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Logan Browning: Making her way to the top

She wants to be great. Even in the lighthearted moments — and there are lots of them — you can still sense that a greater purpose lies within actress Logan Browning. As the star of VH1’s breakout dance drama “Hit the Floor,” Browning has seen her fair share of the spotlight. But even as legions of fans continue to shower her with never-ending praise, it’s not difficult to spot that a fire for more still burns deep within.

During a recent visit to rolling out’s Atlanta headquarters, Browning was able to kick back and reflect on the journey that brought her to this moment in time, as well as the hard work that still lies ahead for her. Throughout her revealing time with us, two things remained consistent: her intent desire to be the best Logan she can be; and her belief that humility and humanity will help keep her on top.

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I’ve noticed a habit of yours. When people shower praises on you, you tend to deflect the credit to those around you, particularly your family.

It’s because I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love, support, and sacrifices of my family. I owe them a lot.

Speaking of family, how did your upbringing help you stay grounded while working your way up the ranks in the entertainment industry?

In high school, specifically, I started bouncing around as soon as I started to act professionally. I went from school to school, to home schooling myself, to private school, and back and forth from L.A. to Atlanta. It was my mom who brought me back to Atlanta to go to Fayette County High School. [I went] there for two consecutive years and graduated as a senior, after which I went to college. It’s weird to talk about “staying grounded” when you don’t think about the opposite as an option. Personally, when someone asks me, “How do you stay so grounded?” I just never thought of not being grounded. You don’t see yourself the way other people see you, so I just see myself as doing what my parents raised me to be: an independent, Christian, intelligent woman.

As far as Hollywood goes, what is your master plan to make your mark in this world?

I think that my plan and my goals in terms of Hollywood have changed from when I first started out to now. When I was young and I first started, it was fame. I wanted to be a star. I wanted to be it. As I’ve progressed, specifically in this year, my 25th year, I’ve had to re-evaluate what my goals are. I now believe that I want to do this as long as I can, successfully and meaningfully. And like Drake says, “As soon as I stop having fun, I’ll be done with it.” I feel like I want to get to the point where people will hear my voice and I will be able to use it in another way. I want to branch outside of the acting world if that’s where God leads me. There have been a lot of times in my life where I’ve prayed and thought I was done. I hadn’t booked anything for a year and was going to move back to Atlanta, and then I booked “Meet the Browns,” and it brought me back to Atlanta. That’s my thing, I really do ask for my answers and I get them, clear as day.

Take me through the moments that led you to “Meet the Browns” and “Hit the Floor.” What did you expect and ultimately learn from those processes?

“Meet the Browns” came upon my life when I was 19, and in L.A. by myself without a guardian. The writer’s strike had hit, and I didn’t work for a year. I booked “Meet the Browns,” and moved back to Atlanta. I appreciated that job so much because it was fun and people remember me from it. It’s a good piece of work to be remembered from because it’s a family show. It was like a boot camp because Tyler Perry films very differently from how the rest of Hollywood films. He films an episode in a day, while other people would do one in a week. So, it gave me the sense of knowing that every moment counts, to show up at every moment, and to be ready when everyone else is ready. It just taught me to always be on my game no matter what the circumstances were, and to roll with the punches. Truthfully, it has been like the turning point in my life because it helped me to remember to keep God in the forefront of my life and in my career and to make sure that other people know it.

“Hit the Floor” started around three years ago. It came one pilot season, and there was this role of “Ahsha” that I was so excited about. She was this young dancer that was new to this team and I just knew that she was me. I auditioned for the role and got a callback. Then they asked me to read for Jelena, and everyone sees me as a b—-. I didn’t want to play that role for my whole life. So they asked me to read and told me that if I came back, I could come back as Ahsha. So I came back and I didn’t get it. I thought it was the worst audition of my life. So months passed, and I got a call from them asking me to come read for Jelena again. By this point, it was the end of pilot season, and I needed a job, so I did it. They asked me to test for her, and I was up against these two amazing actress-dancers, and I knew there was no way I was getting it. And on my way home, they called me and offered me the role. I was so confused because I really thought I knew what was meant for me, and strangely I didn’t. Jelena has been a role that has livened my life and my work. It’s brought focus in my career to take myself more seriously, and to ask myself, “What am I capable of?” It was a really cool process.

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As far as your fans and people who are obsessed with your show “Hit the Floor,” is there a responsibility that comes with such a cult following?

Strangely, the show had this following before it even started. I think it’s a mixture of the actors and the dancers coming from all these different places and it all coming together into this pop culture phenomenon. Then the advertisements, the trailer and the show hit, and everyone loved it. Of course, we knew it was special, but for everyone else to think so gave us a sense of knowing we have this “fan family.” The show definitely wants to please the fans; it wants to entertain and surprise them. Personally, I have to teeter on this line between wanting the fans to be satisfied and happy, because they are the ones that helped to propel my career, but also at the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I also have to be happy. My values, goals and objectives are always going to be first, while still keeping the thought of the fans in my head.

Is there danger in actors being pigeonholed and viewed only as a certain character type? Is there fear of the character becoming bigger than the person?

I think I was afraid of getting pigeonholed from the start, which is why I didn’t want Jelena. I had already played the mean girl role before, and I didn’t want another opportunity to be pigeonholed as that character. But, after doing so, I think that I’ve already had enough roles that were different from Jelena to where I don’t feel like I would be [pigeonholed]. My personal belief in my talent is that I can do anything I put my mind to. My mom always says, “Vanessa Williams always played that role and she laughed all the way to the bank.” So, it just depends on what your prerogative is. If there was another role that happened to be a villain or a mean girl and I liked it, hell yeah I’d do it. It’s following work that you like. As an actor, you’re going to want variety and challenges.

How do you use your gifts and the connections that you make to do other things you’re passionate about? How does that work hand in hand with your career?

I used to view acting as “me,” but I don’t anymore. Acting is a part of me, but it’s not the whole thing. I think when I acknowledge only that, I forget the other things that I’ve done in my life like going to school, volunteering, creating new ideas and entrepreneurial ventures. I get inspired by other people, and keep my eyes and ears open to other things that are going to inspire me.

DeWayne Rogers
DeWayne Rogers

I write. I create. I take photos. In my spare time, I'm also a part-time super-hero. Go figure.

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