Flavour’s Annika Allen talks to Tika Sumpter about landing her biggest role to date playing alongside Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in “Ride Along” as Kevin Hart’s love interest. She shares her health and beauty secrets and discusses the things that really turn her off!
Let’s first talk about Ride along. How did you feel when you found out you got the role in the film?
I was so excited! Actually Kevin and Will Packer who is the producer of the film called me from the car to let me know I got it. From the start to the end it was exciting. I’m just proud of the movie and that it did so well. We worked with a really great group of people. Universal have also been awesome to me so I’m just glad that I am a part of that family.
What was it like on set with Kevin and Ice Cube?
Hilarious, it was absolutely crazy and everything you would wanna see. Kevin makes me laugh nonstop and Cube is a big teddy bear. They just go word for word and tit for tat when were on set. It’s so much fun. When it’s just me and Kevin, it’s crazy. He’s absolutely bonkers, it’s always fun, all I did was laugh basically.
What was the craziest thing Kevin did on set?
It’s not that he did crazy [things], he just talks crazy. He just says anything, anything that he wants to say he just say says it,(laughs) it’s like brain farts all the time(laughs).Anything that comes to mind, he [acts] on it.( laughs) You know, whether it’s me not having a man or whatever just anything (laughs) or he’s like “don’t get pregnant Tikka” it’s crazy! (Laughs)
When you were making the film, did you realize it would be as successful as it was?
I don’t think anybody thought it would be [as successful] as it is right now, I think we knew that there was a special chemistry on set, and that when they were editing it and stuff like that, there was something special there and we knew that it was gonna be a great movie! The support was out from the fans and the people who saw it [in the cinema) it was tremendous. I don’t think anybody expected that, everybody kept calling just in awe of the numbers. We’re just grateful to the fans because without them, obviously it wouldn’t be where it is and we’re proud of the movie and to Tim Story for directing it, and making it what it is.
Because of the success of the Filf, we hear Ride Along 2 is in the works?
Yeah, I just got the script. I haven’t read it yet so I’m excited about that, we’re about to shoot soon and it should be fun. We left off with me getting engaged, and I think they’re gonna be in Miami or something and Kevin’s a cop now so it’s definitely gonna be another adventure.
It sounds fantastic; I look forward to seeing it! Let’s talk about you working with Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. How’s that been? How excited were you when you got that call, it must been an amazing experience?
Oh gosh, it’s been dreams come true. I just feel really blessed and I’ve worked really hard, but whenever you’re in the presence of an Oprah Winfrey you’re just like “what did I do (laughs) to get this honour?” You know? She’s just a wonderful person, so successful and she’s spiritual and just friendly, and invigorating and she’s a dream builder and she wants you to win. It’s just amazing being in that camp with Tyler as well who is the same way. I’m just proud to be part of building a network with these amazing ratings. It helps the network, and I am just proud to be a part of that.
What’s the best advice they’ve given you since you have been working with them?
Dream bigger. Dream way bigger than I have been dreaming.
What is the dream?
I’m doing [it] now; I’m in the process of producing and creating, and finding people that are great writers and getting films made and creating my own lane. I don’t live and die by somebody’s yes and no. You know? That’s what I am doing now there’s so many different things I am creating and I just feel like I really can do anything because I see the examples in front of me. People who have probably been told “no” so many times and “You can’t do this and you can’t do that” and it all happens! They’ve given me the tools to basically say “Well yeah I can, I can do this”. I basically have the people surrounding me to accomplish it so I’m doing that stuff now.
Amazing! Let’s talk a bit about fashion. Obviously when you were in Gossip Girl the wardrobe on there for you and the characters was absolutely amazing. Who are your favourite designers and how would you describe your style?
Well, What I found on the show was that it was very conservative but chic and you know that closet was killer! You walk into this amazing closet with these great designers. They mix high end and low end together with great shoes and great jewellery and up and coming designers and things like that together. You have a beautiful outfit and I think Gossip Girl taught me the value of great pieces and that everything doesn’t have to be super expensive but if you can get some great pieces in your wardrobe and just mix and match then I think you win.
