Season 3 of Power Book II: Ghost is a wrap, and yes, there were many developments that came out of it when the dust settled, and bullet cases hit the ground, one of them being that LaToya Tonodeo’s Diana Tejada is not one to be slept on.
It’s been a slow build, but Diana Tejada has fully established herself as a power player in Power Book II: Ghost, and not just the recipient of her mother, Monet Tejada’s (Mary J. Blige) rage, or someone’s love interest.
The 26-year-old Los Angeles native is making quite the name for herself thanks to Power Book II: Ghost, specifically after the show’s highly successful third season that was the victim of a massive leak that saw the final two episodes hit the web.
Cassius Life caught up with the actress, and we talked about Diana turning it up in the third season, some of those spicy moments, and what she hopes to get into outside of the hit Starz drama.
Step into the interview below.
Cassius Life: Now that we are literally at the season three finale, from beginning to end in previous seasons, what do you love about this season that has shown viewers more about Diana? What is your favorite takeaway about your character this season?
LaToya Tonodeo: This is not the first time, but she’s fully stepping into her independence and her power. I’ve been feeling like, at least in season one and season two, it was this journey for her, and now season three, she’s becoming this woman and owning it and taking the bull by the horns, I guess.
…she’s becoming this woman and owning it and taking the bull by the horns…
Now you touched on my next question because Diana got spicy in the previous season. You know that infamous dinner table scene, that’s literally Power’s “Red Wedding” scene right there. That whole scene right there was fire.
I like that. I received that. Thank you.
So this season, Diana’s very spicy. What would be your favorite Diana spicy moment this season?
Ooh, season three. Let me think. Episode nine, where she goes off on Monet, like officially, for killing Papi. She lets her have it, and she says, “If anybody should be dead, it’s your ass.” That’s intense. So I feel like that was definitely fun to shoot and also a growth moment for Diana, at least at that moment. She saw her mother, she’s been seeing her mother for who she believes she is, but she’s never vocalized. She’s never verbalized it to her mother, to her face. So I feel like that was my favorite scene this whole season.
That’s up there for me too. But I got to talk about my favorite Diana moment, of course, when you got the opportunity to do something I think Diana’s been wanting to do for a long time. And that’s put hands on Monet for a little bit. Yeah, even though it was a plan, it was a planned thing, but it was definitely a moment for her. So I would know, can you take me through that scene? How involved was Mary in it? Was she even there?
No, she was 100% there. She made sure that it looked as believable as possible. I was a little nervous because regardless of whoever I’m in a scene with if it’s ever a physical stunt scene, we’re always very careful. We don’t want to accidentally hit someone because that actually happens. So you want to be careful. So we have our stunt coordinator, everyone there, but Mary was 100% for it. She was like, “No, swing!” And I’m like, okay, but is it enough distance? And she was such a 100% team player, and it was fun. It was fun.
We did that a few times because I remember going home, you know how, like… well, I don’t want to say after you get into a fight, but two days later, after being very physical or in the gym, your body starts to feel it two days later. And I felt it because I’m literally swinging. But because you’re punching the air and you’re not hitting anyone, it’s like it puts a strain. So I was like, “Damn, I was really up in there boxing ’cause my arm hurts today,” but it was fun.
You got some aerobics in there, so that’s fun.
So it was good, man. I knew it was real when the “say less” part came in there. I was like, that was perfect.
Say less. Yes.
I’ve watched a lot of TV in my life, and this is easily one of the most popular shows I’ve ever seen on all of television. And it is so popular, in fact, that I think it’s the only show where I’ve seen the penultimate and series, or season finales, of a show leak on anything. What were you thinking when the show’s episodes leaked and what was the cast group chat when the episodes hit the internet?
When they leaked, we weren’t too happy about it. I mean, I thought that it was a joke, but it turns out it was 100% real. I tried to get onto YouTube because I saw people were watching it on YouTube, and I’m like, “These leaks are trash.” So I felt good about that. I was like, yes, they’re zooming in on parts of our eyebrows. So I’m like, ooh, they’re going to have to watch when it officially drops. There was a delay, so I was just bashing the leak. So yeah, that’s all I’m going to say to that.
I wasn’t happy because we put so much work into this, and I feel like episode nine was such a great episode, and you saw transitions happening, especially with the Tejada kids.
