The highly-anticipated Power spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost, will introduce us to new characters who cross paths with those we know and love. One of those new characters is Lauren Baldwin, played by Paige Hurd. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Paige about playing a character in the Power universe while also being a major Power fan herself.
Paige teased what we can expect from Lauren in this first season, which premieres Sept. 6. Lauren is very dedicated to her studies at Stansfield University, and it’s there she meets Tariq. While Paige thinks Lauren should stay far away from Tariq, the characters will end up becoming “good friends” as they study together. Paige also discussed meeting Mary. J Blige and how the spinoff compares to the original series.
How did this role fall into your lap?
Paige Hurd: Honestly, it was a really surreal way that it happened. Power is one of my favorite shows. I have two favorite shows that I watch — This Is Us and Power. I actually just finished filming The Oval for BET, and we were headed out to go to Tyler Perry’s big grand opening. The role came about. We saw it on the breakdowns. I was super excited. I don’t know what had happened or what they were originally initially looking for, but they were saying you’re not right for that role. They kind of just left it, but I was like, “I need to [go for it]. It’s my favorite show. I just have to even if I’m not right for it.” So at the last minute, they came to me said, “Okay, she can send a self-tape in.” I’m literally getting ready to go to the airport the next day. I put myself on tape, and I’ll never forget walking out and being like, “That was the worst tape, like, ever. I don’t even know how you just butchered it like that.” The next thing you know I’m getting a phone call saying, “Hey, the role’s yours if you want it.” I thought they were lying. It was crazy.
What can you say about Lauren and her journey in this show?
Paige Hurd: She’s very smart. She’s really into her studies. She’s in canonical studies and meets Tariq on campus. For her, she’s all about school. Whatever comes her way she deals with it when it comes, but she’s just really focused on school and then she gets a little sidetracked. That’s really all I can give because then I think I’d be giving away too much of my story, but she’s smart, she’s kind, and she cares about those around her.
Is there anything you can say about Lauren and Tariq? Do they become instant friends?
Paige Hurd: I would say when they do meet they become good friends. She’s really concerned about having more African American students in the classroom for their particular studies that they’re taking. It’s definitely not a mentorship because we’re peers. But it’s one of those kinds of things where she really just gravitates, and she’s excited to see another kid of her race that she can get into the studies and see what can go from there. I would say that they have a pretty instant little friendship going on.
Mary J. Blige is on this show, and she’s an icon. Have you both met and will your characters cross paths?
Paige Hurd: We met briefly at our table reads. We don’t work together. Our worlds don’t collide or cross paths as of now, but we have been able to meet at table reads. It’s weird because prior to this when I told you I was headed to the grand opening, life is just crazy. She was performing at the grand opening. And then three days later, we’re sitting at this table together. She had no idea, obviously. I knew I had the job, but I couldn’t say anything yet to anybody. I was watching her perform, and I already knew she’s on the show. She’s like family with some of my family. We’ve kind of crossed paths in weird ways but never met before.
How would you say that this spinoff compares to the original series?
Paige Hurd: It definitely has a lot of comparisons with the storyline of the light and the dark and seeing both worlds in having to figure out certain things. But it’s super different. We’re going more youthful. Now we have pretty much Power starting over to where you’re meeting these new people, and then it’s up to you to decide like who you fall in love with, who you don’t, which team are you on, who you’re against. So in that way, it’s very similar, but we’re all young so you get to see just a younger side of everything,
Obviously, we all know that Tariq killed Ghost. As Paige, would you recommend Lauren be friends with him? Or would you tell her to stay away?
Paige Hurd: I’d say she should stay away, and she should keep her distance. Because we all see how this works. If you find out something by accident, or anything happens, you’re out of there. So I think she should keep her distance.
Lauren is a new character. Will the show dig a little bit into her backstory?
Paige Hurd: You definitely get to see a little bit of that. I think as the season’s progressing, you’re able to get to know her some more, but this season you can definitely find out why she is the way she is. You can kind of tap into her family story a little bit and why she is just so passionate about her schooling and making it further in life. She definitely shares those things.
Power has become one of the most popular shows on TV. As a young Black actress, how does it feel to be a part of this groundbreaking world and to be elevating Black stories?
Paige Hurd: I’m honored. I feel blessed and grateful. I’m super grateful to Courtney [A. Kemp] for giving me this opportunity among the rest of my castmates, who are young Black actors. There are always times where you feel like you can’t really play a lead role or you have to be a friend. They just give you what they can give you to have you, but to be on a show that is majority Black and everybody has a story and is a main character, that is super dope. That might have been why I really enjoyed Power in the first place for those opportunities that she has been giving. I love reading her interviews about how important it is to her to give us these opportunities. I just feel really grateful, and I feel really blessed to have her as a showrunner. I really enjoy working with her. I just can’t say enough how grateful I am.
The Power fandom is very passionate. There have been theories going around that Ghost isn’t really dead. How do you feel about those theories?
Paige Hurd: I think that’s hilarious. I just saw somebody comment, and I don’t know who this person is but I was reading through comments and somebody said, “If it’s a closed casket, Ghost ain’t gone.” It was so funny to me. I was cracking up. As a Power fan, and I’m not speaking from an actor’s standpoint, I would want to believe it too. Even if your Team Tommy and not Team Ghost, it’s still Ghost, you know what I mean? I would definitely probably feel the same way, and you never know with this show because it’s so wild and off the wall sometimes you just don’t know what could happen.