Logan Browning is our kind of actress. It doesn’t matter if the role calls for an opportunistic dancer (BET’s Hit the Floor), a budding superhero (PlayStation’s Powers) or a revenge-seeking cellist (Netflix’s The Perfection), when the first assistant director yells, “Action,” Browning’s already nailed the scene. If you want more proof of her versatility, she returns as Samantha White, the complicated centerpiece in Netflix’s hit dramedy series Dear White People, on August 2.
Browning also is our kind of explorer. Whether she’s showing L.A. off to friends or vacationing in Europe with her mom, she makes the most of every experience. And when the Atlanta native does an interview and she’s asked about her hometown, all-inclusive hotels or favorite cities, she gives thoughtful responses. We guess she’s our kind of interview subject, too.
On your Twitter timeline, there’s a post where you talked about how difficult the auditioning process was. Is that the hardest part of being in Hollywood?
I think that, like any job, there are just challenges that you face and you learn how to maneuver around. The tweet that you’re talking about was really specific to the fact that I’ve been auditioning since I was a 14-year-old. That is over 15 years ago.
You can look at my resume and see the number of projects that I’ve done. Now, divide the number of days that are in 15 years with the number of auditions that I’ve probably gone on and see that what really happens in the entertainment industry, with actors in particular, is that you go into so many taxing [auditions] and put your heart on the table and it’s just not meant to be.
I don’t know if I would call that the hardest part of Hollywood, but I would say that it can be taxing for people, if you don’t know how to take care of yourself and don’t know how to actually have fun in the audition and let that be an experience on its own. That’s what my dad always taught me. Every time I would go out for an audition, the last thing he would tell me would be to have fun.
One thing that’s certainly glowing on your resume is Dear White People. Congratulations on the third season. What do you think it is about the show that resonates with audiences?
I think a lot of things about the show draw people to it. I think, initially, it was that the title was provocative. The subject matter was refreshing, current and relatable. I think what keeps people watching is that it’s another character show. You’re getting to invest in characters that haven’t always been explored on the screen. You’re able to easily watch it on Netflix and binge it.
It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion, why people would be drawn to something like that. It’s easy access to something you haven’t had access to for most of your life.
With DWP and The Perfection, you seemingly have a good relationship with Netflix. What separates it from other studios?
It feels like it’s not in a box. It feels like it has no limitations. It creates its own rules and its own standards. When you’re attached to a company like that, it’s empowering to you as a person and an artist. That’s what draws me to them. It feels like I’m constantly being surprised by what they’re offering on their platform.
It doesn’t matter to them whether people love a show or whether all of their millions of subscribers are watching a show. What matters to them is that they’re creating content for people who haven’t seen themselves and stories that haven’t been told. That’s creating history.
The business that they’re in is deeper than what the rest of [Hollywood] tends to gravitate towards. That’s what makes them really unique and special.
Are you a full-time L.A. resident?
I guess so. I own a home back in Georgia, so I go back there a lot. My mom still lives there. But yeah, I’m an L.A. resident.
Do you get homesick? Do you miss the South?
I do get homesick. I miss some of the traditions. Where I’m from, specifically, there’s just not the sensory overload like living in a place like L.A. The things that you gravitate towards doing kind of become repetitive in a traditional way.
I think I may feel like this because I live in L.A. and I’m an actor. If I lived in L.A. and had a regular job, I’d feel differently. Yes, there is repetition in the week. But back home, you know that one day out of the week you’re going to get your hair done.
And I miss being around my mom. She’s always trying to go on walks. She’s always the one to come up with an activity. It just feels different at home.
Speaking of the South, you did a hilarious Dear White People promo where you debated salty versus sweet grits. When you crave Southern staples like grits or collard greens, where do you find them in California?
It’s so funny, whenever my mom comes, there are certain things that we cook at home that you just cannot find in the grocery stores. The kind of grits we make you can’t find in the grocery store. The kind of crust we need for the peach cobbler you can’t find in the grocery store in L.A.
We spent Christmas this past year here in L.A. and she was like, “I need to ship all of the pie crust and all the stuff we’re going to need because your grocery store won’t have it.”
I don’t know if I’ve really found grits and soul food here that I’m really digging. I love Blu Jam Café. I think Blu Jam Café does a really good with breakfast in general, but it’s not Southern breakfast.
If you were playing tour guide for a day in L.A., where would we go to get a sample of the city?
I’m not afraid of doing the staple L.A. tourist things. I definitely love taking people to Runyon Canyon because you get your workout in and you get a view in. You definitely want to get something to eat after, so it’s always a nice start to the day. There’s a Tocaya Organica, which is a chain restaurant, but it’s yummy Mexican that’s kind of fresh, and they still have margaritas.
I do sometimes drive out towards the water. I always go towards Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu and Manhattan Beach. It all just depends on the vibe [of the person I’m with]. All the different beaches have their different energies. So, it depends on if the person wants really chill, low key, I might take them to Santa Monica or Venice. If they want more bougie, I’ll take them to Malibu. If they want something that feels like a beach town, I take them to Manhattan Beach.
Have you been able to get away for the summer?
Yeah, I just went to Puerto Vallarta for my friend’s bachelorette party. I’ve never been there. We did an all-inclusive resort, which I’ve never done before. It was cool because we were all doing it together, but I don’t know if I eat enough in a hotel to do an all-inclusive.
I always want to get out of wherever I am. I guess all-inclusives work if you’re going to just vacation [at the property]. We went zip-lining, fishing and taking advantage of eating at the hotel.
Any other trips lined up?
I went to Paris already this summer, which I always love. It’s so funny going to Paris on someone else’s dime. I stay in these beautiful Five-Star hotels. But my mom went with me, so we extended our trip. We’re not going to pay to stay in Five-Star hotels for however many days, so we always stay somewhere on her hotel points. It’s such a funny experience and transition. I’m fine with either.
When you’re staying at a really comfortable hotel, I feel like you don’t try to leave as much. You just want to stay and enjoy what’s there. But if you’re staying at something with just your room and your bathroom and that’s it, you go, “Okay, what else is around here? What else can I do?”
I was going to take her to the Champagne region. I got us tickets to go champagne tasting. My mom loves it. We were going to go to Épernay, which we were very excited about.
However, the day before, when I went to go buy train tickets to Reims, which is where the champagne tour was picking us up from, I went to the concierge to try to book a train ticket and he’s like, “Ugh, are you going to the game?” I was like, “What game?” He was like, “The Women’s World Cup is in Reims tomorrow. There are no trains coming out until 5:30.” I had no clue.
What are the odds? The one time I ever wanted to go to do champagne tastings, there’s the World Cup.
What makes Paris such a special place to you?
My mom went to interior design school for college. Afterwards, she moved to Paris. Her dad ended up having a medical emergency, so she had to leave Paris and come home and take care of him. She never came back. She always had the intention of living in Paris. So, growing up, she made us listen to French tapes, which I hated and never learned French from.
But as I grew up, became an adult and had my own dreams, my own dad got sick. I just thought about what sacrifice my mom made. I did get to travel to Paris and imagined, as a young woman, what it would have been like for her. I guess I just wanted to explore it in honor of her, you know. And as many times as I can, I go to Paris with her and continue to explore.
Now, she wants to retire there, so anything I can do to facilitate her learning the language more, being more acclimated with the city or feeling like it’s some place I’d want to come visit her, I’m all game for that.