She began of career in theater at age 9, acting in stage plays while growing up on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois. After great success playing the teenaged daughter and big sister on ABC Family‘s “Lincoln Heights”, 32 year old Erica Hubbard is moving quite smoothly and successfully along in her entertainment career. Now while playing Kita Whitmore on the new sitcom, “Let’s Stay Together” that is up for it’s second season on BET, the rising star dropped in to discuss the upcoming season as well as talk about her charity foundation and life after the drama television series that everyone misses so much, “Lincoln Heights”.
Charli >> Hi Erica, so nice to finally talk with you! How are you?
Erica >> I’m good, I don’t have any complaints!
Charli >> Great! So what actually jump started you in your acting/entertainment career?
Erica >> I think what jump started my career was doing a stage play. I had one line and it was at the age of 9, and they kept feeding this line into my head. “Make sure you say this line, make sure you say this line…”. So it was a house packed full of people and I don’t even remember being nervous. And I didn’t know what was about to go on so they kind of pushed me out on stage when it was time for me to say my line and I said it right and the crowd kind of like erupted. And they erupted into like laughter, cheering, and so after that I was like, “I like doing this!” “I can do more of this!”
So it was my theater experience.
Charli >> Well I absolutely loved Lincoln Heights! I watched it while it was airing on ABC Family, but recently I’ve been watching it on Netflix
But I notice, well to me, my opinion, the Sutton family has been the closest and strongest black family since the Huxtibles, so what was your experience like in working with the other cast members?
Erica >> My experience was phenomenal in working with the other cast members because I had studied Russell’s career up until that point. I was looking at all his work and that was like his 4th or 5th television show. And not a lot of people know that, but I was happy to be graced by his presence and also with Jen Sutton, because she was coming from “The Shield”. And THEN! To make it even better, I had my friend call me on the phone and she was like, “Oh my Gosh! You have to see this guy, he’s on stage right now, doing a one-man show. It is so good, it is so good!” So I was listening to her voice and I was like, “girl, okay, I don’t know.”
But thank goodness I went because guess who it was, Russell Hornsby.
And this was before Lincoln Heights. So when I started working with him, I was like, “oh my gosh I already know you and your talent! I’m happy to be here and be a Sutton”.
Charli >> So what was your best scene or episode of Lincoln Heights?
Erica >> I think, ummm, well I have a few scenes that I like. One of them was when I was being interrogated when my dad did the held up at the store and shot somebody accidentally. That was a good scene. But then on a happier episode was when Charles proposed to Cassie.
Erica >> Umm, yeah, so I’ll say those two scenes. You have a scene that was kind of a sad scene, then you have a scene that was really happy. So I would say both of those. And everything was great, we got along all 4 years, it was no drama, it was just perfect!
Charli >> So now you’re a cast member for BET’s “Let’s Stay Together”. What exactly interested you in that role to play Kita Whitmore?
Erica >> You know when I read the script, I was like, “Here we go again with another show centered around love.” Anytime you have a show based on marriage, in which “Lincoln Heights” was about and on “Let’s Stay Together”, the day up until they get married…I wanted to be apart of that because it’s so much drama on TV where people are fighting and kicking and screaming and yelling at each other. I want to be apart of something that consists of a happy family oriented type of project.
Charli >> Exactly. So what can fans look forward to in Season 2?
Erica >> Season twwooo!!!
Erica >> They’re bringing in lots and lots and lots of well known guest stars, so I can say that. Every episode is like, “Oh! There’s someone from the Real Housewives of Atlanta!”
Erica >> So they are bringing in tons of guest stars and I would have to say that I got to work with Kim Cole from Living Single.
Charli >> Cool! So have you gotten a chance to work with Queen Latifah, I know that she’s a producer of the show.
Erica >> You know, yes she is an executive producer, I love her! She’s like the head huncho
Erica >> You know she just oversees the project. And then also, the other head huncho is Jacque Edmonds Cofer, the creator of “Let’s Stay Together”.
Charli >> Okay, okay! So are there any similarities between you, Cassie, and Kita?
Erica >> Oh yeah! There are similarities between me and Cassie, and Kita. Although they are opposite characters, ummm sometimes I’m like really quiet and my friends would be like, “Come on let’s hang out and I’m like “noooo, I’m going to stay in the house and relax”… and I think Cassie is more of that shy type of person when she falls in love hard, like what happened when she met Charles. Then you have that boy stripped, loud, vocal Kita.
And so at times, you know if you catch me at the right moment, when I’m excited, people can’t get me to stop talking!
So it’s crazy because my family will be around me and in certain moments they’ll see me and be like, “Oh you acting like Cassie”.
And then in another moment they’ll be like “Oh, Hey Kita.”
And sometimes they don’t even call me by my name! They’ll come up to me and say, “Okay Cassie”.
Depending on what mood I’m in, and then it’s “Oh, Kita!”
Charli >>Haha, wow! So what has been you biggest challenge thus far?
Erica >> Ummm… well my biggest challenge… I would say, I think with me, and this may be a social thing, but people don’t think that I’m as approachable as I am. So people would just stare at me and won’t necessarily come talk to me, and I’m like “no I’m friendly!” But I get a lot of that. Or a lot of friends would start, you know, kind of talking more about, not necessarily “How you feeling, how you’re doing?!” But more so about my job and making that a conversation. Then I’m like, “I’m doing good!” You know, I just want to talk about normal stuff.
