Demetria McKinney is known for her time on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, The Rickey Smiley Show, SyFy’s Superstition, and most recently, A House Divided. With those credits to her name, she is also an singer and songwritter and her two singles (“Happy” and “Easy) from her first album “Oficially Yours” charted at #4 at the Adult R&B Songs. Demetria is also starring on FreeForm’s Motherland: Fort Salem in which she plays as Anacostia Quartermaine who is the drill sergent of that military. I recently got the chance to speak with Demetria McKinney to talk about her role on the series in this exclusive interview!
How has life been for you within the last few years going in between music and acting?
DM: “As an artist, you want to give your full attention to whatever you’re doing. And I’ve been blessed in the sense that I’ve been working pretty consistently for the last 15 plus years so when it gets to getting into the studio, I want to make sure that I put down the music properly. If I’m playing Anacostia Quartermaine and I’m a drill sergeant and I’m yelling at soldiers all day, then I really don’t have a singing voice to sing at that moment. I’m writing down all of the lyrics to my music on my free time, but then being in Vancouver for 6 months, I can’t properly promote it. It’s been i kind of a test, but it’s like a champagne problem because on one hand, you’re winning, and you’re working, and you’re staying active in one part of your passion. And then, once I get the chance to kind of get a 10 minute break, I can really kind of concentrate on this over here. It’s been a balancing act I have to say.”
What kind of trainig did you had to endure to prepare yourself as a drill sergent? And will we see some of the characters go through PTSD since this series has a military theme to it?
DM: “My mother was in the military so the discipline and the militant nature that she possessed, I kind of honed in on that a bit. As far as the physicality as we were there a month early to do physical training, we have to learn how to use a weapon none of us had ever heard of before. We also had to go into vocal training because, the details that were given to us about our characters. I learned a lot of what I knew as a vocalist and really concentrate on the craft person the beauty of it. And then on top of that, I had to adjust changing my mind set because, this is set in an alternate-America in the present day where women are in power, and women are at war. Women are not necessarily raising the baby here as there is magic in that military too. there’s just so many differences from what I was used to in the conventional stories that we see here, and know that every day, that I really have to kind of re-route and that was a great trip. The dicipline that my mother had, was passed down to me and I use it for Anacosita!
but at the core They are still women, they were still human, they still wanted love, they still had their feelings, they still long for family, they still wanted that connective tissue to one another, they still had their history in the past. You will see everyone go through it in their own way in each episode. All of them going through all that stuff, without question there’s definitely some moments that you see them go through PTSD.”
Who designed your costume? And did you have any input on what you wanted Anacosita to look like?
DM: “It was a collaborative effor andt they definitely have a costume designer but I think that it was pretty cut and dry. It’s not your traditional whitch stories, so there was no gowns and cape, brooms and things like that. It was military style so we really wanted to capture that aesthetic. They really did a great job with that and just making sure that everything seemed correctional, practical, and functional, but still had that little bit of a twist to it when it was necessary. We wore hoods which I think is just kind of a departure from what you see in the military. But it’s kind of a cool interaction between the military, and witchcraft so they’ve really went out of their way here to make sure that we look as militant as we need to but we still have the space to have the magic.”
How did you react to when the show was pitched to you?
DM: “I thought to myself that I think I got the holy ghost (laughs). I’m very into the magic phenomenon. I love X-Men, I love Mystique, I love all of that. I also love that they have the reality of war on Motherland. Nothing could come at a better time like getting to be a part of something so innovative, and so very detached from the cliche war story. Im really honored because I actually get a chance to live in that world. It’s been a ride and it’s been a blessing.”
What kind of relationships or bonding with other characters can we expect from Anacosita?
DM: “I don’t think that she intends to getting really close to people. She intends on teaching them, she intends on protecting them through with the knowledge and preparation. There’s something about them (the soldiers/witches) that catches her, and a lot of other people that they’ve got a spark to them that they hadn’t seen in quite awhile. So I think that she unintentionally gets involved with them because, I think she also see bits and fractures of herself within each of them and you know, in an effort to really come serve what we have is a precious resource of the military. Like we need everybody here and I think that she gets close to them unintentionally and it leads to some other stuff to transpire. But that’s really really cool so you’ll see a little bit about it.”
What is your favorite episode that you have been part of that you have interracted with the cast the most?
DM: “I think it’s episode 7 because if I remember correctly, it’s one of the big turning points from my character and we start to see a little bit of the fabric that’s been kind of wrapped around her.Raelle is one of my favorite characters on the show and General Sarah Alder (played by Lynn Renee), she’s an absolute badass and she comes in and learns her mother tongue. She speak all these different languages, and she’s absolutely stunning and once you put the uniform on and they yell action, You see that side comes out of her. On top of that, I get to watch her transform into something that is completely opposite of her. Scylla, (who is played by Amalie Holm) she is just a siren and she has this magic and this death and it’s so dark, but it’s so beautiful when she plays as her. Everybody’s been amazing, but as far as my interaction with people, those be my 2 favorite to work with.”