Stephen Bishop is popularly known for his role as the love interest to the self-sufficient yet self-sabotaging Mary Jane Paul on Mara Brock Akil series Being Mary Jane. Stephen's acting credits include Til Death Do Us Part, Imposters, Grey's Anatomy, Fatal Affair, and can now be seen on TV One's latest romantic drama Coins for Love.
Coins For Love is the sequel to TV One's original film Coins For Christmas, which stars Essence Atkins and Stephen. Stephen reprises his role as the thriving charismatic Alec Derby, who has landed the job of his dreams at a national sports television network. But with every success story comes obstacles that seemingly alters your path and for Derby, his path has led him to some loose ends. Coins for Love takes us on an emotional journey where friendships and goodwill are put to the test as two old acquaintances' love for each other becomes entangled with their past.
Here's what Stephen had to say about taking on the role of Alec Derby and how past acting gigs like Being Mary Jane have shaped the world's view of him as an actor.
After watching the film, Stephen wants the audience to know that his character Alec is evolving.
He was a superstar NFL player but he's not just the stereotypical athlete. He's capable of growth and he wants to grow. He's evolving. I think a lot of it has to do with meeting Madison. I think everyone in life has that person that sparks a change in you, one way or another.
When asked about the pressure of living up to being a sex symbol he asks, "Why did I go and take my shirt off on TV"?
If I had just left the shirt on I wouldn't have to continue to live up to this standard. But at the same time, it's really good for me because it's highly motivating and keeps me in shape. If you're going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. If I'm going to be an actor, I want to be the leading guy. I want to be up there with the leading ladies and be able to carry things. It [Being Mary Jane] did put me there and I'm grateful or it.
On racism, Stephen says he isn't exempt because he was a pro baseball player or because he came from good schooling.
I have a voice to speak for people that don't have a voice that are screaming and nobody hearing them. Me being an ex-pro baseball player, me coming from good schooling and a good family background doesn't exempt me from racism. I don't get a discount.
Watch the full interview below.
Check out the trailer for Coins For Love below.