Port Arthur’s Destiny Mosely talks about her film work in “The Color Purple”

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, December 13, 2023

A local woman is soon going to be seen on screen with actors such as Taraji P. Henson and Fantasia Barrino in “The Color Purple.”

Destiny Mosely can be seen in multiple scenes in the movie singing and dancing. She said it’s mostly background work, such as shots of a neighborhood or people walking around and talking.

Mosely sent in her audition tape and got a call approximately 30 minutes later saying she was in the cast. That was February 2022, and she held onto that secret until earlier this year.

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After she arrived on set the next day, the cast hit the ground running. During filming there were 16- to 17-hour days that were exhaustive and exciting.

The reality of what she was experiencing hit home when she got to the set and saw all of the movie trailers. Then there was hair, makeup and more.

“I was so excited,” Mosely said. “There were really, really long days, especially when you are singing and dancing on wet concrete in 2, 3, 4 in the morning.”

But the hard work is worth it all.

“We got the chance to meet Taraji P. Henson, and she’s just as beautiful in person,” she said. “It was so exciting and inspiring. She was down to Earth.”

Henson, who portrays Shug Avery in the film, is an award-winning actress known for her work in Hidden Figures, Hustle & Flow and the Empire series, among other works.

Mosely and cast also got a glimpse of filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

“Spielberg walked past us, and everybody just paused, ‘oh my goodness.’ I can’t even explain,” she said.

Mosely said many days she arrived on set before hair and makeup arrived to just sit and soak in the experience.

She said as an artist you wait for that moment to sit on set, and there she was on set thanking God she was there.

As a growing actress she learned a lot about her craft. She saw the exhaustion of the actors as they came together to create such a beautiful story.

“We are here to entertain and to connect with each other,” she said. “I learned so much about the process, and it was well worth the wait.”

According to colorpurplefilm.net, “The Color Purple” is a new take on the beloved classic film and follows the “sisterhood of three women who share one unbreakable bond.”

The film releases theatrically Dec. 25.

Destiny Mosely in seen in the Sam Houston State University production of “Mountaintop.” (Courtesy photo)

A look back

Mosely is a 2016 graduate of Memorial High School and has had a lifelong love for acting.

She was featured in a December 2015 article in the Port Arthur News, along with then classmate and fellow theater student Javaun Butler.

The duo traveled to the Texas State Thespian Convention and collectively were offered 22 scholarships from colleges across the country.

A high school senior at that time, Moseley said her ultimate goal was to be in film acting.

“Crying, emotions. Where you peel back the layers of the character and make connections with yourself,” she said at the time. “There could be a character that everyone hates, you understand why she acts that way.”

She continued to work on her craft and while a junior at Sam Houston State University became the first African American woman in the school’s history to win the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.

“To the young Black girls who enter the department at Sam Houston, this title is for them,” she said in her acceptance speech. “It’s to show them that nothing is impossible, and the unachievable can be achieved. Having this title does not mean the work is over, but it’s a pretty good start.”

Today and the future

Mosely is a theater teacher at Abraham Lincoln Fine Arts Academy.

The teacher/actress recently filmed a commercial for ABCMouse, which is a digital education program. She was even able to feature her students in the commercial.

Mosely looked back on her own education and noted how much theater teacher Henrietta Haynes influenced her.

“I made her a promise in high school to get her on the red carpet, and I’m going to hold to that,” Mosely said. “She shaped and molded me into an actor and businesswoman.”

Haynes also showed her discipline so she will not be changed by the acting experience.

Haynes retired from teaching in the Port Arthur Independent School District and moved to Spring. She stayed retired for a year, got bored and began teaching theater at a middle school near her.

Haynes said Mosely would succeed.

“She doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and she continues to perfect her craft,” Haynes said. “She’s persistent and is not taking no for an answer. She will get her yes.”

Haynes saw Mosely’s talent years ago when she was in 10th grade.

Mosely did a scene for one of her classes and at that point Haynes knew she would be good in the production of Fences.

“And sure enough she earned Best Actress at UIL (University Interscholastic League) for playing that role,” she said.

Mosely also  strives to give her own students the same love, light and openness that is evident with the fact more than 50 students signed up for the theater program.

“God gave me a gift, and I am able to pass that on,” she said. “It’s more than I could ever ask for.”