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The third season of Netflix's murderous dramedy You is here and while everyone's eyes are at first on stars Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti, there comes a moment watching that you realize Shalita Grant has stolen the show.
If you remember from season two, Joe and Love flee Los Angeles after a series of murders and plan on quietly welcoming their new baby into the world in a California suburb. Grant plays Sherry, Madre Vista's own Queen Bee. "She has a fabulous husband and perfectly imperfect children, and she's a 'mom-fluencer,'" Grant tells PRIDE. "She's found a way to bank on her perfection and also sharing all of her mistakes to help, you know, everyone else."
Sherry is one of the first to welcome (in her own, unique way) Joe and Love to town, but make no mistake, "Madre Linda is her kingdom." Unfortunately, it's impossible for Joe and Love to suppress those killer urges, and Sherry quickly gets wrapped up in their poisonous web.
Grant, who made another hysterical appearance on HBO's dark comedy series Search Party, was a massive fan of the show before she was cast and couldn't be more ecstatic to appear on what she considers her favorite season yet.
"I like to break down the episodes like this," she teases. "One through four is an introduction to Joe and Love's marriage and also an introduction to Madre Linda. Five through seven is everything that you thought you knew about these characters goes upside down. And eight through ten is you're at the top of the roller coaster, and there's nowhere to go but down – and we go real fast."
No spoilers, but it's revealed that Sherry is a bit more sexually open than anyone in the small town might've guessed. This was a blast to play for Grant, who is an out lesbian.
"My road to myself has been a winding one," she reflects. "I had a straight phase. I grew up in Virginia. I grew up in a hair salon and I grew up in the nineties. In the nineties, if you didn't display any like gender issues, they just made the assumption that you were straight. And I liked to dress. I had no problems with it. I was the straightest little lesbian ever." Grant's family operated like many others in Virginia, where you "Just don't do that stuff over here. So, people would have to disappear to have their lives."
Grant "was about 25 here in New York" when she had her first experience and realized she wasn't straight. "About a year and a half after that, I was like, 'Actually, I'm just gay.'"
"When I found out, I was like, 'I'm telling everybody.' Because here's the thing. As a woman, sexual pleasure is not part of the conversation, right? So, when I was having all of these sexual experiences, and I had a lot of them, not going to lie, you know? I was getting it in, all right? But I was also in search of pleasure. I was like, 'Why don't I feel anything.' Wherever I looked, online, having conversations with other women, it's normalized for women to not have pleasure during sex and for sex to be totally centered around the man's pleasure. Sex begins when he's hard and it's over when he's done and that's it. And so when I discovered who I was, part of me being out was like, 'Ladies, if you're having the issue I'm having, venture out, maybe your body is telling you something.'"
The natural comedian laughs about the experiences now. "I always say I had a straight brain and a gay body. And when things like linked up, I was like, 'I gotta tell the world.' And also, quite frankly, this is the safest time ever to be out, you know?"
Grant was even "gay married" in 2018 but is now a "part of a new, but growing relationship status" she calls "gay divorced." She's now in a happy relationship with former MMA world champion, Jessica Aguilar.
"I ain't gonna hide nothing! I'mma kiss her, hold her hand. If you got a problem, talk to Jesus. But we good over here. We are happy."
Navigating Hollywood as an actor is challenging, especially for LGBTQ+ folks. Grant plays a not-quite straight housewife on You, and is happy to see more and more opportunities for queer actors. There are so few LGBTQ+ characters out there that straight people don't need those roles, she says. "I do think that there are enough people who are out now that it doesn't have to be that way. When it goes that way, there is a disparity there that I don't think is necessary. I think that you can hire gay actors to play gay. Quite frankly, a lot of us gay people were straight at one point so I don't see it as a problem going the other way, you know?"
She's also faced her fair share of challenges as a Black woman. Following public conversations around mistreatment of Black hair care on TV and film sets and damage down to her own, Grant sought a solution and is now sharing it with the world. In 2019, she founded Four Natural Haircare "to help women with Type 4 hair maximize, define, restore and love their curls. Alongside a team of leading experts, she researched and perfected ancient practices and ingredients from India and North Africa to develop the revolutionary treatment," a press release reads.
Grant hopes this is a positive step towards change in the industry. "The business and the culture hasn't changed, but the numbers of people that they let in has. So what happens is you just have a larger amount of people that get traumatized the same way," she explains. "Instead of one, you get 50. Everybody got fucked up hair."
From You and onward, we can't wait to see what this bonafide star does next.
Watch our full interview with Shalita Grant below: