Danielle Pinnock can thank her mother’s wig for helping her get the role of a lifetime.
The actress stars as Alberta, a Prohibition-era lounge singer living her best afterlife in the CBS comedy “Ghosts,” which returns for its sophomore season on Thursday.
Pinnock, who was familiar with the UK version of the series, was immediately drawn to the role of Alberta because she was “such a delicious diva.” So she knew her audition, conducted from her kitchen because of the pandemic, had to live up to the character’s bold personality.
“I said ‘This is it; this is the role I have been waiting for.’ So I remember I got my mom’s shake-n-go wig, I had this little red hat from a play called ‘Major Barbara,’ I bought a $20 faux fur shawl and I had my 30th birthday dress.”
It worked. Pinnock won the role and has been winning raves for her comedic timing and singing on the series which was quickly crowned the most popular new comedy on broadcast television.
The former northern New Jersey resident knows how tricky auditions can be.
She and her bestie LaNisa Renee Frederick are the co-creators of the viral social media account Hashtag Booked, where their skits lampoon trying to make it as Black actors in Hollywood.
“We had just moved to LA and it felt like the acting Olympics,” Pinnock said of the inspiration for Hashtag Booked. “You could be auditioning with someone who was a season regular on ‘Living Single’ and somebody that won a cinnamon challenge on YouTube. There is no rhyme or reason to this industry.”
Pinnock has spent more than 17 years in the business, steadily building her resume from her one woman show “BodyCourage” to playing the teacher Mrs. Ingram on “Young Sheldon.”
With Alberta, she said she “wants to pay homage to all of the Black artists who came before me” and has been taking singing and dancing lessons to give the role her all.
“She’s over the top, but she also has a vulnerable side to her as we dive deeper into the season,” Pinnock said.
In addition to “Ghosts,” Pinnock also has co-ceated the adult animated series “Unmentionables,” which is being developed for TV by “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, and is working on a book.
And even with all her success and being recognized, Pinnock said she doesn’t yet feel like a celebrity – which is not necessarily a bad thing.
“The downside of being recognized for me is I love to be in a house dress, I love pajamas, I look a hot mess when I’m not in the Alberta glam,” she said, laughing. “But now that the show is such a success and we have 8 to 10 million viewers watching every Thursday and on Paramount+ streaming, I have to get dressed.”