Meet Kiandra Richardson, actress who plays Whitney Houston in ‘Born for This’

L-R: Juan Winans, Kiandra Richardson, Deborah Joy Winans in Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story on the Alliance Theatre stage now until May 15, 2016. Photo by Greg Mooney.
L-R: Juan Winans, Kiandra Richardson, Deborah Joy Winans in Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story on the Alliance Theatre stage now until May 15, 2016. Photo by Greg Mooney.

From Charles Randolph-Wright, director of Motown the Musical, and six-time Grammy Award-winning icon BeBe Winans comes a hilarious and heart-warming journey toward self-discovery, Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story. Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans are youngest siblings of the Winans family dynasty. They experience the ultimate in culture shock when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise The Lord Network television show. The Winans teenagers become not only television celebrities, they also become like adopted children of the Bakkers, integrating TV evangelism in Pineville, North Carolina. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune, and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling.

Here, rolling out introduces you to Kiandra Richardson, who plays their friend, Whitney Houston.

How did you prepare for the role?
I watched lots of videos. I watched interviews, performances, and a lot of behind the scenes footage. My mom also used to play her concerts on the VCR day in and day out when I was a child. So I started taking notes on Whitney at a very young age.

What were your first thoughts when you actually stepped on stage for the first time to play Whitney?
My first thoughts were, “Wow. What Am I Doing?! God Help Me!” And then “This is great, I love this!” In that order.

What’s it like working with Bebe Winans?
Working with Bebe is like having a father or an uncle coaching me. It feels like I’m working with family. He’s so loving and family-oriented, and he shows you that he trusts in your gift, which makes you trust your gift even more.

What can the audience expect?
The audience can expect to have a small glimpse into the lives and journeys of these iconic people. They can expect to leave inspired, uplifted and hopeful.

What is your background? How did you hone your craft?
My background is singing and music. I started singing at the age of 5. I did theater and music in high school, as well as local talent shows. As a child and teen, my mother put me in vocal and piano lessons. In college I majored in performing arts, which included acting, singing and dancing. So I’ve been, and still am molding this gift of mine!

What else are you good at creatively, in addition to singing and acting?
Honestly, I’m really good at putting videos together and editing them. I really love sitting and editing video footage. Lol Random, but true.

Which do you enjoy most?
I definitely enjoy singing and dancing more!

What was the last film or TV show you saw that you didn’t act in and thought “now that was good?” Why?
Oh my goodness “Once Upon a Time” hands down. I’m a nerd when it comes to fairy-tale and fantasy worlds. I love the idea of making something that is so far from our reality, into reality. They do an amazing job at making these worlds feel like real life.

How you do spend your day, when you’re not rehearsing/performing?

Ha ha, I am so lazy when I’m not working. I can sleep all day, wake up, eat something, and watch TV until I fall asleep again.

Who are the gurus or mentors in your life?
Musically, I’ve looked up to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston all my life. I related to them the most out of all the artists I watched. Personally, I would have to say my Mother and Father. They’ve been so instrumental in my growth as an artist and as a person.

What’s next on the horizon?
After the run of the Born for This, I see studio work in my near future! I feel a major move into the music scene coming on, so stay tuned!!

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