Robin Givens Spills on ‘Ambitions’ Midseason Finale & an Epic Pairing to Come (VIDEO)
Summer may be coming to an end, but it’s getting hotter than hell on Ambitions!
The Atlanta-set soap has been one of the best places for high drama and bed-hopping bitches since it launched in June. And in the August 27 finale, things come to a series of, well, let’s say climaxes, as it heads into a midseason break.
Leading the charge into the cliffhanger-filled hiatus is Robin Givens‘ Stephanie Lancaster, the high-powered lawyer with a penchant for manipulation, blackmail, seduction and serious fashion choices. Essentially, she is everything and we put nothing past her. Which is probably why Givens, who has been juggling the gig with her role as Riverdale‘s former mayor Sierra McCoy, is having so much damn fun with the character.
We recently chatted with her in advance of tonight’s episode and got some of the deets (as well as an exclusive clip below!) on what we should expect once the dust settles and the season resumes.
I have to ask. Is Stephanie criminally insane?
Robin Givens: [Laughs] Well, I hadn’t thought about that! No, I don’t think she is at all. In fact, I think Stephanie is very sane and in a strange way, very much in control. I just kind of think she plays by her own rules.
There are so many shades to this woman that you never know which one you’re getting.
Yeah, that’s something that I really like and I have to say, I’m a little proud of in a way. [Show creator] Jamey Giddens and I were talking—you have so much time on a set, sitting around—and he says, “You know, Robin, I wrote this woman and thought of this woman as an ice queen. I never thought of her as being funny or fun, but the way you’re doing it, all of a sudden I was able to lean into it and write for you…but I have to say, I never thought of her that way.”
And I think, just so often, I can’t say this enough, but people get put in boxes: This is an affluent person so that person behaves like this, they do this and they talk like this and they would never do this. And I just wanted, literally, to kick out of that box. It was really important for me to shade her differently and I wanted people to enjoy her, even if they weren’t always agreeing with her.
So full disclosure, I’ve know Jamey for probably 20 years.
Oh my god! I have met so many of Jamey’s friends, whether it was at the daytime Emmys or during interviews, and people just love him. Jamey has the biggest fan club.
And he has been the biggest fan of soaps forever, so this is such a perfect combination of his love for the genre and creativity. Ambitions was created by someone who totally loves and understands soaps but isn’t regurgitating the old tropes, he’s actually putting new a new spin on them.
That’s maybe why I feel Stephanie is so left of center, because she doesn’t adhere to those archetypes. The scene where Stephanie was taunting Marilyn (Felisha Terrell) about the dead rocker and she did the air guitar move? That was so weird and so in her face and I loved it so much.
Me too! It’s so nice because when we were blocking that scene and you finally find out that Marilyn has [poisoned] Stephanie, I wanted to physically go for her and you could see all the people on the side, on the phone, and they were like, “OK, we’ll approve.” You forget that it has to go through the chain of command, you know what I mean? But [despite her status], I wanted her to still be willing to kick ass if she wanted to.
Oh, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
Yeah, get her hands dirty, there you go. Yeah!
Then there was the scene in the club with Titus (Kendrick Cross) where they remembered their college days. That had such a different energy. It felt like he’s the only one she can actually drop her guard with.
I always wondered, and I said this to Jamey, too—I love it when you can talk about things and investigate and do the history of these characters—that if she had ended up with Titus, who would she have been? I do think that he’s the one person that, especially in that scene, she gets to go back to being the girl that’s sort of innocent and kind of believes in life and believes that things can be good. And she doesn’t have to put her guard up or her fists up.
So let’s talk about this midseason finale. You all make some some big moves in the finale and those are really hard to pull off.
Your closing scene…I did not expect that.
I know! But I think it’s due, it’s time…[she is] paying a debt that’s long past due.
Well it’s going to get very messy. And without spoiling anything, Evan (Brian J. White) has something very unpleasant to deal with.
Right! What’s up with him? [Laughs]
And we get to see the really nasty side of Amara (Essence Atkins).
That’s what I tried to tell Essence. Essence, get over it, you’re not the good one! [Laughs] I always go back to this girl code. She stole Evan. There is this ultimate girl code and then there’s sorority sisters so it’s like, I don’t care if they were broken up for a week in like two weeks, you don’t do that.
No, that’s just not OK.
And you definitely don’t do it to Stephanie Carlisle. [Laughs]
What can you tell us about the second half of the season?
Wow, well I think that we get more mess with these characters that we all know,. The thing that I love, which we were all waiting for on the set, is when is Stephanie going to find out what’s up with Bella (Erica Paige) and her husband? So she finds out, she finds it all out and all hell breaks loose. And Stephanie is like a little tornado, you want to keep her calm, so I don’t know what Bella was thinking.
Honestly, of all the guys she could have!
Is she out of her mind? This is when you know a show works — when you’re on set and everyone else is reading the scripts. Our hair and makeup and we’re like, “Oh my god, did you read it? Stephanie’s going to kill Bella!” And then, I hope Jamey’s not going to kill me for saying all of this but I love it so much, my armpits are sweating! [Laughs] We kind of see the possibility of Stephanie and Amara coming together on the same side because they have to.
This has got to be so much fun for you.
Oh my god, Damian, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I mean, oh my god, even my mother loves this character! My mother’s like, “Oh my god she’s the best thing ever.” I think she’s finally given up my being a doctor because of Stephanie Carlisle! [Laughs]
Ambitions, Tuesdays, 10/9c, OWN