Sistas follows a group of fiery single Black women as they try to steer their way through their friendships, romantic relationships, situationships, and careers. And while the show mainly focuses on Andrea “Andi” Barnes (KJ Smith), Daniella “Danni” King (Mignon Von), Karen Mott (Ebony Obsidian) and Sabrina Hollins (Novi Brown), the men in Sistas also have a way of holding their own.
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Chido Nwokocha (who plays Gary Marshall Borders) stars on the show as a married man having an affair with Andi. Ending season one with much less than what he started, the handsome Fortune 500 CEO found himself in serious trouble. Some fans might wonder if Gary learned his lesson but according to Nwokocha, “Gary is still Gary,” and still has some growing to do.
“When you grow, you have to allow the person to grow,” Nwokocha tells BET.com. “He still [has] to navigate those traits that you saw he had in season one. It’s not like an overnight success.”
As fans gear up for the gripping two-hour back-to-back episode premiere of Sistas on Oct. 14, BET.com sat down with Chido Nwokocha to learn more about what fans might see in the new season, what got him hooked on this juicy role and what it was like shooting with such strict coronavirus guidelines.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
BET.com: What about Gary and the Sistas script sold you when it came to committing to the role?
Chido Nwokocha: He just had a lot going on that I could play with versus just him being a regular businessman. I think that the fact that he had a situation and was yearning for another situation and not going about it the right way we’re still managing his emotion and then there [are] aspects of losing control. The situation was a lot of fun [and] I felt like it would be fun to dive into multiple seasons. You kind of just watch this guy unfold and anything that allows you to just kind of take a rollercoaster ride is a lot of fun as an actor because you get a chance to really just play.
BET.com: Can you talk about shooting during the pandemic in July? How was that unique experience?
Chido Nwokocha: It was very unique. But it worked. We were quarantined and it felt like a summer or football camp for me. I felt very safe at the studio; the safety protocols that Mr. Perry put in place for everyone allowed us to come in feeling good and do our jobs. I basically woke up each day, worked out, ate good food, filmed and came home to unwind and start that process again the next day. It was a lot of fun. We were the first production to get going again and set the blueprint to get back to work in Hollywood during this pandemic.
BET.com: Given your extensive work in the industry since 2014, you have found yourself acting in many different roles. What is some of the best advice have you received as an actor that you have taken with you while you are on set?
Chido Nwokocha: The biggest thing I take from this is that I belong here. I’m here for a reason. So I just think that comes back to belief in any profession you’re in. You got to have some form of belief in yourself, which is why you took the leap of faith to work in the industry you’re in. So for me, I have a very, very high sense of just belief, self-worth and value in myself.
I really believe that I’m where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there. So when I get on set, and whether it’s with Tyler Perry or any other set that I have been on or [will be] in the future, I really feel like I’m supposed to be here, whoever I’m working with, [the] biggest stars or just up and comers as well. And I’m going to show out.
BET.com: While Gary may have found himself in somewhat of an entanglement, what would Chido’s recipe be for courting his partner the correct way?
Chido Nwokocha: Communication is the biggest thing. I don’t think anybody should be mind readers. That’s the biggest trait to me. I mean obviously a lot of common traits you want to have with an individual: spending quality time with each other, common interests. But I don’t think anything really moves forward without communicating your wants and your needs and where you’re at.
BET.com: If you could give Gary one piece of advice what would you tell him given the current situation that he is in going into season two?
Chido Nwokocha: Number one, you can’t control everything and everybody like that. I would have told him [to] handle this situation with his wife the right way, instead of trying to juggle both. And also, I think it goes back to what I always say about relationships, it goes back to communication.
I think there was a lot of stuff that was not said and not communicated the right way, which is why we were this crazy during season one and why we’re where we are in season two, there’s a lot of information that’s been withheld—especially the way we ended. So clearly, If I had to give him advice, I would say, ‘Man, you gotta you got to handle this before you move on.’ If we were sitting at a table having a drink whiskey. I would be like ‘Bro, you got to handle things with Jasmine and then you can go ahead and figure out what you’re trying to do with Andi.’ But you trying to do both right now, running in and out of the house, is not going to work and catch up to you. Unfortunately, it eventually did.
Be sure to check out the season 2 premiere of Tyler Perry’s Sistas on Wednesday, October 14, at 9 PM EST on BET.
(Courtesy of Chido Nwokocha)