‘Queens’ star Naturi Naughton reflects on her character’s difficult journey

ABC/Gavin Bond

Episode two of the new ABC Drama Queens premieres tonight, and it was a particularly difficult one for series star Naturi Naughton.

We found out in the first episode that Naughton’s character, Jill, is living a double life — hiding the fact that she’s gay from her friends and family.

Naughton tells ABC Audio that getting comfortable in Jill’s skin was “a little scary at first.” “It’s not my real experience,” she explains, “and I always want to be as authentic as possible.”

That led the 37-year-old singer, songwriter and actress to do some research.

“I’ve even talked to a few friends and people who’ve actually lived that,” Naughton says. “The journey that I’ve kind of decided to tap into is that she really is trying to assert something that she has suppressed for so many years because of the hip hop background, because of her religious backgrounds.”

It’s rare to see a gay woman of color in a lead role on a network TV show, even in this day and age, and Naturi hopes her representation helps.

“There’s so much pressure on Jill and one thing that I hope my character inspires people is to release that pressure. To release that worry about what people may think,” Naughton offers. “And that’s actually what my character deals with constantly. But also don’t take on too much at once. Like, say your truth and it’s OK if you’re not perfect. It’s OK if you’re not the spokesperson for the entire movement.”

Queens airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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