Tyler Perry knew he had a hit when “The Haves and The Have Nots,” (THAHN) debuted on OWN in 2013. This phenomenal show has garnered record setting ratings, been the subject of much “tea,” and introduced a diverse and stellar cast of actors to the world at large. Each of the cast members portray different, yet realistic characters that are so “in your face,” that you cannot help but love them. However, when it comes to pain and power, one character in particular comes to the forefront–Katheryn Cryer. On THAHN, she is the powerful wife of Jim Cryer, mother to Wyatt and Amanda, and worth fifty million dollars. She loves her family, but keeps them at a distance, because she knows she cannot truly trust any of them. Her poised and cold demeanor, however, hides a woman in pain who is fighting to keep her head above water. With all these bold and powerful attributes, you just know the real woman portraying her has to be equally as outstanding. You would be right! Renee Lawless is a force to be reckoned with. From the stage to Silver Screen, she has sung, acted, and won her way into our hearts.
Renee is now an actress to its fullest extent, however, she did not always know she wanted to be one. She spent most of her young life believing she would ultimately become a nurse or doctor, but her plans changed abruptly when her mother showed her the insides of a turkey on Thanksgiving. “…blood, guts, gizzards, and all that just weren’t my thing…so being a surgeon went right out the door!” Despite her uncertainty back then she continued to perform in play after play. Once she began higher education she realized being an actress is what she wanted to do. “Deep down I knew that’s what I really wanted to do…always wanted to be on The Big Screen.” For years she toured with various companies and finally left the stage scene after spending a five year stint with the national tour for “Wicked.” “After that ended I knew I wanted to do something different…” One door closed and another opened, as she went onto a website that advertised acting jobs and sent in her information for a role that would eventually lead her to THAHN. She admits she did not know the role was for a Tyler Perry production, but was pleasantly surprised when she found out ans was given the part. “I was in shock. I mean it’s Tyler Perry and he chose me out of all people…it really just fit and was a dream come true…”
Renee loves portraying Katheryn Cryer and even admits their are similarities between them. “Well we are both alike some ways. She is really a woman of her age…and at our age you don’t tolerate a lot, you like things a certain way….your body changes and your dealing with weight gain and hormones…you don’t like pretty little things [girls] coming around you stirring stuff up…” Unlike Katheryn she refuses to tolerate cheating and does not have fifty million dollars lying around. She is happy with how her character has progressed on the show. She also loves working with all her cast mates, but admits her favorite scenes are the ones she has shared with Crystal Fox. “…any scene Krystal [Hanna Young] and have done together has been great to me…the emotion, the suspense, it can really get you caught up…I particularly like the scene when Hanna prayed for her [Katheryn] when she discovered she had cancer…” Unbeknownst to most, the characters of Katheryn Cryer and Hanna Young are meant to be sort of a back story to the characters portrayed by Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard in “The Family That Preys.” Like most of the women in America she finds her male cast mates to be extremely attractive! She admits that out of all of them Peter Parros (David Harrington) is who really does it for her. “He is such a good guy and most people don’t know he’s actually very laid back and soft spoken in real life.”
Renee works hard, but plays softly. Whenever she has downtime she finds herself still getting settled into her new apartment, blogging, cooking, and cruising Pinterest. She admits she is very much so a homebody, but prefers to be hands on in all aspects of her life. “Most people don’t know it but I’m very handy…if something comes to my house and needs assembling I put it together myself…” When it comes to future episodes of THAHN Renee is mostly tight lipped, but tells fans to watch out for bad boy Quincy Maxwell, he will be playing a big role in the drama leading up to the season finale. Renee Lawless is fearless, determined, and independent. Every week we get to see her shine as Katheryn Cryer, but now you know the woman behind the powerful matriarch. She tells all aspiring actors the following, “Never give up! I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you’re young go to camp, study voice, hire a private tutor, go to theater…and pursue higher education…it gives you a place to fail and learn and better yourself…pick yourself up, wipe off, and start again without ruining your reputation…” To stay up on Renee Lawless follow her on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter on @MsReneeLawless; and catch her as Katheryn Cryer Tuesdays in Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and The Have Nots,” Tuesdays at 9:00 PM EST.