THE NURTURING OF MEN ARTIST PROFILES
By Fabiola Cineas
A budding actress, Cynthia Frelinghuysen describes the set of The Nurturing of Men as a haven that strengthened her resolve as an actress. Playing Lala, Frelinghuysen was prepared to transform into a character motivated by self-interest and greed. Her scenes capture some of the most controversial moments of the film. The conversation below takes a deeper look at Frelinghuysen’s personal path and time with The Nurturing of Men.
Describe your experience on the set of The Nurturing of Men. I had never been on a set like that! This was the most professional set I’ve been on. It was real and everyone in the cast and crew worked together. It was my first experience in which I actually felt like I was a part of a team. In my previous roles I didn’t have a voice. I felt like an amateur. But being on this set solidified things for me. I think to myself, “Now you’re an actress!” I feel like I’m more open and available as an actress now.
What other roles have you been in? My very first role was in a short film as a vampire. And we were outside in the cold the entire time. That role prepared me for a lot. I’ve appeared in the TV show Power as a model. I was also in a silent short film in which I also played a model. As a model I feel like I was limited. I had to be exactly what they wanted me to be. I remember ripping the wig off of my head when I was done shooting for one of those roles.
Did you face any challenges playing a character (Lala) with such malevolent intentions? Playing Lala was a gift. She's a mix of myself and people I grew up with so I connected with her. She's a little more straight up than I am but I saw myself in her--I definitely have that Brooklyn hustler mentality to a certain extent and that's what drives me, just like Lala. So we have things in common more than I realized when I first went over the script.
What was it like collaborating with Lionel? How well everything went was a total shock for me! I was blown away by the amount of effort he put into everything. Being from the same place I am, it was great to see the work he is doing.
What is your favorite film genre? I like movies with a lot of action. I also enjoy movies with a lot of love so romantic comedies. And it’s hard for me to talk about favorite movies. There are so many that I love: Silver Linings Playbook, Pretty Woman, Taxi Driver, Scarface, Love and Basketball, Blue is the Warmest Color, Imitation of Life, Fresh. There are a million!
Who in the industry has inspired you the most? There are so many actors and actresses I appreciate. I like Dinero a lot. Scarlett Johannson and Julia Roberts. Kerry Washington is great and it’s amazing that she’s from New York and I’m from New York and she is where she is now. To see her in films like Our Song where she played an impoverished teen and Lift where she portrayed a hood thief and then to see her make the transition to a show like Scandal is amazing. She touches not only Black women but all women. That's who she is to me. If I watch something and an actor is able to touch me, that’s really powerful.
What is next on the road for you? I am auditioning for different roles and I’m working on my craft more and more.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or about your time on set? Yes. Don’t judge. When you are judgmental about a project or judgmental about someone, it doesn’t get us anywhere.