Little is just a word, especially if you are Tonya ΓÇ£The BossΓÇ¥ Banks, one of the little stars of LifetimeΓÇÖs new hit series, Little Women: LA, which the network has picked up for a second season.
The series follows six friends that each has a form of dwarfism but do not let it stop them from having successful lives. A successful actress for years, Tonya (pictured center) has had a career that some would envy as a constant working actress in Hollywood. From movies to Broadway and being a little Beyonc├⌐ and Tina Turner impersonator, things are alright being little in this crazy ΓÇ£BigΓÇ¥ world! Angela Yvonne talked with Tonya about the show, what she wants to win and why you better not call her the M word!
How did you decide to be part of the Little Women of LA?
Terra Jole who is my best friend came up with the idea. We would always watch the other shows like the Real Housewives and we thought it would be great if we do a show that would capture what we go through: show our friendships and relationship issues like everyone else.
What would you like for people to know most about being you being on the show?
I wanted to educate people about us and the different forms of dwarfism. We are no different than anyone else. Believe it or not, there are people who are scared of little people. We are just short. We have challenges like everyone else, we bleed like everyone else. I have a full grown daughter; we have children like everyone else.
And your pet peeve?
I donΓÇÖt like being called a midget. It is derogatory, like any slang term that would offend you depending what is your race, handicap or size.
Being the industry for years, who is your favorite actor to work with?
The late Bernie Mac and Anthony Anderson. I would love to work with Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and Forrest Whittaker.
You have a goal of wanting to be the first little person to win an Academy Award. Why?
I am the only black little woman in the SAG union. I have been acting for a while and that would be the cr├¿me on the cake to receive that from my peers. I always wanted to win an award, and that is one of the hardest ones to receive.
You love to perform, how exciting to perform with Terra on her new video, Booty Bee?
I love performing. I remember when we used to perform a lot. We were treated like rock stars, and I couldnΓÇÖt believe how receptive everyone was.
What is next for Tonya Banks?
I want to write a book. I have a few movies coming out — The Internship Games in December. Leprecon is in film festivals now. And of course, Little Women: LA.
photo credit: Jeromy Roberts/Lifetime