Tika Sumpter: Whitney inspired me

Tika Sumpter

Tika Sumpter thought of Whitney Houston as “mama bear” when they worked together.

Tika starred alongside the late singer in movie Sparkle, which was released six months after Whitney died of accidental drowning.

Working with Whitney ranks as one of Tinka’s biggest achievements in life and the Ride Along actress has fond memories of their time together.

“We starred in 2012 film Sparkle together. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my, that’s Whitney Houston,’ but she was so normal. We’d put on music and start dancing or just sit and talk. She was an open book and anytime something was wrong she’d make sure I was OK. She was like a mama bear,” Tika smiled to British magazine Now.

Tika is also grateful that her showbiz life has afforded her the chance to become close friends with Oprah Winfrey.

“Every time I see Oprah Winfrey I can’t believe I’m in her world. I’ve looked up to my entire life. Once I was at a party dancing with her and I remember thinking, ‘What the heck, where am I?’ She’s a good dancer you know,” she laughed.

Tika has been working in the industry for the past eight years, but it was her casting in teen drama Gossip Girl that proved to be her breakout role.

Prior to landing the job the 34-year-old was clueless about the show’s success, which co-starred Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick.

“I had no idea how big Gossip Girl was. When I got the role of Raina Thorpe I’d never actually seen the show, so I didn’t know what a big deal it was. But as soon as I started filming there were crowds of people watching on the streets and taking pics. It was insane,” she recalled.

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