Comedy Hype has been reconnecting with actors from our favorite ’90s sitcoms to see where they are now and uncover untold stories about their times on set. Terri J. Vaughn was introduced to the world as Lovita Alizay Jenkins-Robinson on The Steve Harvey Show. The infectious character made her a household name and helped to kick start her career. If it felt like perfect casting, it’s because, according to Vaughn, it was the easiest role she’d ever auditioned for.
Terri briefly detailed how she got into acting. According to her, it was by mistake. While studying in college, Vaughn was approached by a friend looking for girls to participate in the Miss Black USA beauty pageant. Terri agreed but was then faced with the challenge of figuring out a talent for a portion of the show. Vaughn says she was always a good reader and decided she should do a monologue. She decided on doing an excerpt from the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. She performed a piece from the character titled Lady In Blue.
Unbeknownst to Terri, one of the judges on the panel was a play producer. He offered her an opportunity to audition for a play in Berkeley. She took the audition and was cast in the play. Vaughn says she left college and toured for two years. It was during these two years that she fell in love with acting and honed her craft. Vaughn eventually moved to Hollywood, where she appeared in a number of smaller roles on such popular projects as Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Don’t Be a Menace, Living Single, and Family Matters. It was during her 5th year in Los Angeles that she scored the audition for The Steve Harvey Show.
Vaughn has fond memories of her audition process, calling it one of the easiest she’d ever had. According to her, Lovita was someone she knew and felt very familiar with, so she treated the character like one of her close friends she grew up with. While she had to audition 4-5 times, she felt the role was a perfect fit for her.
Vaughn also calls working on the Steve Harvey show one of her best jobs. She had known Wendy Raquel Robinson from her work in the theater scene. While she did not know Steve or Cedric, she said they instantly hit it off at their first table read. She recalled everyone being “fun and zainy.” Her work as Lovita was so well received that she took home three NAACP Image awards in 2001, 2002, and 2003 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
In the time since The Steve Harvey Show, Vaughn has continued to act. She’s appeared in Daddy’s Little Girls, Greenleaf and Insecure. She has also moved to Atlanta, where she started a family. Vaughn has been married twice and has three children. She says she has done some producing and has enjoyed pretty steady work in the 25 years since the series aired.