Before Netflix’s ‘Sweet Magnolias,’ Heather Headley Was a Grammy and Tony Award Winner

Netflix continues to roll out amazing content and the newest fan craze that subscribers are binge-watching is Sweet Magnolias. The series is an adaptation of the novel series of the same title and stars JoAnna Garcia, Brooke Elliot, and Heather Headley as the three leading ladies as they navigate life and business together. The feel-good show is as sweet as its title and Headley’s performance is a fan favorite.

Heather Headley in 'Sweet Magnolias'
Heather Headley in ‘Sweet Magnolias’ via Twitter

Headley is not new to the acting world. She’s had a few recurring roles on major television series but she’s most known in the Broadway world. Headley is one of the few Broadway stars to win a Tony and transition into mainstream music and win a Grammy for her work.

Heather Headley started in theatre and became a Broadway star 

Headley was born in Trinidad and moved to Florida in her teens. As the daughter of a prominent preacher, she performed with her father’s church choir. Her love for singing was not just confined to the church scene. She was an active member of her high school theater group and starred in a number of school plays. 

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With education being an important part of her family, she attended Northwestern University where she studied communications but ultimately decided to drop out during her junior year when she was cast in the musical, Ragtime. Her theatre career took off from there and Headley debuted the character of Nahla in the Broadway production of The Lion King in 1997. 

Some of Headley’s other Broadway credits include her Tony award-winning role in Aida, Dreamgirls, The Color Purple, and The Bodyguard in which she played Whitney Houston’s beloved character of Rachel Marron in the London production.

Heather Headley transitions into mainstream music and makes history with Grammy nomination

Headley’s musical ambitions extended beyond Broadway. She signed a record deal with RCA and released her debut album, This Is Who I Am, in 2002. The album spawned two singles: “He Is” and “I Wish” – the latter of which received a great deal of radio play. She received two Grammy nominations, one of which was for Best New Artist, making her the first Tony award winner to receive the nomination.

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She released two more albums, one of which was a gospel album, Audience Of One, that she earned her first Grammy award for in 2010. Her fourth album, Only One In The World, was released in 2012.

Heather Headley in Netflix’s ‘Sweet Magnolias’

Headley made her television acting debut in 2017 when she landed recurring roles on series like Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It and Chicago Med. In 2019, it was announced that Headley was cast as one of the three lead roles in Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias. The series is based on the book of novels by Sheryl Woods.

Sweet Magnolias follows three southern women who have been best friends since childhood as they support one another through career, love, and family. The women start a business together that bonds them stronger as they each deal with their individual battles. The business serves as a new start for all three friends. 

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Headley stars as Helen Decatur, a successful attorney in the small town who moved back home after living a life of travel and adventure to care for her sick mother. She decided to stay in the town for her two friends. Helen is the most level headed who appears to have it all together. Though her career is solid, she yearns to start her own family.

Sweet Magnolias has received positive reviews thus far and the debut season is currently number one on Netflix.