Candace Maxwell is excited these days. The Caribbean-American dancer turned actress can be seen on the new Tyler Perry BET+ series All the Queens Men. Eva Marcille leads the cast as Marilyn ‘Madam’ DeVille. The inspiration for the show is from the book “Ladies Night” written by actor Christian Keyes, who created the television series. Candace had some pretty sisterly things to say about working with her co-star. Read more of the interview here.
Q: The Tyler Perry’s BET+ series, “All the Queen’s Men,” you play DJ Dime, the resident DJ at Club Eden. How did this role come about?
A: It was one of those days where I got an audition from my agent emailing it to me. It was very vague who the character was and what she was about, but I think they wanted to see what each actor would bring to it. So I did the audition, and a week later, I got a call saying I got the job. It was shocking, but a blessing in the middle of a pandemic to book a series regular on a television show.
Q: Eva Marcille’s voice of reason in real life is always spot-on; what is it like working with her on the show?
A: Eva, you know, it’s funny. I was very nervous because she is a supermodel, and you have this idea of who she is, and honestly, she’s one of the sweetest, most hardworking women I know. She’s tough, don’t get me wrong, you’re not gonna mess with her, but she is a sweetheart. Eva set a precedent as a leader on our set because when you’re leading a show, you have to show up 150% so that your cast can also pull up to that level, but she was very kind. We filmed in the bubble at Tyler Perry Studios during COVID, where there were a lot of precautions, but Eva would sometimes cook dinner and have a few close cast members come over.
It may be personal to say, but she even invited me to her home later on down the line, and I met her children. I was nervous about the dynamic between us, but I’m so glad that she has been nothing but kind and gracious to me. As an actress, she is very generous and a great leader, and it’s how I will lead any show that I go on to do in the future. I love Eva!
Q: Have you acted in any other Tyler Perry productions before this role?
A: I did a play five, six years ago in Atlanta with Tyler Perry’s right-hand man Mark E. Swinton called “U Don’t Know Me,” the musical. I was a part of the ensemble as one of the dancers.
Q: Your background is dancing, and then you evolved into television. What made you pursue acting?
A: I started acting when I was a kid. I grew up in Queens, New York. There was a family friend who was an agent. So I used to do commercials, film, and TV auditions, and then my family went through a divorce, and my mom moved to South Georgia and raised me as a single mother. There was no more time for auditions and stuff because “mom’s got to work,” She did put me in a performing arts high school, and that saved me because it gave me an outlet where I got to pour into acting and dance, but dance sort of took over because I wanted to travel. I watched Janet Jackson and Madonna when I was young and thought, I can do one of those dances on tour and get paid and travel the world. That was my goal, and I did it. After a couple of years, you start to want to evolve and grow. I knew that I had a voice, that I had a lot of passion for the stage, and that I could do more. I just needed to take the next step and train as an actor, and that’s how that happened.
Health and wellness are extremely important to you. How do you maintain it in this industry?
A: I pray, and I’m a believer. When I don’t meditate every day, it throws me off. It’s setting aside time to clear your mind and not think about anything and hear God’s voice. Two books that changed my life are “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra. Those books, and God, keep me sane.
Also, me eating healthy and working out. It doesn’t always have to be rigorous workouts. Do things like taking walks, hikes, a dance class with your girlfriends. Be conscious of what you’re putting in your body because anything you’re putting in, from music to TV, to food, to substances, will come out.
Q: As an advocate for underprivileged youth and young teenage girl victims of sex trafficking, what leads you in the direction to help?
A: On a spiritual retreat, I met this woman who started an organization to help young girls. She has a ranch, and there they do horseback riding and therapy to heal all of the trauma these girls have gone through and to teach them life skills. What made me get involved was the thought, “somebody could steal someone’s innocence.” I feel really lucky to have parents who really nurtured my childhood and my innocence. I feel that’s why I have such a great imagination and the freedom to play as an artist and an actress. So many times, we think it’s about pain, and we need the pain to be artists, but I believe joy is a great place to create from as well. If I can help anybody find their joy again, especially if it’s been taken from you, that’s all I want, and for us to live beautiful, harmonious, joyful lives. That’s the goal.
Q: Caribbean-American who enjoys cooking and traveling What’s your favorite dish to prepare and last best place traveled?
A: Okay, the last best place I traveled. I went to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, and it was legit the bomb, which I was not expecting. The hotel was beautiful, the food and beach were great, and so were the locals. It was a vibe. It’s not my favorite place (I’ve ever traveled), but it’s the last place I went. Favorite dish? I love to cook oxtails in the crockpot. It’s my mom’s recipe, and I put in all your seasonings and cook it up with butter beans.
Q: Will you ever turn your love for writing poetry into a movie or television series like actor Christian Keys, whose book Ladies Night is the inspiration for All the Queen’s Men.
A: I had been very resistant in my life only to do acting because I thought, “that’s a safe place for me. Now, I’m developing and growing, and I’m starting to see the power of writing your own stories and creating your own work. Christian has inspired me. Michaela Coel won an Emmy for her show, “I May Destroy You.” Maybe it is time for me to try it and see what happens. I’m opening my mind and heart up to it.
Q: Why should we watch All the Queen’s Men Thursdays on BET+?
A: It’s the sexiest show on television right now, period. And it’s a lot of fun with female empowerment and black women of all shapes, all sizes. You’re going to be transported to another world. I think we’re living in a very heavy state (of the world) right now. It’s nice to watch a show where sometimes you can escape. Viewers will feel like they are at Club Eden. That’s what’s exciting about it. You’re on a ride with us.
Tyler Perry’s All the Queen’s Men Airs Tonight on BET+ Check your local listings
Photo Courtesy of the Anderson Group