After one of the biggest premieres on TV One, Joy Rovaris is still on a natural high. This fall, the former Disney star took on her most complex role yet, as the late Bobbi Kristina. Kontrol Magazine sat down with Joy to discuss her role as Bobbi Kristina (Krissi), her relationship with her castmates, and the early stages of her career.
While most child actors envision themselves as superheroes and villains, ironically, Joy envisioned herself as the powerhouse vocalist, and seven-time Grammy winner, Whitney Houston.
“As a kid, my dream role was to always play Whitney. As I grew up, I realized that was highly unlikely because I don’t favor her at all. But when this opportunity came to play Bobbi Kristina, I thought what would be more honorable to Whitney, than to play her favorite person in the world, and to give her baby justice. So, in a sense, even though I can’t play Whitney, I feel like I reached my dream, even more so, by honoring her baby”.
Joy’s portrayal of Bobbi Kristina is nothing short of the word “phenomenal”. To really dive into the essence of her character, Joy spent time with those closest to Bobbi Kristina, on and off set. Though her transformation to Bobbi Kristina appears seamless, according to Joy, the costume process was no easy task. The film crew worked day-in and day-out to ensure that Joy’s features resembled those of Bobbi Kristina’s. The lighting had to be close to perfect in order for viewers to see Joy as a young woman born into stardom but stifled by her parent’s legacy.
“I watched the entire series of Being Bobby Brown at least 30 times. I’m not even exaggerating. I know all the words. I did the same thing with The Houstons: On Our Own. When I was watching Being Bobby Brown, I pretended as though Whitney and Bobby were my parents. I watched it in the aspect of being their daughter. It gave me a very, very different perspective, and I think it helped me play Krissi.”
A Match Made in Heaven
Joy’s riveting performance can also be attributed to her star-studded line of castmates. When asked about the atmosphere on set, Joy reminisced about the countless, heartwarming interactions shared between her and Demetria McKinney, who stars as the incomparable Whitney Houston. On and off set, Demetria welcomed Joy with open arms.
“Honestly, I don’t want to be cheesy, but it was a dream come true. It was something about the way our cast just clicked, that felt really divine. Demetria walked into my hotel room, and I said, hi, it’s nice to meet you. Immediately, she said, “come here baby girl”, and from then on, we were like Whitney and Krissi. Her performance in this movie is chilling. She embodies Whitney, and that brought out Krissi in me. There were so many powerful moments that took place when we were filming. It felt like we lost control”.
Stepping Out of the Shadows
During one of the most talked about scenes of the film, Bobbi Kristina yells at Whitney, portrayed by Demetria McKinney, “Everything is always about Whitney. I can never sing as well as you. I can never be the superstar you are.” Joy explained that to capture the depth of Bobbi Kristina’s hurt, she tapped into her past hardships as an up and coming actress. Growing up in a family full of prominent professionals, Joy felt her dream of being an actress was unattainable. At one point, she admits to giving up on her dreams to pursue a safe career path.
“When I was younger, even into adulthood, my family set goals in education; my parents are both doctors in education, so they both have a Ph.D. The rest of my families are lawyers and doctors. They have very prominent careers. I wanted to be an actress, so it kind of didn’t fit in with the rest of the family. Acting is a really rough career choice. You just can’t give up. It takes so many times of hearing no to get a yes, and in that time, I did feel like I should use my degree and teach or be a veterinarian, something stable. But I wouldn’t have been happy. I had to really push through. Living in a shadow of a successful family was hard, but I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
Because of Joy’s perseverance and dedication to her craft, Bobbi Kristina ranked as number three on TV One’s original movie premiere. In case you missed Joy’s stellar performance in Bobbi Kristina, be sure to catch the encore on TV One.