Interview By Atibia “Broadway” Williams
Recently audiences may have seen Gail on the new hit show Insecure, Gail played Rasheeda the confident intern who was unapologetic about her “blackness” and was unwilling to submit to conform to the structure and culture of Corporate America. However, let us separate the character from the person, and get to know the real Gail.
There are people you come across in life that you know are fated for greatness, A mutual friend Kevin Nixon introduced me to Gail, and one of the first things he said about Gail, was her drive along with her immeasurable focus. Similar to the thoughts of Charley Murphy and his interaction with the late great Prince when Charley stated he had an aura about him.
I can say that Gail has that aura about her; Gail speaks with a captivating passion and fire regarding her journey as an actress and In the words of LL Cool J, “You’re only a customer when you walking in the presence of hustlers.” Hustlers as it relates to hard work and determination, the first 10 minutes of conversation with Gail sold me as to her drive and confidence to succeed, without Gail attempting to make a sale; I saw her successes as she did, to me that’s the best type of “hustler” is the one that can sell the product to an unsuspecting customer.
Gail’s journey to greatness started with a dream that began in high school, being driven by her vision and goals Gail set out ready push forward, then she was hit with the pivotal question, what about a backup plan? Under the counsel of her mom and following the footsteps of her brother, she studied in a field unrelated to acting. Gail studied accounting, this proved to be valuable skill which added to her business acumen. This also added to Gail’s mantra – “I don’t need anyone understanding my numbers more than me”.
Armed with this knowledge, Gail indicates the way to success is not always straight, and no matter how focused you are. Internally, Gail accepted the challenges, understanding the road itself has cliffs and valleys in between. “The funny thing about a dream, even when you’re awake it never goes away until you make it a reality.” There’s a process within that reality, and the girl from Stone Mountain Georgia was willing to partake in that process, by any means necessary.
Part of Gail’s process is to believe in herself and knowing she’s always aiming for the best. Being the best comes with her self-confidence and her true appreciation for the journey. As Gail put’s it everyone has their “Yes” moment, meaning there will be a lot of “No’s” and a great deal of small Yes’s. Then there’s that big “Yes”, that happened to actresses like Keri Washington with Scandal or Chris Pratt with Guardian’s of the Galaxy.
Another step for a fighter like Gail is to have the right kind of people in your corner, and every fighter knows a great corner man/woman is a must. Support from family as well as her mentor Actor/ Comedian Rodney Perry where Gail accredited her development as an actress; through his Atlanta-based Improv class called Never Deny-Next Level.
Gail recommends his class to anyone who lives in the Atlanta who who is working on their craft. The rock in her life who was right there with her as she puts it “shooting in the gym” from the very beginning is her boyfriend who helped her immensely in making her transition from Georgia to Hollywood.
She also thanked agents past and present who took a chance on her like Carla Hough, actresses like Cobie Smulders, who embraced her when they acted alongside each other in a film called “Unexpected”. The most endearing elements I found in Gail were her positivity, her humility, and faith in God, matched with her preparation has allowed grace to impart upon her journey to Hollywood.
Gail is in a unique space to where opportunities for black actors as well as black women in Hollywood is making a re-emergence, shows like Insecure created by Issa Rae first appeared on the scene with her YouTube Series Awkward Black girl. That platform set the stage for the show Insecure, which in my opinion is the most relatable show of my generation for the young black experience since “A Different World.”
The show is so relatable its is like watching pieces of my life on television. It is fitting that a role like Rasheeda would assist in propelling Gail’s career. Gail found the personality of Rasheeda extremely intriguing, playing an energetic and unapologetic character that seems not afraid to demonstrate her full personality at the workplace. This characterization provides an interesting dichotomy.
Most of us are dissuaded by this because of either the backlash we might receive or what’s appropriate behavior for home is unacceptable in the workplace. Code- switching as the term is affectionately known in the world of “blackness,” it’s a survival 101 when operating in spaces that don’t reflect the diaspora.
In other words, black folk got to change it up for white folk, via non-verbal and verbal communication because mannerism and expressions may be confused with unprofessionalism. Although we can deliver a dissertation about the subject matter, it was interesting to see the perspective of the character Rasheeda vs. actress Gail Bean.
Gail admired Rasheeda’s self-assurance and confidence when Rasheeda eloquently “chin checked” Molly stating that her personality has nothing to do with her job performance. Gail shares similarities with Rasheeda being that Gail believes in being her most authentic self at all times, Gail also understands that work and personal relationships require defined boundaries in order to maintain professionalism.
As Gail stated “not everyone should be privileged to know you that intimately in a professional environment” With that being said, audiences can rest assure that special niche and illuminating aura will be permeating in each character she brings on camera.
I can write a mini book about this extraordinary young actress, but I will merely leave you all with a preface of her story, that is still being written for an actress that is well on her way to becoming a recognizable face in Hollywood. Check out Gail’s new thriller The Belko Experiment Releasing March 17, 2017, acting alongside Tony Goldwyn. Follow Gail through her social media:
Instagram : @insta_b3an