One on One: Wendy Raquel Robinson
In the two decades since her starring role opposite Steve Harvey in The Steve Harvey Show to her most recent role as Tasha Mack in The Game,
Wendy Raquel Robinson has built a solid reputation in Hollywood for work in nearly a dozen hit films—including “A Thin Line Between Love & Hate” and “Miss Congeniality”, a handful of TV series and TV movies as well as guest appearance on such hit shows as Grey’s Anatomy. But her passion off stage is her work with the Amazing Grace Conservatory (AGC) and the more than one thousand kids whose lives she has touched through it.
How did Amazing Grace Conservatory come about?
Divine intervention. Myself and my best friend Tracy Lamar Coley—who passed in 2002—were two struggling artists who just loved what we did. He was an incredible singer, I was a dancer and actress and we met on tour. He asked me, “what are you going to do this summer and I said, “I don’t know.” So he got me hired at Marla Gibbs’ “Crossroads” and we started teaching there. When she closed her doors, there were a plethora of children who wanted to continue training so Marla gave us her blessing and we came together, developed a curriculum, found a space and started a school.
How many students are currently enrolled?
This semester—about 95 students. We’re honoring one of our distinguished alumni Ashton Sanders, who was in Moon Light, during our “Hope in the Hood” production. A huge percentage of our students have gone on in the industry
What is AGC currently working on?
We’re doing “Hope in the Hood”, an original musical that is based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I wrote it and I’m directing it. It’s a show that I wrote 25 years ago with a small group of kids in L.A before AGC even started and it was called “Cupcakes in the Hood”
When have you found yourself most in need of hope?
There were two I can think of. I lost my house and everything I owned in 2004 in a fire so that was one moment. Then, we had been leasing our building for the school for 13 years at a local church and then one day they gave us six weeks to move out because they were turning it into a charter school. I had the world totally swept up from under me and we were in the midst of production.
With my back against the wall I realized how much I love AGC. I went to everyone including Steve Harvey. When we finally found a dilapidated building, Steve did a community call to action and actually found the wonderful home that we have right now.
What do you think is in you that keeps you a working actress?
I’m really thankful for the training that I had coming up. It is also relationships—how we treat people, when we show up and don’t bring drama. People look at that. Also, always bringing you’re A-game no matter what.
Which one of your characters are more like you?
They are all a part of me. Tasha is that side of Wendy that says things I wish I could and Regina was the smart intellectual side — the voice of reason. She is the AGC connect. Cruella De Ville is eccentric and as wild as she was, she’s also quirky and childlike with illusive dreams and always dreaming. That’s another side to me.
No matter what, I bring a piece of Wendy to everything I do. Steve use to say I have like 14 different personalities so maybe that’s what gets me the jobs.
What are you currently working on?
I have totally opened up myself to writing and directing the piece and I just finished “Boy Bye”, and it just got picked up by Netflix. It’s a movie I also starred in and produced, so I’m really excited about that.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Big Break: The Steve Harvey Show
Current Projects: Hope in the Hood, Boy Bye