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May 2007
THE SALON: An Interview with Taral Hicks

THE SALON: An Interview with Taral Hicks
By Wilson Morales

Coming out in theaters is a film that features a number of talent we havenÕt seen on the big screen in some time. The film is ŌThe SalonĶ and it stars Vivica Fox as the owner of a beauty salon trying to keep her business afloat while her employees go about their daily business, which is doing hairstyles and gossiping about anything. Also featured in the film are Terrence Howard, SNLÕs Garrett Morris, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Dondre Whitfield, who played Robert on the Cosby Show years ago, and Taral Hicks. If you donÕt remember Taral Hicks, she played the role of DMXÕs girlfriend in Hype WilliamsÕs debut film, ŌBellyĶ, and if that doesnÕt strike a bell, you may remember her as the black girl that was going out with the white boy in Robert De NiroÕs A Bronx Tale. Now, thatÕs going way back for some of you, but Hicks hasnÕt done a lot of films that would grab your attention except for these two. At one point, she had a album called ŌThis TimeĶ, which had many collaborations such as Teddy Riley and Missy Elliot. That was then and this is now, and Hicks is back on the big screen playing opposite a bevy of talent. While speaking to blackfilm.com, Hicks talks about her role, working with Vivica Fox, and where her music career is going.

What’s your role in the film?

Taral Hicks: I play the role of Trina, and she’s a golddigger. She does whatever it takes to get the paper, and she’s all about looking fly and being a little diva.

It’s been some time since we last saw you on the big screen. What made you take this role?

TH: Well, I went out for it and because I have a passion for doing her hair. I took up the trade in high school. I thought it would be cool. I have family that own salons and I know this world and this is something I wanted to be a part of. Not only that, but the great actors that are also in the movie with Vivica Fox, Darrin Henson, Terrence Howard, and Monica Calhoun, and the list goes on. It’s a great cast to work with.

Having grown up with family in the salon business, did you ever go through any terrible ordeal?

TH: Actually, I had gotten a terrible dye that I hated and it took out all my hair and I had to grow it and wore wigs for a minute until it grew back in. There are a lot of things that could wrong and you really trust your life with your stylist. There are the ones that are going to make you look wonderful and if they don’t achieve that, then it’s a bad mistake. So yes, I have had a bad experience in a salon.

Are you a stylist as well? What’s the best hair that you have done?

TH: Actually, I love to do braids. I can do braids for like 16 hours straight. I love to do hair.

Although the film is being release in theaters now, you had shot this sometime in 2005. In that time period, we have had “Nora’s Hair Salon” with Jenifer Lewis, “Beauty Shop” with Queen Latifah and “Hair Show” with Mo’Nique. Have you seen those films?

TH: I have. I saw them and they were good but I don’t they are as great as our film. I think our film goes a little deeper into the salon. It touches the heart of people and not only that I feel that this film will show people exactly what it feels to be in your own neighborhood salon, only this time they are feeling exactly what they experience when they go to their own salons. It’s funny, it’s serious. You get a little emotional. It’s a geat film. It’s a great film for a family.

While shooting this film with this heavy amount of talent, were you able to pick up or teach anyone the tools of the trade?

TH: Definitly with Ms. Vivica Fox. She is a pro at what she does. I got a lot of tips just being with her and being in front of the camera. The camera sometimes will film you normal expressions and it doesn’t pick it up the way it would if you were a little more dramatic, and although you are being dramatic it doesn’t come off that way when they are actually filming it. Just watching her, I love her and I love her work. She’s a perfectionist at what she does and I’m striving to be the same way.

Why haven’t we seen you in a lot of films? You had a featured role in “Belly” but there hasn’t been much follow-up to that except for a few TV guest appearances. Has it been a challenge to get roles?

TH: You know what, it has been a challenge to get quality roles. There are a lot that I could take and go, but I’m just at the point in my life where I won’t take any roles. I want roles that are meaningful. I want roles that are going to teach a young girl a lesson or show them that it’s not always the way that they see it and that somebody else is in their shoes; they’re just trying to show them a different way of doing it. Sometimes when you show the youth themselves they you get a chance to see where they are, you might be able to make a difference in a movie and steer them in a different direction other than the path that they are taking. Right now, that’s my mission. I’m just trying to find quality roles that can actually change somebody’s life that may be in a bad position or may not have any direction.

Have you been going out for auditions?

TH: Yes, I have been going out, but the cards are only in God’s hands as far as what I get chose for and whatever I get chosen for, you better believe that I will put my heart and my soul into it and it’s going to be right because you will know it when you see it.

What’s going on with your musical skills? Still singing?

TH: Yes, but with my music now, I’m working on an inspirational album. It’s going to be inspirational, but youthful, hip hop, and R & Bish. I’m just all about dubbing out positive energy and helping someone grow in their life. Ultimately, that’s what important. The decisions that you make in your lifetime ultimately achieve where you want to be when you’re hitting 45 and 50 and you can look back at your life and say, “You know what, I did some great things and I made some good decisions”.

What keeps you grounded when you are not acting?

TH: I love going to church. I’m in church singing in the choir, just spending time with my family and waking in the park, meditating, and moving in a positive direction.

With all the big blockbusters and sequels coming out now, why should folks go see “The Salon”?

TH: You should go see “The Salon” because it’s a warm, heartfelt movie. It’s about us, for us. It shows just all types of emotion that I think we can relate to and at the end of the day everybody wants to be a winner; and at the end of the day, “The Salon” turns out to be a winner.

THE SALON opens on May 11th, 2007


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