Don’t Waste Your Pretty star Deborah Joy chats filming during the pandemic and more

Don't Waste Your Pretty - Behind the scenes - Courtesy of TV One
Don't Waste Your Pretty - Behind the scenes - Courtesy of TV One /

Best-known for her role as songbird Charity Greenleaf on OWN’s NAACP Image Award-winning drama series Greenleaf, Deborah Joy is a talented actress and singer who stars alongside Keri Hilson in the upcoming TV One film Don’t Waste Your Pretty, based on the book of the same name by Demetria L. Lucas.

Airing this Sunday, Feb. 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, Don’t Waste Your Pretty is the perfect dose of escapism for your quarantine blues. The film centers on a tight-knit group of friends who turn to each other to help navigate their turbulent life issues and love lives, from big moves to romance and beyond.

Joy’s character, Jeanné is a recent divorcée considering taking the plunge into a new relationship, but will her past hold her back? Apart from Joy, the film also stars Keri Hilson, Redaric Williams, Jasmine Burke and Kaye Singleton.

Read our exclusive interview with Deborah Joy about Don’t Waste Your Pretty

Hidden Remote: Don’t Waste Your Pretty was one of the first movies to film during the pandemic, what was that experience like?

Deborah Joy: It was interesting, a lot of testing. But I’m grateful because the production company really created a safe place, a safe bubble for us to do what we do best. We were able to do a whole production with no positive COVID tests, so that was awesome. I’m happy we were able to do it.

Hidden Remote: I felt like Don’t Waste Your Pretty lent itself to the filming conditions because it feels very intimate, with a lot of scenes where it’s just friends hanging out and chatting. Was that how the script was originally envisioned or was it altered at all?

Deborah Joy: It was! Well, they may have altered some things, but originally it was written to be a very intimate, sort of, the audience peering into the lives of these people as opposed to the people bringing an audience in.

So it did lend itself to those shooting conditions, which was pretty awesome. We certainly had less of a crew than what you would typically have, it was a skeleton crew for sure, but everyone worked doubly hard to make it happen and to make sure everyone remained safe. It was pretty dope. The script worked the way it was supposed to work for those times.

Don't Waste Your Pretty
Don’t Waste Your Pretty – Behind the scenes – Courtesy of TV One /

Hidden Remote: The chemistry between everyone felt very natural. Did you guys get a chance to get to know each other outside of the film or did it just happen that way on set automatically?

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned during this pandemic is to love and not let the little things steal your joy or your peace.

Deborah Joy: You know it just happened automatically but isn’t that really fun when it just comes together that way? It was delightful! I had not met any of them before we started shooting and our director, Tamara Bass, was certainly part of making sure we had a set that felt family-oriented and together and then Keri Hilson is lovely.

I absolutely consider her a lifelong friend. She was so much fun, she was so funny, the moments you see on-screen where we’re laughing and enjoying each other — we really were laughing and enjoying each other on such a real level that I think it all just translated so beautifully. I love, love, love her.

Everyone was just phenomenal. People brought their A-game. They came to do the work. We recognized that being able to do something in a time when most things are shut down and most people are still trying to figure out what kind of work they can do, it was a blessing to have that work, so everybody came prepared to do their job and do it well. I think that also created an atmosphere where people just wanted to enjoy each other and do what we were supposed to do!

Hidden Remote: I think that really comes across when you’re watching it. It’s a great little bit of escapism, especially during this time. Is there anything you’ve been doing to keep your mind off of things?

Deborah Joy: Well, I just wrapped another film, so that’s been taking up a lot of time and that was really great. I’ve worked on some music, so I’ve been using my time wisely, which I’m really grateful for. I also just got President Barack Obama’s new book, so I’m reading that! I’m just enjoying life.

Honestly, I think one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned during this pandemic is to love and not let the little things steal your joy or your peace. Life is going to be life regardless, so enjoy it! Enjoy every day and not just the big things. Be happy and love yourself and love each other! That’s what it’s gonna be for me. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

Don't Waste Your Pretty
Don’t Waste Your Pretty star Deborah Joy – Courtesy of Derek White Photography /

Hidden Remote: That’s definitely a healthy mindset to have! And actually, speaking of books, were you familiar with the book Don’t Waste Your Pretty is based on beforehand?

Deborah Joy: I was not familiar with the book before I did the film, and then we got to meet Demetria Lucas, who is absolutely lovely, what a wonderful woman. It’s actually on my list of reads! I have not read it yet but I’ve gotten some of the pointers from the film.

A lot of the things that are in the film were taken directly from the book, so I was like, “Oh, so you kind of know what you’re talking about!” [Laughs] She’s a lovely woman and I look forward to reading her book. I look forward to people gravitating toward the love of it all, which is something that I think this film was able to showcase.

Hidden Remote: To wrap things up, I know you said you wanted people to take away the message of love in the movie, but is there anything else you hope audiences walk away feeling?

Deborah Joy: Specifically, coming from my character Jeanné, I hope that people recognize that it’s way too hard, or really just impossible, to move forward when you’re clenching so tightly to your past, and your hurt, and your pain, from way back when. In order to move forward and be everything you’re supposed to be in life, and see, a lot of times, what is right in front of you, you gotta stop looking back so that you can look forward.

You’ve got to stop holding on to the past so you can embrace what’s right in front of you. I think that’s one of the biggest things I want people to walk away with. We’ve all been through something and life is going to happen but if you hold on to everything you’ve been through and everything that has hurt you, you’ll never have space or room to embrace everything that is good for you.

Check out the official trailer for Don’t Waste Your Pretty, premiering this weekend:

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Catch Deborah Joy starring in Don’t Waste Your Pretty this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TV One!