For Karimah Westbrook, who stars on CW’s All American, her upbringing in Chicago means everything. Westbrook guested on AfterBuzz TV and discussed how being from Chicago and loving kids has allowed her to connect with the character she plays on a genuinely deep level.
“I feel like I connected to the world a lot,” she said. “I’m from Chicago originally, from the west side of Chicago, so I was just very familiar with the, the world that it took place in, South Central.”
Westbrook plays Grace James on the show, a single mother raising two boys and who has quite a few men surrounding her by the time we get to the second season. But beyond the relationship drama, Westbrook stressed her role as being a mom first and how her upbringing being raised by a single mother allowed her to understand this dynamic. The actress expressed her thoughts on motherhood and what it means for her to play a mother regardless of not having children herself. She relayed that being back “home” made the experience of stepping into motherhood a lot easier for her.
“My mom was, raised me and my sister, so it was a lot of things that I related to,” Westbrook told AfterBuzz. “So it didn’t feel like, very, like, far from me, like, I don’t have kids, but I don’t feel like you need to have kids to understand how to be a mom.”
Westbrook adamantly went on to discuss her love of children and how this was what allowed someone to take on the role of mother even if they didn’t have the experience.
She added, “For a woman to play a mother I just feel like you really need to want the best for children and to love them and to wanna nurture them. I mean, we have a lotta those qualities automatically so wasn’t a big stretch in, in that regard.”
Westbrook continued by saying she wanted her relationship with her on-screen sons to feel real, so off camera she’d invite them to get ice cream and do other things that they enjoyed. She worked very hard to establish a relationship with them in order for this connection to translate to the screen. At the end of the day, however, having that shared background with her character has enabled her to bring a major level of truth to the role.
For more about Westbrook, be sure to click on the link above for the rest of the interview. You can also find her every Monday night on All American on the CW!