LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Shalita Grant joins the cast of You Season 3, premiering Friday on Netflix, and said her character may be a villain.
Murdering couple Joe (Penn Badgley) and Love (Victoria Pedretti) encounter Sherry (Grant) when they move to fictional Madre Linda, Calif.
"When you meet Sherry, you're not really sure if she's a villain or if she's someone who you're going to love," Grant told UPI in a phone interview. "But by the end of it, you'll have a suspicion."
Joe and Love hope Madre Linda is a town where they can settle down with their baby daughter without raising suspicion about their past crimes. Sherry writes a blog called Heart Shaped Mistakes and shares all about her life as a Madre Linda mother on social media.
Sherry's visibility creates more problems for Joe and Love. When there is another murder, Sherry leads the search party for the victim, even though she was not friends with the person.
"The fact that she's the leader of this search party is super on-brand for Sherry," Grant said. "She's the queen of the town. That's her town."
The 33-year-old Grant said Sherry's cliquish nature puts her at odds with Joe and Love when they move in. Sherry has no inkling that her new neighbors are murderers, but simply does not welcome outsiders.
Grant said that as the season goes on, Sherry warms up to Joe and Love. However, at first she protects her clique of Madre Linda socialites.
"She comes off as a villain, but she softens," Grant said.
Sherry taught Grant a thing or two about social media, Grant said. In one episode, Sherry explains to Love that it's important to show your vulnerability on social media. Grant said she has incorporated that into her own posts.
"A lot of people enjoy seeing pretty pictures, but also knowing what's going on in your life," Grant said. "I have some very vulnerable posts and some sexy pictures."
Grant said she has opened up about her recent divorce from Sabrina Skau and her feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic on her social media accounts.
Grant also brought some of her own own style to Sherry. She said she thought Sherry, as an influencer, would be obsessed with a natural look.
"I really invest in every character, and your body tells a story," Grant said.
After appearing on NCIS: New Orleans from 2015 to 2018, Grant said, she lost most of her hair due to the treatments she endured for that role. In 2019, Grant created Four Natural Hair Care and used that to help create Sherry's style.
Grant has Type 4 hair, which she said is the tightest curl on a scale used by cosmetologists, ranking hair types from 1 to 4. Grant said her natural hair curls into a corkscrew, but Four Natural Hair Care allowed her more flexibility without risking further damage.
"I was able to go into that job and hand the head of the hair department my tangle tamer, my heat protector and go over how to properly flat iron my hair," Grant said. "For me, it's really freed me up to play whatever character that I get hired to play."
Sherry also sports Grant's tattoos. When Sherry wears low-cut tops, you'll see Grant's real tattoo of a machete with two honeybees.
"It's a play on a phrase, 'honey-dipped machete,'" Grant said. "It definitely works for Sherry, a honey-dipped machete."
Grant auditioned for Baltimore School of the Arts in her sophomore year of high school and was accepted. An acting teacher in her senior year recommended that she audition for The Juilliard School for college.
Grant attended Juilliard and graduated in 2010. She performed Shakespeare in the Park and earned a Tony Award nomination in 2013 for her role in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Since NCIS, Grant also has appeared on the shows Santa Clarita Diet and Search Party. She said she hopes to return to theater after You and the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I really enjoy an audience," Grant said.