Donshea Hopkins Demonstrates Millennial Power
Sixteen-year-old actress Donshea Hopkins has no limits. After being featured in 2009 on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Hopkins landed the role of Raina on the popular crime drama Power in 2015. The series--produced by rapper 50 Cent--featured Hopkins' character for 20 episodes before screening her death, sparking outrage among Power’s fandom. Hopkins' next endeavor was an appearance as Monica in a few episodes of one of the most-watched Netflix series worldwide: Orange is the New Black. However, she is currently featured in a new TV series called The Bobby Brown Story about the legendary R&B musician (Hopkins plays his daughter, Bobbi Kristina). Besides her acting career, this superstar is also a singer; not to mention, she has an individual record label under her own name. She has released multiple songs over the past two years, all of which have a pop, upbeat vibe to them. Taking a break from her busy schedule, Hopkins took the time to answer some of my pressing questions about her inspirations, exciting red carpet events, and what it was like to audition for Orange is the New Black.
How did you first develop your passion for acting?
Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to act. When I was three-years-old, I told my mom for the millionth time that I wanted to be an actress when I grow up, but I didn’t really know what it felt like until I walked on a set for the first time when I was four. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be an actress for the rest of my life.
Are there any particular actors or actresses that inspire you?
Viola Davis, hands down. I love her dedication to the arts and how focused she is on making each role she plays her own. She’s not afraid to be vulnerable and break down in front of the camera. She’s also an activist and feminist, which makes her a major hero in my book.
What was the audition process like for Orange is the New Black?
Honestly, it was just a typical audition for me that my agent sent me out on. The overall process was fun but hectic. I auditioned for four other characters before Monica came along. Even though all the other characters were great, I just felt like they didn’t fit me, and obviously casting directors felt the same way...LOL. When I auditioned for Monica Hayes, there was a certain spunk about her that I liked and I really felt like I could make her character my own, even though I can’t relate to her personally.
What was the most challenging part about playing Monica Hayes?
The most challenging part was portraying her carelessness. She feels as if she’s lost so much already with her mom being incarcerated and her grandmother constantly lying to her about her mother’s whereabouts.
What was your favorite part about taking on the role?
The best part was getting to let loose and go crazy on camera!
How do your characters on Power and Orange is the New Black differ?
Raina from Power is a much more reserved and respectable character than Monica. Raina is loyal, dependable, and not afraid to cry here and there—overall, she is more emotionally complex.
What was it like attending the BET Awards?
It was absolutely amazing. I met so many celebrities that I look up to and admire. Most of them knew who I was and are fans of my work, which made the night even more magical.
How did you pick out your outfit for the evening?
About a week before the awards, one of my stylists and I picked out a few pieces from Dreams On Air, a multi-designer clothing store in Soho. Then we did a fitting and picked which pieces would look best together. I actually ended up taking almost everything to L.A. because I couldn’t pick what I liked best. I rummaged through my bags and picked out my outfit an hour before the red carpet!
How you plan on using your celebrity to make a difference in the world?
I always give back to the community whether it’s donating holiday gifts to a local shelter, giving away free school supplies, or allowing kids from all over New York to participate in my music video. But in the coming years, I plan to contribute globally, in different states and countries around the world. More specifically, I would like to ensure that all kids have the right to a proper education, nourishment, and physical and mental care.
What are your future plans in terms of your singing and acting career?
To continue doing what I’m doing but on a larger scale. I hope to produce, direct, and star in my own show. I would also like to write movie franchises, design clothing and accessories, and tour around the world with my music. Hopefully, I can snag some Academy Awards in the future as well.