Unlike many other stars, Luckett never “went crazy.” The obviously grounded Southern girl has an easygoing charm and a goofball sense of humor that have undoubtedly helped her keep her wits amid the drama of her old group, the scrutiny that some of her past relationships have garnered, and the sometimes difficult hurdles a singer can face when venturing into the world of acting. Luckett has quietly developed a strong acting résumé, generating buzz with her appearances on “Single Ladies,” (which was recently canceled by VH1 and picked up by Centric); HBO’s “Treme,” and a host of other TV shows and films — the newest being the drama From the Rough (opens nationwide April 25.) The film tells the true story of the first African American woman, Catana Starks, to coach a PGA national collegiate team. Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson plays Starks in the film.
“She did this on her own, by herself without a lot to work with, and she did some amazing things with these boys,” says Luckett. “Not only in helping them to grow in their craft, but also to grow them up as young men. Taraji did an amazing job with this. She taught me a lot, I learned a lot from just watching her on set. It’s one of the first films [I’ve done.] And the story of [Stark’s] life … is just crazy. I was blessed to meet her.
“I think it’s very important, especially in our community, to celebrate the hard work of people who sacrifice themselves and their time to try and better people. And regardless of — especially with Catana — [who] was dealing with things on her own but was so selfless. She opened the doors for so many women. And as a matter of fact, one of the guys she coached ended up being Tiger Woods’ golf coach,” she adds.
“I was kind of thrown into this [acting] thing,” Luckett explains. “My first audition was [the 2010 Christian drama] Preacher’s Kid. Four days before the shoot date, they called and asked me if I wanted to play the lead role. I had not done a movie before — [so] to carry a movie on my back on my own with no training, no nothing? I hadn’t been to school for this! But God had a plan for me. An acting coach, Troy Rowland, guided me through that whole thing. Since then I have been bitten by the bug and I am head-over-heels in love with it. I’m passionate about it. I study; I go to classes. I just want to get better and better and I think with each experience — movie, TV show or whatever — I grow. But it’s harder than it looks. I have a whole new appreciation for my favorite actors now. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do. And I’m blessed to even have the opportunity to grow in it.”
Growth and progress are two things that seem to drive LeToya Luckett. In spite of always looking forward, the specter of her former group is always lurking. Most recently, an old video interview with the members of Destiny’s Child, circa 1998, surfaced, where the ladies appear to be annoyed with member Kelly Rowland as she declares herself the group’s “second lead” singer. The footage became a viral sensation, and Luckett thought the entire situation was hilarious.
“That video was so funny! I laughed!” she says. “When did that even happen — and look at my face! I was just giving shade! But I think we were all tired. But people thought it was one thing and it really wasn’t. What Kelly was saying was true. Everybody knew their position. That’s why the group worked.
“A lot of people ask me about my past. It’s part of my life so I expect people to ask certain questions. Maybe they’re curious,” Luckett explains, matter-of-factly discussing the shadow Destiny’s Child still casts — despite the fact that she exited the group almost 15 years ago. “At the end of the day, I don’t let it get me down. It was a wonderful time in my life and I’m blessed that I was able to be a part of one of the biggest girl groups known to man. I don’t take those moments for granted and I expect it. I know people are going to have those questions.”