Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), Toni Childs (Jill Marie Jones), Maya Wilks (Golden Brooks), and Lynn Searsy (Persia White) will always be four of America’s favorite girlfriends. For eight seasons, Girlfriends documented the ups and downs of four successful women in LA as they leaned on one another for support. But Jones and White were not initially part of the cast for the show.
The original cast of ‘Girlfriends’ revealed in an Instagram post
Fans were stunned when the Instagram blog cultchacontent shared a photo of the original cast of Girlfriends. Brooks and Ross were part of the original cast but White and Jones are noticeably absent in the photo.
A white actor and another Black actor are photographed with Brooks and Ross, seemingly in the roles of Searcy and Childs. Fans of the show are familiar with Searcy being a biracial child who is a product of adoption, later learning that her white birth mother was forced to give her up due to having a baby with a Black man.
Throughout life, Searcy struggles to identify fully as a Black woman. She’s also flaky in terms of her career choices and is constantly floating between the homes of her girlfriends, lacking stability financially also. By the end of the series, she finds her footing as an independent music artists after a stint in documentary filmmaking.
The actor originally cast as Searcy was Christina Cox. Cox is a Canadian-born actor who is most known now for her role on NCIS.
Leslie SIlva was originally cast as Childs. Childs is the bourgeois one of the group, thriving more off of material goods than things of substance. Silva later starred in projects like Shades of Blue.
The original pilot featuring Silva and Cox never aired.
Jill Marie Jones reveals she and Persia White were part of a recast
The cast of Girlfriends reunited in 2020 for a virtual reunion with Entertainment Tonight in celebration of the show becoming available for streaming on Netflix. During the reunion, Jones broke the news to fans that she and White were not part of the original cast.
“We both were part of a recast,” Jones explains. She further explained that she and White met her new co-stars for the first time during one of the promotional photoshoots for the series.
“We met for the first time and everyone was like, ‘You guys are going to be best friends,’” Jones says of the magical moment. For Brooks, the warehouse was proof of the instant chemistry between the four.
“They put us in a circle and we had to dance and the camera was panning around us,” White says while imitating the dance moves that would later become famous for the opening theme song montage. “We had to hold hands.”
While getting accustomed to one another was easy, there were challenges. The cast jokingly remembers having issues with figuring out how to style their own hair for the photoshoot due to not having adequate stylists who were adept at melanin hair. They were not happy with the outcome.
“Me and Jill had to go through some hair things, we were finding our way,” White says. Ross agrees, telling her co-stars: “The hair journey on Girlfriends – it is such a journey.” Brooks also shares similar sentiments, noting, “You can tell what we were going through by our hairstyles.”