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…On Her Project “Jacqueline and Jilly”

Award-winning actress Victoria Rowell (Diagnosis Murder, The Distinguished Gentlemen) is using the power of her stellar career to bring to the forefront the issue of opiate addiction (a crisis affecting roughly two million people in the US alone) in the Urban Movie Channel mini series, Jacqueline and Jilly. Here, the actress shares her take on the project along with her personal beauty perspective…

What attracted you to Jacqueline and Jilly?
 The scourge of addiction was and remains everywhere. I wanted to create a story that was told realistically but also offered hope and a dash of humor. I began writing the story for two women, then cast the net wider to include a family affected by addition. Starring alongside Richard Brooks (Being Mary Jane), Daphne Maxwell Reid (The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air), Nikko Austen Smith (Queen Sugar) and Shannon Wallace, Jacqueline and Jilly gave me the opportunity to create a portrait of three generations of Black women, two shattered dreams, and one accidental addiction—underscoring the prevalence of over prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to unsuspecting patients who go in to have a routine procedure and walk out addicts or potentially so.

What message do you hope to convey with this project?
 I hope that Jacqueline and Jilly will inspire conversations without shame and blame between family, friends and associates. That the provided help line will be passed on (1-800-622-HELP) as well as the website in ending credits. It was imperative that I convey to the audience that addiction knows no bounds and is colorblind. This pandemic affects everyone. In this case, a privileged political family member develops an addiction to prescription pain killers following an unfortunate accident that goes unnoticed by those around her (“Jilly”).  As the problem becomes more apparent, the family must face the truth, though they fight it and are in denial about addiction and each other while banding together for the sake of their daughter’s survival and recovery. As the onion is peeled, the audience sees a very private family come unglued in the recovery process. As a writer/director, it gave me an opportunity to go deep into this black family and spill some tea along the way, reflecting on how deeply our secrets can be held and how depending on prayer may not be the sole solution.

The first episode of Jacqueline and Jilly premiered on Urban Movie Channel and on various devices [last December with new episodes aired through January 10]. AMC Theatres launches a limited theatrical release of Jacqueline and Jilly at selected theaters on January 11th in Maryland, Alabama, New Orleans, New Jersey and Illinois. Without a platform, Jacqueline and Jilly would not be seen. So, to that end, I believe the functionality of the entertainment industry should not solely be to entertain but also be used as an awareness mechanism.

How would you describe your style for this role?
 Conservative with a dash of “letting go.”

Away from the camera, what’s your hair care regimen?
My regime is simple and from the inside-out. I do not let hair dictate my health. Exercise means healthy everything, including my hair. I drink water and do not eat meat and stay positive no matter what. At my age, hair begins to show thinning. I do not dye my hair [but}, rather enjoy my silver. I’ve earned it! Additionally, I love braids intermittently during the year as well. I rotate conditioner brands and rarely use shampoo as I find them drying.

What is your best hair care tip with SBH readers?
I use almond or coconut oil on my scalp and take time to massage it in.

What is your hair care philosophy?
Embrace you! The journey of our hair is magnificently complicated and always evolving. I’ve been pressed, permed, buzzed, blonded and braided. Maybe let the weave go for a while. Change things up and give yourself, your hair and your pocketbook a break. Nothing like a fabulous head wrap, darlin’! It all starts with a healthy scalp.

What three hair care products/tools can’t you live without and why?
Almond oil, Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hair Creme (Lavender/Coconut) and my boar bristle brush.

Jacqueline and Jilly” is receiving a nationwide limited theatrical release in AMC theaters starting on January 11th.


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