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Three years ago on this very day, November 10, 2020, during the pandemic, I stepped onto the set of Tyler Perry’s Assisted Living to bring to life the character, Anastasia Devereaux—a fabulous multilayered character created by the iconic Tyler Perry. This was my first day on set. My debut episode was called The Triangle and it aired on June 15, 2021, in S2E4. You can see the episode on

This was beyond a dream come true. Vinny, deliciously portrayed by J. Anthony Brown and Reginald, masterfully portrayed by Damien Leake, were vying for Anastasia’s affection, but unbeknownst to them, she was playing them both. It was a great episode and the clip featured on The Assisted Living Facebook page, where the two men fight over Anastasia, has over 200K views.

I can remember that day like it was yesterday. I kept pinching myself to see if it was real. If you had told me in 2016, when I was putting together presentations in the mailroom at my corporate job as an executive assistant, that in 2020 I would be working with talented and gifted people like David Mann, a comedic genius and his wife Tamela Mann, a musical icon and other uber talented people like, J. Anthony Brown, Na’im Lynn, Courtney Nichole, Damian Leake, Chet Anekwe, Tayler Buck, and Alex Henderson, under the direction of the amazingly talented Mark Swinton and Derrick Doose, I would have said you had lost your mind.

Well, since my debut, I have appeared in over fifty episodes and last year I was made a series regular. To say I love playing this role would be an understatement. This character gives me as much life as I give her. We are so different, but similar in many ways. Anastasia has eight ex-husbands. I’m in my second and final marriage. She has had countless lovers. I’ve had a few. She’s the epitome of a fashionista. I have about five pair of shoes and my fashion sense is more country than Couture. We’re similar in that we’re both actresses and we are trying to navigate gracefully through the aging process. We both have big hearts and we try to share our experience, strength, and hope with others, especially with young people. We both had challenging childhoods and we both dream big.

It takes a village to create a character like Anastasia. Much love to my boss, Mr. Tyler Perry, for his imagination and genius. I love what you created. Thank you Branyon Davis for writing my brilliant debut episode. Mark Swinton, you are an amazing director. Thank you for guiding me through my debut episode. I want to thank all my castmates for leaving no crumbs. You give me so much when we’re doing scenes together. Raiyonda Vereen, much love to you and your team for making me look fabulous on day one. Shornell Young, thank you for my exquisite hair, and Syretta Bell, thank you for helping me give great face. The makeup was stunning and last but not least, much love to the crew who collaborate with us on each and every episode. We couldn’t do it without you!

And last but definitely not least, much love and thanks to my agents @ Tangerine Talent Agency, Sueanne Edan and Mindy Sheri. Sueanne, thank you for believing in me and for your consistent support and advocacy.

I am beyond happy that the strike has ended so I can go back to work. Anastasia has so much more to give. In the voice of Anastasia, “The best is yet to come darlings!”

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Congratulations on your 3rd Birthday in Assisted Living.. Continued success in your endeavors. I look forward to seeing you for years to come on this wonderful show..❤️

Alretha Thomas
Alretha Thomas
Nov 11, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much!

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