Tamala Jones isn’t one of the biggest names in Hollywood (yet), but you’ve likely seen her onscreen before in movies like Can’t Hardly Wait and Up in the Air and on TV in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and ER. Now she’s one of the stars of ABC’s Castle, playing a forensic analyst who’s serious about her job but still maintains a sense of humor.
What makes her stand out in our eyes—beyond her serious acting and comedy chops—is her ability to overcome adversity. Jones was born with an abnormality that caused an aneurysm when she was just 23. She’s fully recovered since and now gets CAT scans yearly to protect her health (and advocates for those around her to take charge of their well-being as well).
We spoke to Jones to learn more about her diet and exercise secrets and her favorite memories from the set.
Are you similar to your character on Castle, Lanie?
We are both very sassy and are serious about our work. But personally, I love love and love seeing people in love. Lanie is more shielded.
What are your favorite ways to stay fit and healthy during your busy filming schedule?
Sleep! For fitness, I love the treadmill, swimming and hiking—things that work the whole body. I don’t have a trainer because scheduling is tough, so I sneak in activity whenever I can. My home isn’t very close to where we shoot Castle, so sometimes I spend the night at a friend’s house that is closer to the studio and walk to work.
So do you rely a lot on takeout or on-set catering?
Cooking is one of my hobbies. My grandma is a master chef and is my true cooking inspiration. I don’t cook her dishes often because they’re so rich, but her mac and cheese and Jamaican curry chicken are great for treat days!
What does a typical day’s menu include for you?
I’m not a big breakfast fan, but typically get a toasted whole-wheat bagel with Smart Balance crunchy peanut butter. I’ll have a salad for lunch and snack on raw carrots, celery and an apple with almond butter. Dinner usually includes another salad topped with chicken, shrimp or salmon.
Who are some of your favorite actors?
I learn so much from watching other actors old and new. Meryl Streep’s timing is impeccable and her delivery is incredible. Blake Lively is a great actress—I actually babysat her to pay for my acting classes years ago!
The Castle cast seems to get along very well. What happens behind the scenes?
Nathan [Fillon, who plays the title character] is the comedian and is always playing jokes. We were in a morgue shooting a scene and Nathan coordinated with the “dead” actor to sit up at the end of the scene to scare me. I screamed like an idiot!
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