Rolling Out

Crystal Renee’ Hayslett shares her vocal talent in new musical ‘Praise This’

The Universal Pictures and Will Packer Media joint production aired April 7, 2023 on Peacock

Crystal Renee’ Hayslett is an actor and singer who is best known for her roles in BET‘s “Tyler Perry’s Sistas” and “Zatima.” During Easter weekend, Hayslett will star as Natalie in the musical Praise This, where she will co-star with actors Chloe Bailey, Loryn Hawthorne, Tristan Mack Wilds, and more.

Hayslett shared with rolling out how she prepared for her latest role and how it differs from her TV roles on “Sistas” and “Zatima.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in Praise This?

Yes, I play the cool first lady. My character’s name is Natalie, and I play the opposite of Tristan Mack Wilds. She is the cool first lady, not the judgy one. She’s like the, “I haven’t been saved all my life I’ll get with you,” type of first lady and she’s a lot of fun. She’s relatable to the kids, and she has a very good moment with Sam, who is played by Chloe Bailey, where she sees a lot of herself in Sam. So, I’m excited for everyone to see it. I do get to sing in it and it’s just a really dope musical; the music is fun. I can’t wait for the soundtrack to drop because the music is so good, the movie is hilarious, [there are] so many teachable moments, and I think for Easter weekend, it’s gonna be something that a lot of people could take from it.

How did you get into character?

So, for every character I do, I do a character breakdown. That’s where you literally [write down] everything that you know about yourself, your birthday, your mom and dad’s name, where you went to school, your religion, and every single thing that you can answer about yourself. I want to make sure I can answer for my character so that people [can] believe, “Oh, this is who she is.” Because if you’re not sure it’s gonna show on camera. So, I first do that and then I took some things that I see from my First Ladies at church. I have Pastor Aventer Gray, and then Pastor Shameka Daniels, two of my spiritual leaders and they’re both cool first ladies. They dress fly, but they show you that you can be cute, but still praise God. I took a little bit of each of them and put that into Natalie.

How is this role a little different from your roles in “Sistas” and “Zatima”?

You know what? I feel like Natalie is more grounded and Fatima is a little reckless sometimes like pulling out guns and fighting people. Natalie’s full of peace and love, but she has that edge to her where people know [to not] try her but she loves Jesus. But it’s a big difference between Natalie and Fatima for sure, as far as the characteristics and the way that Fatima pops off. Natalie, she’s done that before but you can tell that she’s not about that life anymore. Praise God.

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