Sweet Magnolias star Heather Headley teases character Helen’s ‘heavy’ on-and-off romance and entrepreneurial journey – The Sun

NETFLIX is giving fans a heavy dose of female friendship and small-town romance with its new series, Sweet Magnolias, which drops on Tuesday.

Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley, who stars on the show as successful lawyer Helen Decatur, told The Sun her character goes on quite the journey this season — both with her career and her love life.

Sweet Magnolias is based on Sherryl Woods’ book series of the same name and follows Helen and her lifelong best friends, Maddie (Joanna Garcia Swisher) and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), as they navigate their careers and romances in the small town of Serenity.

The cast also includes Chris Klein as Maddie’s husband Bill, Jamie Lynn Spears as Bill’s assistant and pregnant mistress Noreen, Justin Breuning as Maddie’s son’s coach and her new love interest Cal, and more.

At the start of season 1, Heather’s character Helen, a hot-shot lawyer specializing in family law, returns to Serenity “because she's needed back home by her parents and by the town and decides to stay.”

As quite the businessperson, she decides to split her focus on her law practice and a new venture — one with her two best friends.


The 45-year-old actress told The Sun that Helen “believes in the growth of the town, financially and business-wise, so she and her friend Dana Sue, they talk about starting a spa, and they pull Maddie in on it.”

Heather added: “I don't think they ask her about, they just kind of say, 'Hey, this is what we're doing. We're starting a spa, and you're in!’

Though Helen, who’s the only one of her friends without kids or a spouse, is at that “precarious age where she wants to have a family,” she doesn’t spend all of her time focusing on her love life, which really excited the actress.

The singer explained: “The journey is of her as the entrepreneur and not only her as the lawyer and friend, but doing things to build the community.

“That's something I found really interesting about Helen. That she doesn't just come back and sit and deal with her own business, but she believes in the business of the town.”

There’s still love in the air for her character, of course.

She’s been in an on-again-off-again relationship with Ryan Wingate (Michael Shenefelt) since her teen years, and this is “somebody she's always loved, [but she’s] trying to figure out if that's the person for her.”

While Helen’s dealing with being back in town, a new business idea and the drama of her love life, she always has her two girlfriends to hash it out with, and they do so over margarita and chips.

Heather revealed of the tradition: “The girls get together quite a bit to just talk and share with each other.

“They've done this for years, and they do it over what they call a margarita night. They cry over margarita night, they laugh over margarita night. It's like their therapy.”

Although the Broadway star said her character’s journey is pretty calm and easygoing early on in the season, she shared that things start to get a bit “heavy” later on with some more emotional and dramatic moments, including some “crying” scenes.

This new drama marks Heather’s second Netflix series, after first making her TV show debut with the streaming service’s She's Gotta Have It, based on the 1986 feature film, as Dr. Jamison.

Since 2018, Heather’s also played the role of Gwen Garrett on the NBC Dick Wolf drama, Chicago Med.

Previously, she was in the 2004 Dirty Dancing sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and coming up, she's set to star in the Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, as the late gospel singer Clara Ward.

All 10 episodes of Sweet Magnolias season 1 releases on Netflix on May 19, and the cast will be participating in a virtual watch party that same day at 4 p.m.

Fans can join in by downloading Chrome's Netflix Party extension and clicking the link on the @SweetMagnolias social media pages on Tuesday.

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