Yolanda Ross

*Yolanda Ross may have logged in time on the big and small screen, but those roles probably didn’t get as much exposure as the one she plays in Lifetime’s highly-anticipated biopic  “I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story.”

Ross will play plays Robyn Crawford, Houston’s longtime assistant, best friend and rumored lover. The pair’s relationship has always raised questions about Houston’s sexuality, in addition to rumors surrounding her personal life.

Considering her passion for cultural understanding through storytelling, it came as no surprise that Ross took on the role, as noted by the Huffington Post. The actress sat down with HuffPost to chat on her reasons for playing Crawford, her understanding of Houston and why she felt it was important to include Crawford in the biopic.

Highlights from the interview are below:

What drew you to this particular project and role?

The opportunity to portray a person so significant in Whitney Houston’s Life and being directed by Angela Bassett.

Are you a Whitney fan? Have you always been a Whitney fan? How has your understanding of her changed over the course of filming this project?

YES. I am a Whitney fan and have always been a Whitney Fan. My top 3 Whitney songs are “Saving All My Love For You”, “You Give Good Love,” (which I believe, now that I know what Robyn looks like, is one of the two women singing backup in the video), and “I Have Nothing.”

I feel that during the process of this film I learned that this person, “Whitney Houston”, was a lot stronger than I think a lot of us remember her due to the drug usage. She had a very firm understanding of the entertainment business, and really did see herself, in my opinion as having two sides, the performer and the private Whitney which, really didn’t have much private as she became more and more famous then marrying Bobby Brown and becoming a mother while being a woman of color that was smashing records all over the place by starring in a top grossing movie at the time and simultaneously having the number one record in the country out. You would have to have her strength and conviction to make it through that. Her life was not for the weak.

What do you think is so important about your character’s inclusion in this life story? What about Crawford’s character and/or relationship to Houston did you feel was most important for you to bring on screen?

I think it is very important to have the inclusion of the Robyn Crawford character because she was such a key part of Whitney’s life, personal and work wise. With all the criticism and backlashing against this person it needs to be shown that at the base of it all, you had two people that respected and cared for each other since their teenage years through the time period when Whitney rose to her iconic level. When the world is whipping around you, those are the people you want near, to keep you and your life in check. While portraying Robyn, it was important to me to respect the closeness of these two and show that in both the personal and public arenas.

How did you prepare for this role?

I scoured the internet for whatever I could find on Robyn. Though I had heard about her for years, I had never actually seen her so I wanted to get an idea of her but make sure I wasn’t mimicking her in any way. So getting a little insight on her having a strong presence and being supportive helped. I kept that in mind while playing her and really just worked off what a friendship between two people that had known each other for so long is really like as it changes with each obstacle that presents itself.

For the Ross’ entire HuffPost interview, click here.

Watch the trailer: