Holly Robinson Peete is back with a brand new project on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and theGrio caught up with the actress to break down the new role, the new beginnings her character Madeline steps into and “evolving as a person.”

Premiering this weekend, Holly Robinson Peete stars in “The Journey Ahead” alongside Kaylee Bryant (“Legacies”) and Mark Humphrey (“E.N.G.”). The film follows Madeline (Peete), an aging Hollywood actress with little to no meaningful personal relationships and is dealing with some seriously bad luck. After receiving word she must travel from LA to NYC for an urgent medical appointment, she hires Sarah (Bryant) to drive her across the country. What unfolds is a story of unconditional friendship as the two women learn about each other, grow closer and lean on each other in their times of need.

Actress Holly Robinson Peete Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Holly Robinson Peete attends her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony on June 21, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

TheGrio: I must first reiterate how much I enjoyed the film. I related to Madeline on so many levels throughout the film. In the beginning of Madeline’s journey, she had to make a tough choice that would stick with her for the rest of her life. How do you believe choices affect how we live our lives?

Peete: Choices have a lasting impact on our lives. We don’t often have the wisdom we need at the time to make the perfect choices. But you cannot be defined by those choices even though they do impact your life. I often wish I could go back and make better choices with the wisdom I have at my age now, but that’s not possible!

TheGrio: Madeline is the queen of materialism items! Queen of big purses, big glasses and sky-high stilettos. Do you think deep down Madeline was clear on what really matters, or do you think she was feeding a narrative of a larger-than-life actress?

Peete: Madeline was definitely feeding the narrative of what she needed to have in her life materialistically to fill the void of what she was missing emotionally. The houses in New York, Malibu, Beverly Hills, the purses, etc., all the trappings are things that she kept herself busy with to avoid other issues and emotions she has suppressed her whole life.

TheGrio: Health and wellness are paramount, especially in highly stressful jobs. Why do you think Madeline finally took time away to tend to her health?

Peete: It wasn’t until she got bad news about her health that I believe Madeline really paid attention for the first time to her mortality. Sometimes a health scare is the jolt we need to make us pay more attention to the importance of health because, without it, wealth means nothing! 

TheGrio: For so many years, Madeline was putting everybody’s needs before her own—how reflective is this of women across the world? How important is community in these instances, and did Madeline have a true community?

Peete: Women always put themselves in the back of the line…especially mothers. I don’t believe Madeline had real true friends in her community. Her criteria was all the way off as it pertains to why people are important to her. This was part of her journey of discovery with Sara. 

TheGrio: We love new beginnings at theGrio—It took a potentially life-changing decision for Madeline to make changes—how do you think her perspective changed once she received favorable news from the New York doctor?

Peete: Like most people, when Madeline got that scare about her health, she realized it was an amazing opportunity to pivot and refocus her life on what really matters. Because Madeline’s life was so charmed and full of material things she believed she could hide the fact that she was deeply unhappy instead of seeking a life with actual substance. I love that she found a new beginning despite the fact that she was resisting it with her whole heart! 

DesignCare 2022 Gala to benefit the HollyRod Foundation Honors Taraji P. Henson and features fashion icon Sergio Hudson
Holly Robinson Peete attends DesignCare 2022 Gala to benefit the HollyRod Foundation on June 18, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for HollyRod Foundation)

TheGrio: Multigenerational conversations were incredibly evident throughout the film; what did Madeline learn from Sarah?

Peete: Madeline learned so much from Sarah. How dare Sarah teach Madeline lessons being half her age! When we get to a certain age, we think we know everything and we don’t think anyone who hasn’t experienced as much life as we have can teach us anything. Working with Kaylee was such a treat. She is wise beyond her years. She is the same age as my daughter and I asked her how I could understand and relate to my daughter better and she said, “try listening to her.” She overheard some of my conversations with my daughter and said I was talking over her and dismissive of her point of view (which, of course, is what my daughter tells me all the time). So I found Kaylee to be helpful to me—Holly–in the same way that Sarah was helpful to Madeline!

TheGrio: There’s a new “journey ahead” for Madeline—what is your wish for her as she begins to put herself first?

Peete: My wish for Madeline is that she establishes relationships that are based on honesty, trust and true friendship. My wish for her is that she releases the guilt that she has carried for so many years as a result of some choices she made at a very young age. Madeline has redefined what happiness means on this journey.

TheGrio: What do you want viewers to take away from Madeline’s story?

Peete: I think viewers will find that there is a lot to take away from Madeline‘s journey in “The Journey Ahead!” Definitely one takeaway is the importance of being open to evolving as a person. Our journeys don’t end because we become a certain age or because a career ends. In many ways, that’s just the beginning! Continue on your journey!

“The Journey Ahead” premieres Sunday, Aug. 14 (9 p.m. ET/PT), on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.



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