‘9-1-1’ Star Vanessa Estelle Williams Opens Up About Jumping Between Genres

by Chase Thomas

Jumping between genres in acting is not easy. It’s hard enough becoming good enough in one particular genre before being tasked with mastering another genre entirely. However, Vanessa Estelle Williams’s 9-1-1 fame is able to do just that. She is able to jump between genres where others have not to be able to do so.

Williams told AssingnmentX, “It’s where the work is. I love to work, so it’s like, bring it all on [laughs]. I’m the kind of actor that trains for every kind of genre, I’m open and available to every kind of thing. It feeds me as a creative, it feeds me in terms of what my abilities are – that I can literally do it all. So, I’m pleased and so grateful when I have an opportunity to jump from one genre to the next, whether horror, comedy, drama – all of this involves and delights a different part of your creative muscle. So, I’m prepared and ready to do it all. It’s how the luck falls, and I’m not turning down the jobs, honestly.”

She follows the work. Some folks are not able to simply choose to stay in one particular genre as Williams points out here. She follows where the work is and that sometimes means film and it comes means television. It just depends.

Williams has the right kind of attitude about it, though, as she sees it as a way to hone her craft and become as versatile of an actor as possible. She works different creative muscles to stay fresh, which is obviously very important.

Williams on ‘9-1-1’

But what about her role on 9-1-1? How did Williams transition from the big screen to the small screen? Well, Williams explained it all as she said, “Yeah. That was so amazing to book. Again, it was an offer [as opposed to an audition], thank you very much. I had done another horror genre for [9-1-1 executive producer/co-creator] Ryan Murphy’s company earlier, a few months before that, AMERICAN HORROR STORIES, which was a one-off, each week during the summer, those [short] horror films that they created. I played a therapist for Ba’al [in the episode “Ba’al”]. So, that was wonderful. And so, when they reached back out to me, to say, “Oh, there’s a character that we want you to do,” I don’t think I had gone in for it, but they knew my work from the times where I had auditioned before.”

So she had a familiarity with Murphy, and it just so happened the right character presented itself for Williams.

She concluded, “And my agent called me to say, “Well, there’s a possibility – they’ve got a hold on you to replace an actor whose schedule isn’t working out.” And I was like, “I need to know today, because I’m on a plane tomorrow,” and they were able to get back to me. “Please stay, we want you to fill in.”

You can watch 9-1-1 now on FOX.