LA actress Cynthia Kaye McWilliams can’t cut her Chicago ties

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By Zara Husaini @zarhus RedEye
12:09 p.m. CST, January 23, 2013
Cynthia Kaye McWilliams may have moved around a lot as a child, but she left her heart—or at least her appetite—in Chicago.

The self-proclaimed army brat and DePaul grad, who co-stars in the BET comedy “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” knows exactly what she misses most about her old stomping grounds: the food.

“In Chicago bad food is everywhere but it’s so delicious. There are five-star, world-class places too, but I miss the Italian beef dipped with cheese, hot peppers and sweet peppers; deep-dish pizza; Chicago-style hot dogs with a whole pepper,” the 31-year-old actress said.

McWilliams understands that the taste of Chicago can’t be found anywhere else. “We don’t have that in California,” the L.A.-based actress said. “Here we just have sushi and salad. You’re supposed to serve eggs with grits and cheese, not salad. Here they serve eggs with greens.”

But there are big things tethering her to the West Coast. She’s appeared on high-profile TV shows like “The Chicago Code,” “Prison Break” and “Hart of Dixie” – but it’s her current role in “RHOH” that best showcases the skills she picked up at The Theatre School at DePaul.
The show, which was created by and stars comedian Kevin Hart, pokes fun at reality shows and the idea of celebrity. Hart calls it “the realest fake reality show around.” McWilliams plays Trina Shaw, Hart’s attorney.
The show’s executive producer praised McWilliams’ improvisational skills, and “Real Husbands” gives the actress ample opportunity to showcase these chops. McWilliams works almost exclusively with Hart in her scenes, and she said their first scene together was about 97 percent improvised.

“There is a script,” she said. “The bones are there, but we get to color in the lines. The improv provides all the color.”
Chicago actors tend to have strong improvisational skills, McWilliams said. “That’s the difference with actors in Chicago,” she said. “They’re trained in theater. They’re taught to be in the moment, aware.”

Her theater background gave her the ability to deal with pressure onstage and challenges her to stay in the moment during all her scenes. “It teaches you to be prepared for whatever happens.”

“Real Husbands of Hollywood” airs at 9 p.m. CT Tuesdays on BET.

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