So to have episode nine get leaked along with episode ten because people watch episode nine and watch episode ten, it feels like a lot of the scenes that happen with all of our characters kind of get somewhat washed away because you’re looking at this big moment that happens in episode ten, which is the shootout, and everyone’s focused on that, instead of all of the things that transpired in episode nine that led us to episode ten.
So that kind of sucks, but as long as our viewers keep it up and they keep watching on the Starz app and officially on the Starz channel, then it’ll be good. As long as the viewership stays where it is.
Well, thankfully, one thing you guys have is very loyal fans.
That’s a fact.
They watch it on both. They watched the leak, and they would watch it on the TV. So you got to shoutout them for that man. Because I was sad too, when it leaked, I was like, “Come on, man.”
Cause you all don’t get that feeling when we first see it was like, “Oh wow, this is lit. I can’t wait for this wait world to see this.”
And you got to wait a week. Yeah.
Now another thing about Power that makes it a phenomenon is the social media reaction the show gets. And I want to say this season, fans of the show did not like your love interest, Salim. So, what did you think about the jokes as far as your love interest, Salim? And I also want to know if you could be in the writer’s room for the season, though. Who would you ship Diana with eventually? Who do you think Diana should be with on this show?
Yeah, people were going in on him, and I will say they called Salim Ashe Freeman, his character, they called him corny. But Petey McGee is far from corny. So I have to say that. In real life, Petey is not corny. He’s from Kansas City. Okay? And I know Kansas. No, he is not corny, okay?
Now his character may be so, whatever. I mean, Diana definitely didn’t like the fact that he was asking all those questions like you doing too much. Of course, you’re going to research the person that you’re interested in, but you don’t tell them everything. You don’t tell them that you’re researching their dad and all this stuff. That’s doing too much. So she definitely didn’t like that. I feel like if he kept his mouth shut a little longer. Maybe she wouldn’t have had to go off on him the way she did.
Well, right now, besides Salim, it’s Tariq. He’s the only one left. And Tariq and Diana, they do have chemistry, although there’s this rift between the two because of the family, and Monet has always made it very clear that he better not cross that line, even though they sneak off and they kind of cross the line. But mixing the family and business together has always been like this. I don’t know. We want to do that. So we’ll have to see. But for now, I’ll just say I guess Tariq, if I have to choose between Salim and Tariq.
I think a lot of us are rooting for that. People want to see that, so why not? I’m curious as far as playing this role, is any of Diana imprinted on yourself outside the role?
I feel like Diana speaks up a lot, and she says what she wants to say, for the most part. That’s naturally who I am. I feel like I speak up, and I say how I feel. Let me see what else. Diana does curse a lot. I didn’t normally curse as much, but then also being in New York, all of that has imprinted on me, so I feel like maybe I do that a little bit more. Yeah, I would say that’s it so far that I can think of. But as far as Diana being outspoken and ambitious, I feel like that’s naturally who I am. So it kind of helps bridge the two.
But as far as Diana being outspoken and ambitious, I feel like that’s naturally who I am.
I mean, being a New Yorker, you got to learn how to curse.
Some days, you got to curse a few people out. It’s just a normal day here in New York.
For no reason.
Yeah, no reason at all. It’s a normal day here. Hopefully, you’ll be on Power for a long time. You know, we’re going to speak that into existence. But outside of that, is there anything Latoya’s working on outside of Power? Is there anything you would like to do outside of Power?
Thank you for that question. So I would definitely love to produce and direct. I just love everything about the arts. So directing will be something that I would love to do. I love our actor directors that come in because they truly understand the actor’s perspective and the performance and they help bring a lot of these emotions out of us. There’s sometimes, like let’s say we do a scene and we’ve been doing a scene, if there’s like five people in the scene, there are five different coverages you have to take, have to do. So by the time it gets to you, it could be robotic. You’re just saying the lines. But if you have an actors director, they’re like, “Hey, I like your choice, but what about this?” And they make you dig deeper or see a different view of the scene.
So I would love to direct because I feel like I love acting. I’m still growing as an actress. I would love to be able to be that bridge for someone else, and it’s just so much fun to do. And then, as far as other roles, I would love to be in something with Misha Green, Jordan Peele, Leonardo Di Caprio, Viola Davis, like, what the heck? The list can go on and on and on. And as far as working on something, I might have something in the works, so we’ll see. And yeah, for now, let’s go.
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