All of the buzz that Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story generated last month is still going on strong. TLC just performed at the AMAs a few days ago featuring Lil Mama, and that performance left me feeling nostalgic about one of my favorite R&B groups. I had the opportunity to chat with Drew Sidora, the talented actress that did an amazing job playing T-Boz, in the VH1 biopic. Drew is such a humble actress that is definitely on the rise for big things. In this interview she talks about what it was like playing T-Boz, what we can expect next from her, and she gives a shopping tip that makes your wallet smile!
Styling On A Budget: Were you a TLC fan growing up?
Drew Sidora: I definitely was...who wasn't actually? My friends and I [we] would actually learn the songs and put ourselves on tape. Oddly enough I was always T-Boz. I didn't know why until I got the role and researched it to know the connection but I was always T-Boz. But definitely growing up I was always a fan but I really identified with T-Boz, which for me was really a great connection. So obviously playing her it made it a lot easier. I was already inspired by her at a young age. It was a lot of connections like that doing the movie.
SOAB: What other connections did you have with T-Boz?
DS: She's a Taurus, I'm a Taurus. We're both from the mid-west. She's actually from Iowa, I'm originally from Chicago. She struggled with sickle cell her whole life. I've been a spokesperson for Sickle Cell Disease Association Of Illinois. Since I was a little girl I was traveling to their summer camp because my father is a pediatrician. I would go to the summer camp and I had a lot of friends with sickle cell. The next year I would go to the camp and they would not be there because they were sick or had a crisis or had passed away. As a child you know you really can't process that. I was like 'wow I don't understand why that's happening I mean they look normal just like me so I don't get it'. I really got personally intrigued to find out more about sickle cell and how it affects the body and what it is. After I did a couple of movies they approached me from knowing me since I was little and asked me to be the spokesperson. So I've been the spokesperson for about 7 years.So understanding her [T-Boz] struggle I knew that would be very important for her to be accurate to be able to portray that.
SOAB: What was it like playing T-Boz?
DS: It was amazing. It was very challenging. My most challenging role because I had to embody someone that's completely different as far as the swag and the mannerisms. I think she's more feminine now than she was then. I was a tomboy growing up, so I think it's just channeling that tomboy inside of me. Performing like her and doing the dance moves that she did was a challenge. Getting her physically was a challenge. We cut the back of my hair off because I really wanted to get focused and into that zone like how she felt. For me shedding a few pounds and really getting my abs flat because they [TLC] were known for their bodies. When you're playing someone that the whole world knows it's a lot of pressure.
SOAB: What was your favorite TLC costume to put on while filming the movie?
DS: [No] Scrubs. That was their actual outfit. When I had the first wardrobe fitting I couldn't all the way fit into it. That was my challenge to get into her Scrubs outfit and look the way that she looked in it. I didn't want yall to have to alter nothing I wanted to get into her outfit! When we finally filmed it, it gave me chills wearing her outfit and it fit me. It was so much fun getting into that look. Makeup was two hours. Hair was an hour. We got to have a lot of fun and be crazy.
SOAB: In terms of the choreography how was it getting down all of the dance moves?
DS: It was a lot of fun. We all had dance backgrounds. It was just mastering her swag. The way she did the moves. She would work with me in a corner...you know certain moves that you know she did.
SOAB: How was it working with Lil Mama and Keke Palmer?
DS: We really bonded. The chemistry is one thing you can't fake. Everything you saw is real. Keke being from Chicago we instantly connected. Lil Mama and I grew to have a really great friendship that will last for a long time. We really connected spiritually and we were able to have in depth conversations about Left Eye and how she felt. We just all became like sisters. With all the criticism we got we kinda all felt like we were the underdogs. We would sometimes be in a corner praying. It was a lot of fun.
SOAB: What can we expect next from you?
DS: It's a lot. This has opened up a lot of opportunities and blessings. I launched my Dream Makers Foundation in Chicago on November 19th. It was for young women to come and learn about women things. I did a performing arts workshop. I came to inspire young women and show them that they can do exactly what I'm doing. As far as my music I'm signed to Slip-n-Slide, I have a single coming out in December. I'm very excited about that! With movies, I want to continue to do projects that will break down barriers and challenge myself. You're gonna see me in things that you thought that you would never see me do.
SOAB: Who are your favorite designers?
DS: I'm working on a clothing line with my friend. It's called Future Stars Collection. That's one of my favorites because I rock it all the time. We do a lot of UK inspired looks. I'm a fan of Boy London. I love vintage shopping. For women it's important to have a nice label jacket or purse...with everything else you can vintage it out or Ross it, I'm not particular when it comes to that!
SOAB: How would you describe your personal style?
DS: I'm an extremist. I'm either in very nice workout clothes. Or if I'm going out to an event I'm going to couture it out. I'm going to find a nice vintage dress online that's really not pricey. You spend a lot more money walking into a JC Penney or Macy's sometimes than getting online and researching a lot of these fashion designers that are overseas or designers in your own hometown. You can save a lot of money shopping that way. It's all about how you put it together.
Stay tuned for Drew's single that drops in December! We wish her nothing but the best and can't wait to see what new projects/movies she's involved in!