Mala Wright is no stranger to the entertainment business. In fact, she’s been acting since the age of five. A trip to the Players Company, which was a community theater company in Trenton with her mother as a child gave Mala the acting bug, which set off a long-standing career that she still enjoys to this day. As Mala celebrates the release of her latest movie role in Uncle Rufus’ Last Request on Tubi, she has no plans of letting up anytime soon.
Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Mala recalls dragging her mother to auditions as a young girl. “I always loved the arts. I had a lot of creativity as a kid and was always involved in plays.” This creative energy garnered Mala several acting roles throughout her career, allowing the natural entertainer the chance to display her dramatic and comedic chops in theater and film. Mala’s range stems from her passion for the arts. Singing, dancing, writing and creating artwork are all talents that have always been a part of life. “It’s just something that I’ve always done,” Mala says when noting that she would go on auditions while attending Mercer County Community College, where she earned an associates degree in the arts, and also at Rider University, which is where she earned a Bachelor’s in Communications.
“This is my passion. I just love to do it.” Although Mala admits that life has taken her in alternate directions at times, as she worked as a journalist, grant writer, and ESL tutor, her love of the arts was never far away. “My whole experience is varied. But I always went back to the arts to do theater on the weekends.” Talent seems to run in Mala’s family, as she’s cousins with Hollywood actress Nia Long and legendary comedian Sommore. But if you think she uses her family ties to get her into the casting room, then you are mistaken. “I don’t like telling too many people about it. I don’t go around broadcasting it…there’s a small number of people who know,” says Mala about her need to keep her famous family roots private. Though the cousins have busy schedules, they keep in contact with birthday greetings via text messages, and just like any other family unit, the death of loved ones are unfortunately impromptu reunions. “Everyone is busy and it can be hard. But I will say that we all got together when their father, Trenton Central High School teacher and poet Doc Long died. I spoke with Nia a lot during this time because she was trying to plan the memorial while she was out in California. So we were in contact a lot during this time. My mother and I did the baking for the repast. I even baked Nia a Coca-Cola cake to take back with her. She called me up to tell me how delicious it was.”
Mala has carved out her own slice of success during her long-spanning career, as she’s played alongside noteworthy actors, such as Taryn Manning, Suzzanne Douglas, Omar Gooding, and Clifton Powel. In Mala’s latest role in the Tubi comedy-drama released in January 2023, Uncle Rufus’ Last Request, the actress graces the screen with Omar Gooding, Michael Colyar, and Bruce Bruce. Directed by Thomas Freeman Jr. Omar Gooding’s character, Darius Brown, has to convince his dueling siblings to start a family business, which was Rufus’, played by Michael Colyar, last dying request. Mala plays Alyssa Brown, the youngest of the brood, who is in conflict with almost everyone in the movie. “The majority of my scenes are with Omar Gooding, which was really cool. Alyssa always needs someone to bail her out financially. There is a lot of emotion with my character…she brings a lot of conflict.” The national release of this movie is another notch on Mala’s acting belt.
Represented by an agent Mala is a full-time actor who spends her days auditioning, when she is not on a set or stage. In between gigs, the entertainer takes on jobs as a simulated patient at universities, where she further sharpens her acting chops portraying specific emotions, behaviors and disease symptoms of a patient. The job provides Mala with the time she needs to be a working actor.
Auditioning is a way of life for Mala. When she doesn’t land a role, she doesn’t let it get her down, as she chalks it up to experience and keeps on going. She notes comedy as being her strongest talent, and the genre that she actually likes best. “I like to make people laugh…show my personality and do what I have to do,” Mala says about the casting experience. “And hopefully, I’ll be somebody they remember.”
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