her powers. One of the great things about the story is that her psychic gift actually skipped a generation. Clara’s grandmother, played by Marla Gibbs, has it and has been an incredible mentor for Clara. She’s still guiding her and giving her love and support, which Clara really needs right now because the persistent visions of the missing girl have made her life a nightmare. Working with Marla was amazing. I grew up watching her, loving her and being inspired by her. She’s one of those women who made me believe I could grow up and achieve my dreams to be an actress. And her performance is incredible. She’s not just a legend, she delivers!

The film’s writer-executive producer, Susan Banks, tells us we may see more films about Clara, maybe even a series. Safe to say you’re up for that?
Absolutely! I love Susan Banks to death. She’s so warm and smart and incredible. One of the things I love most about her script for Second Sight is that, beyond the big entertainment factor, it raises the issue of human trafficking, which has become a massive concern and doesn’t get anywhere near enough attention. It would be very cool to use this format to look at other pressing issues. Clara’s not with the police. She’s not a private investigator. She’s a schoolteacher just trying to do right. I have a lot of cousins who are schoolteachers. Talk about your unsung heroes! There’s great story potential there. [Laughs] But if Second Sight does continue, Clara will have to start wearing Clark Kent glasses when she solves her crimes. She needs to keep her day job!

Second Sight, Saturday, April 23, 8/7c, TV One.