June 17, 2010 / 12:32 PM / in 8 years

A Minute With: Jada Pinkett Smith as TV's "Hawthorne"

NEW YORK (Reuters) - She’s an actress, director, producer, singer and author, not to mention, she is the mother of “Karate Kid” Jaden Smith.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith poses at a film premiere in Los Angeles in this September 4, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Jada Pinkett Smith is also the star and executive producer of TV hospital drama, “Hawthorne,” which begins its second season on June 22, on cable network TNT. Smith won the 2010 NAACP Image award for best actress in a TV drama for “Hawthorne,” in which she plays a strong-willed nurse.

She is also half of one of Tinseltown’s most powerful couples, with her husband Will Smith. She spoke to Reuters about “Hawthorne,” child stardom and being a role model.

Q: On “Hawthorne” you play headstrong Chief Nursing Officer Christina Hawthorne. Any similarities to Jada Pinkett Smith?

A: “I am definitely passionate and headstrong about the things I believe in and have no problem fighting for them.”

Q: How did you research the role?

A: “I shadowed Janet Brooks, a CNO at a local hospital. She’s also a consultant on the show. My mom was the head nurse at an inner city women’s clinic in Baltimore, so a lot of Christina’s attitudes are similar to my mother. My mom also raised me by herself, which parallels my character’s relationship with her daughter.”

Q: So is Christina modeled after your mom?

A: “I wouldn’t say she’s based on my mom, but I definitely used her as reference. John Masius wrote the show in relationship to some of the nurses he dealt with for his son. When I read the script it closely related to my mom, so I use a lot of her experiences.”

Q: After the death of her husband, Christina has been reluctant to get involved romantically. Will she have a love interest this season?

A: “Yes, she will have a very interesting romance.”

Q: There is a lot of buzz about your son, Jaden, starring “The Karate Kid”. Do you have any concerns as a parent about him being a child star?

A: “No, none at all.”

Q: Your daughter, Willow, has been in a few films and has some upcoming projects. Perhaps a Smith/Pinkett dynasty?

A: “Well, we’re trying. As parents we’re following our children’s lead and this is what they want. I always knew whatever Will and I produced together in terms of children would pretty much be doing exactly what they’re doing right now. So it’s not really a surprise to us. Luckily we have enough knowledge and understanding to help guide them along on this path. It’s been a lot of fun and interesting watching them blossom as actors.”

Q: You’ve been married to Will for 12 years. How do you beat the odds when it comes to Hollywood marriages?

A: “Probably because we’re the best of friends. You have to be expansive and elastic, willing to grow and change all the time. I think we do that together. Sometimes we drive each other crazy, but we’re able to sit down and work it out as friends. I think that’s probably the most important part of our relationship, the friendship.”

Q: You’re one of only a handful of black actresses who have had starring role on a U.S. TV show. How do you feel about being a role model and paving the way for others?

A: “For me, creating a path for others, just like the women before me, makes this all worthwhile. I feel great to be able to have the opportunity to show that black women can star in and uphold their own shows.”

Q: You’re an actress, producer, singer, author, to mention a few of your numerous talents and titles. How do juggle all those roles so successfully?

A: “I just put one foot in front of the other. For me, my goal in life has been to explore and illuminate the idea that only an individual has the right to define who they are. I’ve always been interested in expanding myself in different areas through my art. That’s a passion of mine. That’s what I love and something I’ll continue to do.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney

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