Now that the TV One Coins franchise has come to an end, Essence Atkins hopes that fans will learn the power that comes with facing obstacles head-on. The veteran actress has portrayed the role of Madison Morris, who in this third installment of the film franchise flourishes in her dream job alongside her lover Alec (Stephen Bishop), as they navigate challenges that could make or break their relationship.

While Atkins explains that there are several pages that one can take from Madison’s book, the one that stands out is how Madison refuses to allow obstacles to prevent her from pushing through to try new things.

“She put herself out there in the first movie,” Atkins said in an exclusive interview with Shadow and Act.

“I love that Madison is a character who pivots, she is a character who doesn’t let tragedy impede her progress. She may feel a way about it, but she’s not going to let it stop her, and I love that about her.”

Overcoming obstacles

It’s not uncommon for actors to immerse themselves in the characters that they portray. Atkins’ time as Madison has come to an end, but there’s a life lesson that the Half & Half actress has taken from her role.

“I think you need to expect them,” said Atkins when asked how she has learned to face life’s lemons thanks to lessons learned from her character. “I’m a believer and the word says that in his life you will have trouble, but it’s okay because I’ve overcome the world. I think we mislead ourselves when we think that everything will remain as it is as it changes the one constant in life. Just like things are seasonal, we have to anticipate that there will be lemons given to us so it’s important to have some sugar and some water on hand.”

Growth and development

Life is all about change and the film Coins Forever has a beautiful way of capturing that through its storyline on the relationship between Madison and Alec. While all three films have showcased the importance of truth within relationships, this final movie puts a greater emphasis on why there’s always room for growth and development within all relationships.

“[The film] is really about will everyone kind of falls into alignment so that Madison and Alec can overcome their obstacles and be together and if it’s the right decision for them to cross that line when they do have this great friendship,” Atkins continued. That’s something I try to learn from and examine in my own life because I think that it’s important not to necessarily put everyone in the potential partner category.”

She further explains why it’s important to allow things to grow and develop.

“I think you really have to take the time to see what the relationship authentically should be and develops into rather than just inserting someone in a box,” she shared. “We don’t allow relationship dynamics to develop. Just because they could be a great partner, doesn’t mean they’re supposed to be your life partner. They could just be a great partner in business.”

What's next?

For the past 35 years, Atkins has graced our screens through sitcoms like Smart Guy, Half & Half, Marlon, and films like Deliver Us From Eva. She continues to wow us with her talent and even took things a step further when she made her directorial debut last year with the film, Christmas Dilemma.

Looking forward, Atkins has plans to continue to be on the other side of the camera and continue to soak up knowledge as the true creative that she is.

“I would love to direct again,” she expressed. “I want to expand and challenge myself to grow. I don’t want to become complacent so I continue to take classes to stretch myself in terms of the type of characters that I play. I think that growth and expansion are critical to me not being stagnant and continuing to challenge myself.”

For Atkins, it’s important to always have a beginner’s mindset.

“A beginner’s mind is a mind of humility, it’s a mind of curiosity,” she said. “A beginner’s mind is one that is soaking up wisdom around it so I love having a beginner’s mind. I hope to always have a beginner’s mind until I leave this planet.”

On rebooting classics

As an actress who’s been a part of sitcoms that have shaped generations, Atkins understands the demand for reboots of some of our cult classics, particularly Smart Guy.

Recently, her co-star from the hit Disney series, Tahj Mowry revealed that a reboot could very soon be underway. Atkins explains just why she’d be totally on board with bringing the show back.

“I have a nine-year-old son who has started watching the show and I love the messaging in that show, I love the lessons in that show,” she chimed. “ All these years later, it’s still a great show. It’s still a relevant show and I think there are still so many valuable topics that we explored during the show.”

From racial profiling to bullying and intelligence and expectations with a splash of sibling rivalry, Atkins says that there are so many themes in the show that are still very relevant and have meaning and gravitas today. 

“In terms of doing a reboot, I would be open to it because I think these characters would be in very different places all these years later,” Atkins concluded. “I would love to see how they’re family now.” 

Catch Essence Atkins in Coins Forever now airing on TV One and watch the interview below: