Last seen sporting a satin bunny outfit on the short-lived series The Playboy Club, Naturi Naughton finds herself back on television this spring in a new show, again part of a female-centric ensemble in Lifetime’s The Client List, set in a spa that gives select clients a little something extra. Loretta Devine plays the proprietor and Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as a single mom in financial straits who takes a job at the Texas establishment. Naughton’s character is Kendra, the baby of the bunch.
“She’s very sweet and naïve and youthful. She brings this side to the character that I didn’t get to do in other characters I’ve played that were more sexy and serious. She’s the yoga-Zen-positive-happy girl,” Naughton compares. “But she’s living a double life as well. She’s engaged to be married and her fiancé doesn’t know that she works in the spa,” and might call off the wedding if he finds out. Arlen Escarpeta (American Dreams) plays the boyfriend, “and you’ll see some drama between us in the fourth episode.”
Although she was shocked and saddened by The Playboy Club’s cancellation, as she “expected so many great things for the show,” she feels fortunate to have landed another job quickly. Pink slipped in October, she got the job on The Client List in December. Not only was she thrilled that she could live at home, since it shoots in Los Angeles, she loved the fact that it was a female ensemble. “Working with women is fun for me. I feel like I’ve gained a new group of friends, which is always nice,” Naughton says. “It’s hard to do that in this business.”
Also active in other mediums, the Fame star has the independent movie Highland Park making the film festival circuit. She plays an aspiring singer encouraged by her guidance counselor (Kimberly Elise) to set her sights beyond her Detroit neighborhood and follow her dreams. She gets to sing a bit in it, and would love to do so in The Client List if the opportunity arises, but she will definitely get the chance to put her pipes to use this spring. She’ll spend the next few months in New York in a workshop production of Holler if You Hear Me, based on the music of Tupac Shakur. “It’s not Tupac’s life, it’s his music inspiring a story,” she differentiates. She's sworn to secrecy not to reveal plot or cast, but was visibly thrilled to be a part of it. “Singing and performing is my passion,” she says. “I’m really happy.”
The Client List premieres on April 8 at 10 p.m. EST on Lifetime.
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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For Lifetime)