Starring in her own sitcom is allowing Eve to reveal a side not usually associated with the hardcore rapper image that made her famous. “The part that people know the least about her comes across most in this show: There’s a seriously girlie girl side to her,” says co-star Jason George.
He cites her fondness for frilly slippers, little dogs and movies like “The Sound of Music” to explain the flip side of a woman who described herself as “a pit bull in a skirt” in one of her early raps.
Eve plays fashion designer Shelly Williams on UPN’s “Eve,” which follows a group of friends struggling with modern attitudes about romance. Now in its second season, the series airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET.
When Eve first signed on, the series was titled “The Opposite Sex.” She acknowledges being uncomfortable when the network decided to name it after her. “What if it fails and my name was on it?” she recalls thinking at the time.
The network eased her doubts, explaining the importance of letting audiences know it was her show and that viewers wouldn’t find it confusing to have the title name not match the name of the main character.
Eve, of course, is used to name changes. Born Eve Jeffers 26 years ago in Philadelphia, when she first started rapping she was known as Eve of Destruction. Then “I looked at myself as an artist and decided I didn’t want any title,” she explains. “I just wanted to be myself.” So she settled on just one name, Eve, “the name my mother gave me.”
After it was retitled, the sitcom naturally shifted its focus a little, but at its heart, the show remains the dilemma of six friends — three female, three male — trying to make sense of their love lives and better understand the opposite sex.
Ali Landry plays Rita Lefleur and Natalie Desselle-Reid is Janie Egins, who are Shelly’s girlfriends and co-workers in their Miami-based fashion business, DivaStyle.
There’s a great deal of laughter and chat on the stage at Sunset Gower Studios as the three women rehearse a scene for an upcoming episode. “We talk too much,” Eve confesses, noting that, like a bunch of kids misbehaving in class, they often need to be told to focus and stop their extracurricular fun.
Such on-set levity wasn’t always the case for Eve. Last season she admits there were moments when, “I just wanted to leave because there was so much to learn, it’s just a different world … It’s hard to play funny, there are certain beats you have to learn.”
But it’s been easier this second season. She’s still working on her tardiness, but she’s come to like the stability. “It feels like ‘Wow,’ this is home. I love my cast, I love my crew … it’s exciting. I’m having fun.”
Eve is expected to release a new studio album in 2005 as well as relaunch her clothing line, Fetish.
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