My style it depends. I’m a Gemini, so I’m up and down. Sometimes I feel bohemian, sometimes I feel preppy. My wardrobe is a bunch of different people (laughs) so I mix high and low all the time. I mean I will invest in a great bag and great shoes but I can get away with going to Nasty Gal or any of those kinds of websites and putting an outfit together. I might buy a nice dress from Matches fashion but then I’ll get some cool Gap jeans. I don’t know who their new designer is, but I bought like 5 pairs of the gap legging jeans and that’s all I wear when I wear jeans.
Sounds good! In a lot of the shows that you have been in, you always have a great figure. In Ride Along there was a scene with quite tiny shorts and I thought “Oh my God”. You obviously seem quite comfortable with your body. What sort of thing do you do to stay healthy and stay looking good?
I dance, I do Zumba, I have to change it up, I do Pure barre, and I do a bunch of different things. It’s hard for me to do one thing all the time change it up. Sometimes I go for a run it just depends what I’m in the mood for. I definitely need to get on the bar right now as I ate a pack of donuts yesterday (laughs). I’m waiting for my mum right now, she’s actually doing Zumba. I think I’m gonna go and do Pure Barre or something.
Are you quite a healthy eater?
Oh, yeah I love to eat so that’s why I think “Ok, if I’m gonna eat this I probably need to work out” I’m a foodie, I love to eat good food and if it’s not good food it’s just a waste of my time (laughs).
I’ve been looking at some pictures of you and you sometimes have a bob, and then long hair. Do you have a favourite look that you’ve had over the years?
Honestly I like really short hair, I used to have this short hair look and I didn’t wear it for a really long time but I love short hair and I’m hoping that could be my next thing. I just wanna be consistent in what I wear, I usually just wear long hair but right now I’ve been wearing a lot of buns actually, either up or pulled back or pony tails. I just like to keep it very simple. So right now my favourite is a cute pulled back from the face pony tail or a nice parted down the middle bun. Nothing crazy.
Let’s talk about Tika and dating. Are you dating at the moment? What’s the deal?
I’m dating but I’m not an all over the place dater, I have to date one person at a time because it’s so much energy [laughs] to be dating all these people. I don’t know how do people do it?
So what can a guy do to impress you on a date?
The kind of guy that interests me is a smart guy. I love listening to smart guys talk. Just knowing what they’re talking about or teaching me something. I just love a man that is intelligent, that’s a turn on to me. You can be cute and stuff, but when you’re smart I just feel that can never go away.
What is a turn off for you?
When a guy brags about what he has, I hate that. I can’t do it, it just annoys me. It just shows how green you are. Who cares, no one cares, stop.
Would you ever date a celebrity?
Yeah I would. I use to say I would never date an actor, but honestly I get why actors date each other. You kind of get the whole situation of what’s happening in life, there are no questions. I understand the attraction to it, but I also understand why people don’t as well because I’ve done both. When they’re not in the industry, they don’t totally understand.
Tell me a must read book that has changed your life?
I’m actually reading this book called 1984 by George Orwell. Oh my, its blowing mind. It’s about the totalitarian government which has basically taken over. It’s really about big brother watching, It rings true to right now… there’s a camera everywhere and there’s so many things you can’t do. It’s a matrix and its crazy and I think everyone should read it just to have your eyes opened about what’s going on in the world right now.
What angers you most about society today?
What angers me most is people’s ignorance. It could be anything from daily questions, things that people ask you and you’re like “really”, to racism, to different governments thinking their people are dumb, there’s a lot of different things. I wish people would just think and have a little bit more empathy in life for others.
Lastly, being an African American woman with dark skin in this industry, have you found it harder to achieve success? Has this had any effect on your career?
If it did I didn’t know it, because I was very naïve about my career anyway thinking that [my success] could happen regardless of if I had no connection to this industry. I kind of went about things like “oh I’m not right for this, oh okay cool well somebody will like me” kind of mentality. I never really thought my skin colour was a negative thing so I just thought whatever I had inside would shine through and people would like it no matter what and my talent would speak for itself so that’s kind of the mantra. My beauty may not be like everybody else’s but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable and I hold myself very valuable, I feel like I am valuable in many aspects not just on the outside, I just hope that shines through and people see it and think “ Oh my god, we like her, we love her let’s do something with her.”
Ride Along will be available to own on Blu-ray and DVD from 30 June courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK). You can find out more about Tika and her health and beauty secrets on her lifestyle website www.tikasumpter.com