By Michael P Coleman
Whatever happens to a dream deferred?
It’s a question that’s been asked for decades, perhaps most notably by Langston Hughes. For most, unfortunately, deferred dreams often go unfulfilled, many times by people who simply get caught up in the rush of getting day-to-day things done.
Budding actress Jeante Godlock is not one of those people.
You may have caught Godlock last month in the lead role in Lifetime’s The Simone Biles Story: Courage To Soar. If you did, you caught a star on the rise.
In her first leading feature role, Godlock more than held her own with veteran actors Tisha Martin-Campbell (Martin) and Julius Tennon (How To Get Away With Murder). Acting was Godlock’s first passion, but life, she says, took her on a detour.
Luckily for fans of great acting, Godlock has found her way back home.
“I starting acting when I was really young,” Godlock said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with THE HUB. “I fell in love with it, and I held onto this dream of acting and one day having my own series. But as time went on, life took me in every which way, and it became less and less my focus. I was kind of in survival mode: doing anything just to get by.”
“Then, in my last year of college, I took an acting class, and I realized that I really wanted to get back to acting, to what fulfilled me,” she continued. “So I did. And here I am!”
Godlock makes it sound effortless, doesn’t she? Perhaps it is for her — as effortless as playing a legendary Olympian on television, with veteran actors as her co-stars.
As confident as she is about her gift, the actress says that opportunity threw her.
“It was such an amazing experience,” Godlock recalls of filming The Simone Biles Story with Martin-Campbell and Tennon. “I watched Martin growing up — I’ve probably seen every episode. So it was just insane to me, such a crazy experience.”
“Tisha was amazing, like little mama bear on set, looking out for me,” the actress continued. “Whenever I had a heavy emotional scene, she would keep the crew from me and tell them to give me some space. And Julius was my little cheerleader, telling me I was doing great. To get that encouragement from those veteran actors was just so fulfilling.”
God may have given Godlock a bit of an advantage in securing the role, as she bears a striking resemblance to Biles. It’s something that she heard for years before landing the role.
“During the Olympics that year, I probably heard that three times a day,” Godlock laughs, of her resemblance to Biles. “When people would tell me I look like her, I remember thinking ‘I could play her,” but it was just a thought in the back of my head. And it’s one thing to be told you look like her, and quite another to portray her on television.”
“I really dug deep into Simone,” Godlock continued. “I wanted to get her mannerisms right, her cadence…I watched everything there was on Simone, every interview, everything on YouTube. I also studied her routines.”
“Everyone knows Simon Biles as this great Olympian,” Godlock said, “but we don’t see a lot of her home life. So I really wanted to do those scenes with her family justice. I think that relationship molded who she was as an Olympian and who she is as a person. Her road to the top was her family and her friends really pushing her and standing by her.”
When I asked Godlock about the highlight of filming the movie, she recalled the day she got to meet Biles.
“That was my favorite day,” Godlock gushed. “Simone told me it was like looking in a mirror, and we gave each other a huge hug. There’s a scene we shot where I’ve just finished performing and I’m waving to the crowd, and Simone was sitting right there when I filmed it! It almost felt like I was at the Olympics because Simone Biles was standing right there!”
“We still keep in touch,” Godlock says of her relationship with Biles. “We talk almost every day.”
As we wrapped up, the budding actress insisted that she has no plans to walk away from her career again.
“I’m working on a couple of projects right now, and I’m auditioning and studying right now,” Godlock said with the coyness of a Hollywood veteran. “We’ll see what happens for me.”
See you at the Emmys soon, Ms. Godlock.
Connect with Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP.
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