Actress Kimberly Elise – whose credits include Diary of a Mad Black Woman, For Colored Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy – is starring in the UP original movie Apple Mortgage Cake. The film is based on the true story of Angela Logan – a single, working mom with three teenage boys who sets a goal to bake 100 cakes in 10 days to save her New Jersey home from foreclosure. Apple Mortgage Cake premieres on Sunday, April 20 at 7 p.m. (EST).
Celebrity Baby Scoop recently caught up with Kimberly to chat about the movie and her two daughters Butterfly and Ajableu.
CBS: You play Angela Logan in the upcoming UP movie Apple Mortgage Cake. How did you come across this role?
KE: “It was sent to me by my agent and I read it and loved it. It was inspiring for Angela, a single mom, to have the balls to solve the situation she was in. I thought, ‘Yeah, I want to play Angela Logan.’”
CBS: Is more difficult to play a role based on a living person versus a fictional character?
KE: “Not necessarily. There are inclinations you want to take if they are still living, like honoring them. Angela is also an actress and she’s in the film with a small part, so she came on set for a lot of the filming. I had her as a great resource; I could watch her and pick up some of her mannerisms, vocal tendencies, and things like that that I could use for the characterization. It was really wonderful.”
CBS: What was it about Angela’s story that made you want to be a part of this project?
KE: “I wanted to do something lighter, have some fun, and mix in some drama. I thought it was so inspiring and I felt that there was such a signature in the country right now, as people are going through hard times. I thought it’s really wonderful to have someone to look at to give you hope and encouragement in a situation that may be very similar to what a lot of people are going through, with moving homes, being a single mom, trying to keep it together, and all of that. She’s someone you can relate to who makes you feel better or give you an idea. I thought I’d like to be a part of that.”
CBS: You worked with a lot of talented actors on this film, what was it like on set?
KE: “It was really fun. I got to work with Kevin Hanchard who is a really amazing actor on a show in Canada called Orphan Black. Lamar Johnson, AJ Saudin, and Millie Davis are also wonderful young actors coming in to their own voices, so that was really fun. It was freezing cold because we shot in Canada. I’m a Minnesota girl, born and raised, and this blew my mind! [laughs] It was incredibly cold, but we loved what we were doing so much that we pushed through all of that and just did the work. Playing Angela, I was in literally every scene so there were days where I had 10, 15 20 pages of dialog and it was freezing cold and intense.
However, you walk away feeling really proud. We had crew members come up to us and say, ‘I cried on my camera and my tears were freezing!’ [laughs] You know that something is working when you make people feel emotional in sub-zero weather.”
CBS: You’re the mom of two beautiful daughters (Butterfly, 16 and Ajableu, 24). How do you think Angela’s story inspire them?
KE: “Her story will inspire them and so many people, because she believed in herself. She didn’t spend a whole lot of time feeling sorry for herself. She said, ’Okay, let me figure this out now.’ I think that there is something inside of all of us that guides as a voice, an idea, or a whisper, and if you trust it and go with it then you can solve a lot of problems in ways that you could never imagine. I raised my girls knowing that they shouldn’t be scared to trust their gift, be creative, and be a problem solver.”
CBS: Your daughter’s both have beautiful unique names, is there a special meaning behind their names?
KE: “Ajablue is my oldest and I don’t think the name had special meaning, but her personality has given it a special meaning. I thought Ajablue sounded beautiful. My youngest, Butterfly, actually renamed herself at a very young age- she was about two years old. She was very adamant about being named Butterfly. It stuck until she was about 12 and wanted to legally change it, so it was legally changed. She’s always been Butterfly; she named herself.”
CBS: What are your daughters up to these days?
KE: “My oldest just graduated college and turned 24 a couple of weeks ago. She’s getting ready to head off to Morocco to do some volunteer work and see the world. She’s a writer. My youngest is in the 9th grade in high school and is just having the high school experience. They are wonderful girls. They’re partners in life. We’re really journeying together and I feel really blessed to have them. It’s been a lot of fun, because they’re great girls.”
CBS: What kinds of things do you enjoy doing together to have fun?
KE: “We love to go to the spa. Ajablue just had her birthday and we all went to a spa and had a wonderful time. We also love sitting on the couch and watching movies. We’ll also stand around the kitchen counter and crack each other up with stories about the day. Our lives are very simple in so many ways and we have the same sense of humor, so we crack each other up constantly. It could be anything, from hiking with the dogs to just being around, whatever we do we love doing it together.”
CBS: Now that your girls are older, how has your relationship changed?
KE: I’ve always treated my daughters like people. I never treated them like they didn’t have intelligence or like they didn’t have the ability to decide things for themselves. I encourage that. We’ve always had very open communication, so even when they were young children, I spoke to them as people who were full of conscious awareness. Now that they are older, there is a trust level and an open communication flow that we share. That has stayed consistent; things haven’t really changed and they are the same people that they were a long time ago. As they’ve gotten older and had more life experience, like my older one, they sort of share in the day to day, such as dating stories and meeting the right guys. Aja and I share those stories and Butterfly has started to chime in with her opinion on this guy or that guy. It’s always been open. The only thing that has changed is that as they have gotten older, their experiences have started to match mine more.”
CBS: What kind of a mom would your daughters say that you are?
KE: “I would say that they would say I am very dedicated. They have always felt that they have come first. They’d say I’m fun very strong and very loving. I feel confident today that they would say they are happy to have me as their mom.”
CBS: What is the greatest lesson you hope you’ve taught them to be prepared to face adversity in life?
KE: “I always tell them no matter what it is or what happens to be gracious even when things don’t make sense in the moment. So even in the hardest circumstances, remind yourself that you can make it and get through it the best way that you can. That has saved me over and over. Even if there is stress, worry, and anxiety in today’s challenges, when I play back my life I see that everything did work out. They are learning that and I think it is a great life lesson.”
CBS: What is your favorite way to spend Mother’s Day?
KE: “I like to be pampered and I like to eat breakfast in bed. I want to start with breakfast in bed and continue in that way throughout the day.” They know it’s coming and I’m like, ‘Get ready!’”[laughs]
CBS: Do you have any new projects coming up that you’d like to tell us about?
KE: “Of course, Apple Mortgage Cake is premiering April 20th on Up, and my TV show Hit The Floor, which I love, is airing May 26th on VH1. I have another movie coming out in April called A Day Late and a Dollar Short airing April 19th on Lifetime. It’s a busy time.”