Events for December 2022

Lesbian couple money frustration
Seven Financial Mistakes to Avoid
May 17, 2022
Lez Hang Out Ep. 518
Lez Hang Out Podcast Ep. 518 – Lez-ssentials: Girltrash
May 17, 2022
Shalita Grant - tagg magazine cover

Shalita Grant (Photo by Erik Oroz)

Authenticity is a core value for Shalita Grant. The Tony-nominated actress known for her turns in You, NCIS: New Orleans, and Search Party steals any scene she tackles with the refreshingly genuine air she brings to every character, no matter how outrageous they are. As her star continues to climb, Grant sat down to talk to us about her latest role, her relationship, and what the future holds.

 

Hello…You

Last year Grant ignited social media with her stand-out role in the third season of Netflix’s hit series You. While many of us fell in love with her portrayal of gossipy momfluencer Sherry Conrad, Grant is nothing like the queen bee of Madre Linda. “Sherry’s not my vibe,” Grant says laughing. “At the end of the day, I keep it real chill.”

Her laid-back vibe didn’t stop her from enjoying the role though. “As an actress, it was fun to play someone so horrible,” Grant shares. In direct contrast to Sherry’s catty behavior, Grant didn’t base her portrayal of the character on any specific person, but rather on what she knew of internet culture from years of surfing the web. “Sometimes you can tell when actors have an opinion and are trying to take someone down,” she says. “That’s not what I wanted to do.”

That focus on respect extended to all aspects of playing Sherry. One of the most talked-about scenes of the series is a foursome between Sherry, her husband Cary, and serial killers Joe Goldberg and Love Quinn. Grant laughs as she says, “A lot of people did not like Sherry until they found out she was DTF. Oh, how the tides changed on Twitter!”

The sexy, hilarious, and surprisingly poignant depiction of a successful open marriage between Sherry and Cary really resonated with viewers. “It’s so lame to criticize different ways of being in relationships outside of monogamy,” Grant says. “I have to give credit for the tone to [co-creator and showrunner] Sara Gamble and the executive producers. There wasn’t anything in the script that made me feel I needed to go to them and say, ‘Listen. I don’t think that’s right.’”

Shalita Grant

(Photo by Elena Gharbigi)

 

Showcasing Lesbian Joy

As a proud member of the queer community, Grant understands the importance of representation for relationships outside of the “traditional” box. She emphatically shares her relationship with MMA fighter, black belt, and former world champion Jessica Aguilar on social media and in interviews. “For us to have a platform as two women with a lot of eyes on us, it’s important for us to live out loud and show people that you can live your truth and be happy.”

That truth took a while to find, Grant says. “A lot of my angst in my 20s was around not knowing who I was.” Like many, she went on a journey to understand her sexuality before identifying as a lesbian in her mid-20s. “Once I came out, I didn’t look back,” she says.

While others don’t always react positively to her as a Black lesbian in an interracial relationship, that doesn’t dampen Grant’s joy. “It’s up to you if you’re going to let other people’s bullshit interfere with your happiness,” she says. It’s a missive she takes to heart, explaining that even professional rejections— sometimes stemming from her sexuality—can be a gift, as they shield her from situations and people she ultimately doesn’t need to be around.

However, the shows who do book her get rewarded for their choices. “Look at any of the shows that I’ve done. I’m always the standout, I’m always giving my one-hundred percent,” she says. “I chalk that up to the hard and rigorous work I do in my personal life of staying authentic. That’s the job for me.”

Grant understands that living out loud can seem scary until you take the leap, but she encourages others to make the choice to live their truth. “The world makes it hard for you, but it’s so much easier to live authentically. You’re a lot happier,” She says. “Now I’m in a healthy, happy relationship with an equal partner and that’s exciting.”

 

Redefining Home

Today, Grant and Aguilar live a somewhat “bohemian lifestyle,” traveling the world and living in different places. Currently, the couple spends most of their time moving between the United States and Mexico. In fact, the lovebirds are traveling to Mérida, Yucatán, later this year to buy land for a new project.

Real estate isn’t a new venture for these two. Earlier this year they flipped Aguilar’s home in Houston, taking it from the $250,000 purchase price to a whopping $427,500 at closing. The sale ultimately set a new record for price per square foot in the neighborhood.

With the new property in Mexico, they hope to replicate the process of transforming the Houston house on screen so viewers can join the adventure. “The plan is to build a short-term rental in Mérida and have it double as a wedding venue,” Grant shares. For many queer couples, destination weddings seem out of reach because of negative and outdated views on homosexuality in many countries. With the new venue, Grant and Aguilar want to allay that fear and offer LGBTQ+ couples a place where “they will be supported, respected, and their love will be seen.”

Shalita Grant at Home

(Photo by Erik Oroz)

 

Natural Love

Renovations aren’t the only journey Grant aims to share with fans. In January, the star cut 13 inches of her hair and has been hosting a “Grow With Me” challenge for her haircare brand, Four Naturals.

The patent-pending line seeks to address the specific needs of the tightly wound coils often referred to as “4c” hair. Popularized by stylist Andre Walker, type 1 refers to straight hair, type 2 wavy hair, type 3 curls, and type 4 tight coils. Each type has a-c subcategories that communicate the intensity of the texture. While 4c hair is common in the Black community, few cosmetology schools teach students how to care for it.

After a slew of “terrible” experiences in Hollywood, Grant needed to find a way to care for her curls. She started by looking into non-white hair cultures for natural solutions that would actually strengthen her hair. What she found helped her create products that nourish not only type 4 hair, but types 1-3 as well.

“Our hair has caused generations of pain and resentment, and it shouldn’t be like that,” Grant says. With Four Naturals, she hopes to empower Black women to reset and embrace their coils and curls. For Grant, the value of the brand is its ability to change how women understand and approach their hair and themselves. “My goal with this brand is to define and empower,” she says.

The brand gets as much love and passion from Grant as her acting career and real estate projects. She explains that even on set, she’s building up Four Naturals: She often works on the brand while waiting for her call times. “I bring my little bag of set goodies, my laptop, all of my work for Four Naturals, and I do what I’ve got to do,” she says.

Shalita Grant all smiles

 

The Next Chapter

As she looks to the future, Grant pauses to celebrate her present. “I’m so grateful that I have always understood the assignment of being a working actor,” she shares. “I’m okay with having a job or two a year. There will be a time when I’m busy in Hollywood. But I’m good to wait for the projects that really speak to me.”

In the meantime, Grant is filling her plate with all of the other experiences that feed her soul. She says, “Jess and I will look at each other several times a day and say, ‘Can you believe this is our life?’” Between the travel, business ventures, Aguilar’s MMA career, and Grant’s acting, the couple are always on a new adventure. Grant smiles as she says, “We have a lot going on and I like it that way.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sondra Rose Marie
Sondra Rose Marie
Sondra is an avid reader of YA fiction, master Instagram scroller, and proud lover of all things rainbow. She is an LA transplant from the South and enjoys contributing to Tagg from the West Coast.