Interview: Denise Crosby on ‘Suits’, Her Career and the “Beauty” of Acting

If you were watching the season premiere of Suits, you saw a familiar face pop up in the last moments of the show. Denise Crosby made a grand entrance and immediately, you knew her character, Faye Richardson, was going shake things up on the final season of the USA’s hit show.

In this interview, Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Pet Sematary, Ray Donovan) talks about her role on the show, her career, the types of characters she usually plays and a particularly bad audition when she was just staring out.

You have a pretty great intro on the show.

Denise Crosby: Well, thank you so much. I’m so excited to see it. I haven’t seen it myself yet.

For this recurring role, how did you get approached?

Denise Crosby: You know, just a typical audition. I read for the part, tested and I think that Aaron, the creator of the show, saw my tape and he went, “that’s my Faye Richardson.”

Even with everything you’ve done, the massive amount of credits you have, you still had to audition?

Denise Crosby: You know, once in a while someone will come with a straight offer. But, you know, there’s so many moving parts. There’s so many chefs in the mix that, you know, everybody’s gotta be pleased. How any of us work, it’s miraculous, you know?

Do you still like auditioning?

Denise Crosby: You know, it’s… no. But, I don’t think you have the option of saying, “I don’t like it.” Because it’s the thing you have to do, so you’ve got to sort of get around that somehow, you know? You can say “no” and then you’re sitting on your butt.

Tell me about your character, Faye. From what I’ve seen so far, she seems like a bad ass.

Denise Crosby: Oh, yeah. Faye is sent from the New York Bar Association as a special master, which is a real thing, to the firm to basically serve as its lifeline. I mean, they are on the verge of complete and utter chaos and collapse and you know, they’ve just done way too many unethical things and they’re all about to lose their licenses. And so the bar is giving them one last chance to see if they can play by the rules. And so she’s given a court order to go in there and pretty much take over.

This is the last season of the show, the cast has been working together forever and you’ve been acting for a while, do you still get that ‘new kid on the block’ feeling when you come into a show? Especially one that’s been running this long?

Denise Crosby: Oh, absolutely. This is a family and they’ve been together, you know, nine years. They’ve seen children be born, Meghan Markle was a huge part of the show. There have been all kinds of stuff that have been huge events in their lives. That being said, they were absolutely so inviting and welcoming and just held my hand to bring me up to speed. You know, they have a certain rhythm they work in, a certain shorthand they’ve established now with each other but never once did I feel not heard or seen or legitimate presence there.

And that could go either way. I’ve been on shows where the people are not welcoming. You’re the guest star and they could care less. They know in seven days you’ll be out of there.

And I’ve been on the opposite where shows…. I’ll name the show NYPD Blue. By the time I got onto NYPD Blue, it had one every Emmy possible, they had nothing more to prove. Dennis Franz had done everything under the sun and the show was a huge hit. David Milch had been writing it and I thought I was queen for the day when I came onto that set. I kept looking around thinking, “God, do they think I’m Glenn Close?” I mean, it was just so amazing. That’s the difference. That’s what you want to be. You wanna be there for whoever is on that show because you’re all there for the same reason. You all need each other to make it look good.

Just talking to you, you seem very lovely, but you play a lot of very strong, no-nonsense characters it seems like.

Denise Crosby: It’s my short blonde hair and five-eight stature. Somebody’s gotta do it.

Does that assertiveness just come natural to you?

Denise Crosby: Oh, if you only knew! I have the insecurity and shyness of being an only child and all those sorts of things that comes with it. But, you know, acting, that’s the beauty of it. You get to wear these different costumes and this different makeup and suddenly, you’re someone completely different.

But yeah, I always think it’s so funny when I’m playing these high powered lawyers or judges or these political people. I dropped out of community college, you know? It’s just so funny.

What’s been one of your worst auditions?

Denise Crosby: My worst audition… shoot. You know, I don’t think it was that long ago actually. Well I had one… Before I started working, I was working in a shop on Melrose Avenue here in Hollywood. It was an art deco furniture shop and there was a guy and he was kind of a jerk. He came in and was trying to buy a rug or something. He was just really cocky and arrogant and treated me like crap. I was a young girl shop assistant and he was just an ass. And then I went in and I read for him. He was a director. He was in the room and I went, “Oh my God. Oh my God. You’re that guy.” And this is before I even said a word of the audition. And of course the producers are looking at me like, “What? What are you saying?” I didn’t stand a chance getting that part. There was no way that guy going to hire me. That was pretty awkward.

Suits airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on USA

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Lance Carter is an actor and the Editor of Daily Actor.

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