Charli >> Exactly, exactly.
Erica >> Sometimes I like to just have a conversation with a stranger and talk about life because they don’t know what I do and it’s more conversation.
Erica >> But if somebody knows what you’re doing then that’s all they’re going to talk about. “So what’s going on with you! Oh I like that episode when you…..” And I’m like “ahhhhhhh!!!!! Girl did you ever know my favorite color was red?”
I mean I don’t mind, but let’s have a balanced conversation. We can talk about my job, but then also, ask me genuinely, “How are you doing?”
Charli >> Well… haha, as it relates to that, do you have other interests or hobbies outside of your career?
Erica >> Yes. I. Do!
Erica >> My interest right now, is I’m writing a children’s book. And it’s about respecting each other. And the reason why I’m writing it is because I have a non profit, called The Erica Hubbard Foundation. The youth, they don’t respect each other, or let alone, respect adults. When you pass somebody, say “Hi, Hello, How are you?” And the “please and thank you’s”…You know… people aren’t doing that anymore.
Charli >> I agree.
Erica >> So I’m like, “We gotta write a book on respect”. Some adults need it just as well as some of the kids. So that’s one of my biggest interests. Also, I love, love traveling. I like seeing the world. Like I just came back from Tahiti and I liked to see how they cooked food underground and they put some leaves over there and smoked like their meats. If I went to the Island of Mariah , and they didn’t have any franchises. They had a gas station on the island, and something else but it wasn’t what you saw in the city life here. The stuff they drove, it was like nothing fancy, it was just a really laid back lifestyle. Man it’s people living on islands, still climbing trees, you know eating fruit off the trees!
To me, that’s amazing, because here we are, we can go to our local fast food chain and get some french fries and onion rings, and then people are eating fruit that we don’t even know about. And they have fruit that are cures for a lot of different illnesses. The noni fruit. I knew about it, because they sell it here like in your health food stores. And I knew about it because if I get ill, I drink it. It’s like a way of life, everyday fruit! It just grows like in bushes or something or trees, I forget what it grows on. But I was amazed. Like “Wow we don’t have this growing anywhere in the United States.” So yeah, I like seeing other cultures.
Charli >> Awesome! You briefly talked about your foundation, but I was going to get to that! So talk about you charity work and the Erica Hubbard Foundation.
Erica >> Well I decided to form a non profit called The Erica Hubbard Foundation. Because when I was working on Lincoln Heights, they had me going out speaking to a lot of youth. And when the show was over, I wanted to continue speaking to youth in inner cities dealing with poverty and low self esteem. So I formed the Erica Hubbard Foundation and anybody that emails me or calls me, I go out or I fly, I’ve been doing a lot of flying, to talk to schools, youth groups, community centers, churches, a college called me to do their commencement address.
Charli >> Wow congratulations!
Erica >> For their graduation, yep! So I just like to go and encourage people, because I feel that we need more people out here that encourages each other.
Charli>> What advice can you give to teens and young adults aspiring to act?
Erica >> Uhhhh… anybody that wants to enter the entertainment industry…. BEWARE! No I’m joking.
Charli >> That’s funny because I interviewed Raven Symone not too long ago and she said something quite similar.
Erica >> Awesome! Yes, it’s a lot of rejection. If you’re spirit can’t handle rejection, than don’t do it, because you have to have a good self esteem about yourself in order to make it in this industry. People will try and tell you “Uhh well we don’t want you in this…” and “uhhh”, and you have to hold you head up high and know that I am someone great and I can be something great. There are so many people that will try and ridicule you. But this is my passion and this is what I love to do, so why are you trying to tear me down?
Charli >> Right.
Erica >> And I’m trying to build myself up and build others up through my work. So all my work I’m happy to say, people that follow my career, every part that I’ve taken on is meaningful. It has a meaning to it. Even with “Let’s Stay Together” with the family and the love and relationships, it has a meaning to it. Commitment with “Lincoln Heights”, the commitment with being in a family and sticking together has meaning to it. So I just have to say, “If you don’t compromise yourself out here and do whatever, and you pick a project that’s meaningful, then I think your career will go a lot further than something temporary where you’re just going to exploit yourself. So that’s my advice, don’t fall victim of what people want you to do. What does your conscious say? Don’t compromise your integrity. That’s what I have to say. People will try to get you to do some of everything. But it’s up to you at the end of the day, is how you want people to see you.
Charli >> Well I am so excited to have gotten a chance to chat with you! I mean you’re so full of energy and full of life. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation!
Erica >> Yeah most people I have a conversation with they’re like, “Oh my goodness!”
Erica >> I just like to be happy and humble and I like talking with people because that’s life! Just to sit and talk to people and have casual conversation.
Sometimes I just like to enjoy the finer things in life and basically that could be a good conversation. You know?
Charli >> Yes, yes, you definitely have been he most energetic interview I’ve had! Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Erica >> Everybody just keep supporting me and what I’m doing, my foundation. I’m on twitter, I’m on facebook, so say hi! And you know, check out my website, http://www.ericahubbard.com and that’s about it!