Sheryl Lee Ralph’s post-Emmy Awards glow continues to shine as the Abbott Elementary star can be seen hitting the runway in Rihanna’s new Savage X Fenty Vol. 4 fashion show. The best supporting actress winner takes a spin in the spotlight opposite stars like Cara Delevingne, Damson Idris, Irina Shayk, Lilly Singh, Marsai Martin, Simu Liu, Taraji P. Henson, Taylour Paige and Winston Duke, among others.
Ralph, 65, took a break on the set at her day job on Abbott Elementary to speak with The Hollywood Reporter about her runway ensemble (“It was classy, not ratchet”), whether she’s eyeing any Savage X Fenty pieces for the new season (“I sent the link to my husband”) and if she’s now fielding calls from fashion designers after her Emmy win (“If it happens, it will happen.”).
What was the experience like modeling in the show?
First of all, the choreography was just amazing and different. The music was outstanding. The sets, the lights. I mean, I thought that I had been transported some place far away from Simi Valley.
Was it a quick shoot?
There was nothing quick about it. Since I had to catch a plane, they made the effort. It was really about four or five hours.
What did you wear?
I wore a serpent green bustier jumpsuit of sorts with a robe. It was kinda sexy. I love it because it was classy, not rachet, so that was really lovely. My husband thought it was kind of beautiful.
Do you know Rihanna? Or did you simply get a request to do the show?
It was as simple as that, [a request]. Everybody was ecstatic who got the phone call. It just felt so good because earlier in the year, she had gotten [a National Hero Award] from Barbados and I received a [Honorary Order of Jamaica]. Look at us island girls doing it!
What are your thoughts on the Savage X Fenty brand?
I love the brand. I have worn it before but that’s my private life. I am just so thrilled that she’s been able to create this line with quality and fashion that is so inclusive. I really do remember a time in my career when a design house told me that I was not the body that they wanted to dress, with its vulgar in and outs. To this day, I do not wear that line every time I see their name. I will never wear their line. I’m sure they’ve changed since then but that’s what they said.
Will you spill the tea on what designer?
No, I would never say that. Why bother with negativity? The positive is that now, we have body positivity and people are more accepting of different shapes and bodies. I look at it this way — if my body is vulgar, so is Kim Kardashian, so is Beyonce, and so are many others who have curves and the ins and the outs.
Any Savage X Fenty items on your radar to get for fall?
Trust me, I sent the link to my husband, and I said, “Surprise me.”
Johnny Depp also appears in the Savage X Fenty show. How do you feel about his appearance and some of the blowback Rihanna received for casting him in the show?
I was told very a long time ago, PR is a very interesting thing, and as long as they are talking about you, it’s doing its job.
Now that you’re back on set filming the new season of Abbott Elementary, are you feeling a glow post-Emmys?
Every time people ask me about this show and the people that I work with and how I feel about it, I always get choked up because I am well aware that I have been given a very special gift. We come to work and we laugh and we talk and then we get to work. We like each other and it’s so amazing, and I just want it to stay like this for a long as God will allow. We know that we are in show business heaven.
Are you getting more calls from designers about dressing you post-Emmys?
I have not gotten into that really. I was reading an article from the fashion awards in New York and [designer Brandon Blackwood] and [stylist Roberto Johnson] said they couldn’t understand how it was seven days before the Emmys and there were no designers that stood up to dress me. They had it in their head that it must be God is saying that this is their chance. That’s the way I look at it. Am I going to going to be running down and chasing people to dress me? No. If it happens, it will happen. Right now, my daughter has been doing an incredible job of styling me and as long as I keep hitting it, hitting it on the one.
The Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4 is now streaming on Prime Video and the collection is now available in the Amazon Fashion Store and at Savage X Fenty.