“Stevie Wonder Black” refers to someone you can tell is Black even with your eyes closed.

Today, Blacktress finds herself walking onto a small studio lot with a self-assuredness that surprises her.  In the last year she’s booked the role of a Ugandan refugee, a depression era jazz singer, a teenage Crip girl, and is in serious contention for the role of Chantal, a pre-op tranny hooker.  Today, she’s up for a part far less challenging.

This breakdown reads like my bio, she thinks.  Piece of cake.

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Blacktress watches as her I-phone lights up and sings a digital blues riff.

“Hey Sam,” she says eagerly.

Her agent talks quickly as if Blacktress is a stenographer in need of a challenge.

“ Sotheywannaseeyouforthisthing. Saglowbuget.  Theroleof… Chantal.  A gorgeous pre-op tranny hooker.”

Is there even such a thing?  Blacktress wonders.

He goes on.

“The producer’s got a name.”

Blacktress rolls her eyes.  Don’t we all?

Sam powers on.

“They’vebeenlookingallover.  They’ve seen boys, girls, he/she’s, and shims.  Younameit.  Theycan’tfindit. Gogetit.”

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Aisha Hinds

You may not know her name, but if you are a fan of network and cable episodics, chances are you know her face.   She’s been steadily working since she landed the recurring role of Annie Price on the Shield in 2004.   This past television season she was probably all over you DVR delivering memorable performances on Law and Order SUV as a transsexual teacher, on Hawthorne as the hilarious and heartbreaking homeless woman Isabel, or True Blood as the con artist Miss Jeannette among others.  This season she debuts as Lt Maureen Mason on the well reviewed and highly publicized Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC, where she’s found her home as a series regular.  In between takes of the TNT show Hawthorne, we caught up with the bubbly actress over the summer to discuss the craft, the business, the hair, and the life in LaLa land.

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see more pics from this photo story on FLASH PAGE Photo by Matt O'Callaghan

Last week Blacktress and her friend Iyanla Howard went for a hike up Runyon Canyon.  Their legs made sluggish strides.  Their mouths moved a mile a minute.

“You have to be playing the character you’re auditioning for from the first minute the casting person sees you.  And you can’t break from it until you’re back in your car,”  Iyanla advised Blacktress while scraping dog shit off the bottom of her sneaker with a stick.

“But what if you’re playing a serial killer?  Shouldn’t you at least crack a smile on the way out, so that they know you’re not nuts?” Blacktress asked.

“I wouldn’t.  The more authentic the better.”

“Yeah, maybe even slice a couple people up, in the waiting room, too.  That would really win them over,”  Blacktress said, her tone sodden with sarcasm.

“See that’s too authentic.  You want to be Hollywood real. Not Cleveland real.”

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