‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Star Shalita Grant Says ‘Physical Damage’ Contributed To Her Leaving Show

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Although the “NCIS” franchise has moved on without “NCIS: New Orleans” at its side, the show isn’t quite in the past for everyone involved.

The show ended after the end of its seventh season. Some fans of the show also likely remember Sonja Percy on the show. She was a former ATF special agent. She was also Christopher LaSalle’s partner.

Sonja Percy was a recurring character throughout season one. Then she was a main character for seasons two through four. Eventually, her character departs to join the FBI.

‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Star Talks Damage

Shalita Grant is the actor behind this popular “NCIS: New Orleans” character.

In fact, while on the “Tamron Hall Show,” Grant opened up about the “physical damage” she suffered from while she was working on the show. She also claims it was a big part of her departure from the program in 2018.

Specifically, Grant had to wear a variety of wigs that left her hair in poor condition by the end of her time on the show.

“It was about a year and a half in the making. So I had started documenting some of the physical damage that was going on – it’s harder to document the emotional damage,” Grant said during the interview.

Sonja Percy’s hair appeared different every episode in her signature ponytail. However, that look did not coexist well with Grant’s natural hair. In only six months, Grant said she had a bald spot on her head after season two. She tried to adapt the wig to reduce hair loss. She had to pay for her own wigs and show up with her hair done.

“In the front of my hair I was threatening baldness, so when I came back for season four and everybody on Twitter let me know, ‘That looks like a helmet’… By that point I didn’t care anymore, because I was protecting myself,” she also said.

Shalita Grant Talks Hostile Environment

For Shalita Grant, she believes a big part of it all is that she was treated very differently than her fellow white co-stars were on “NCIS: New Orleans.” She felt it was especially apparent backstage in hair and makeup and wardrobe. She said the “treatment in the hair department is totally different from what’s going on with [her] co-workers.”

Instead of getting her hair done with everyone else, Grant had to come ready to go on the multimillion-dollar production that is “NCIS.” Grant said at some point her fellow co-stars and crew members tried to claim she was “hard to work with.”

At that point, it all became a breaking point for her. “But the truth is, I wasn’t being worked with…So I have to save myself,” she said.

She also spoke to the Los Angeles Times regarding some of her new roles and “NCIS: New Orleans” in 2020. The news outlet stated, “Without dwelling on the details, Grant describes an array of problems on the show involving race, gender and ‘stupid … actor [expletive].'” For reference, the showrunner, Brad Kern, was replaced in 2018 after accusations that he created a hostile work environment.

As for Shalita Grant, she’s had a lot of success on “Search Party” as Cassidy. She also played mega influencer Sherry Conrad on the new season of “You.”