L-R: Lorraine Toussaint and Grace Van Dien in "The Village"; Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Lorraine Toussaint can comfortably say she's found a role that reflects her inner strength.
In her new NBC drama The Village, Toussaint plays Patricia, the matriarch of her apartment building, which happens to be called "The Village." The actress tells ABC Radio it was easy to identify with her character because she was brought up to be a strong woman.
"I come from strong women," Toussaint says. "My mother was an amazing artist and a pianist and a Montessori teacher. My grandmother was a midwife who went from island to island on a boat -- with just a boat," she continues. "And she would show up on these islands where there were no doctors and she ministered to the women -- on a boat! So I come from these kind of Amazonian women."
Of course, Toussaint is no stranger to portraying strong women. Her roles include Orange Is the New Black villain Vee Parker and successful attorney Rene Jackson in the Lifetime series Any Day Now. Toussaint says she leans toward those types of women, and hopes to pass their traits down to her daughter.
"I'm raising my daughter to be an independent, awesome, strong-minded young woman," Toussaint says. "So, this is who I am. So it's not unusual that some of these roles-- is it [that] I attract them or they've evoked this strength in me? I don't even know anymore. It's just -- I do like independent strong girls."
The Village, also starring Frankie Faison, airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
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