Interview: Parisa Fitz-Henley

Fans of the NBC series Midnight, Texas had an unusually long wait to find out if the series would be renewed for a second season. When the renewal was finally announced, there was definitely a huge sigh of relief for fans and cast and crew of the series.

Season 2 premiered on October 26th and picked right up with the intrigue, danger, and mystery it did so well in the first season.

Although there were a few cast changes, Parisa Fitz-Henley is back as lovable Fiji. Her character really struck a chord with fans of the series, known as Midnighters. What does the second season have in store for Fiji, Bobo and the rest of the Midnight family?

Well, we sat down with Parisa and talked about the long wait for the renewal, why she thinks Fiji has connected with the fans and what’s in store for the second season of Midnight, Texas.

Pop Culture Principle – Where you and the cast on pins and needles waiting for the Season 2 renewal? Was there any doubt the series would be renewed?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – We really didn’t know what was going to happen. Along with the fans of the show, we were waiting and it was a considerable wait. All of us are pretty balanced and grounded people who try to have perspective about stuff as much as possible. Things are changing so much in television and the way that television is made now and the timing is changing as well. It can be really challenging for those involved to wait for things and to not know what is happening, but it was definitely a pleasant bit of news that we got brought back. For them to bring us back and put us on the fall schedule, it’s an honor. A lot more people have a chance to see the series now.

Pop Culture Principle – We have a couple of cast members leaving and some new cast members coming in. How have those new cast members changed the dynamic of the set and series if at all?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – Midnight already had a very strong vibe to it when we joined in the very beginning. There were a lot of strange coincidences and deep connections that were forged very quickly between cast and crew. There is always a special feeling to it and that has carried right through. So, there have been these changes that certainly bring differences in dynamic, but they are carried through by the very strong current that Midnight has. It still feels like Midnight, but we now have different people that bring their own vibe to the series. It’s definitely been a new adventure with having the new blood in Midnight and we all know how Midnighters love blood.

Pop Culture Principle – You’ve lived with the character Fiji for a full season now. How comfortable are you now with this character compared to Season 1?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – I felt comfortable in her skin before I ever got the role to be honest. I just felt like she was me right when I read the part for the audition. I felt so connected to her. It feels so good to be able to do more things as her. The writers have come up with some incredible twists and turns for her story that I could not have foreseen, but make all the sense in the world. It’s been a very special and exciting experience this season getting to be in the skin of this woman.

Pop Culture Principle – Where does Season 2 of Midnight, Texas pick up?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – It's two months later and its two months of Bobo and Fiji having so many opportunities to “connect”. There has been a lot of healing in the town and a lot of reconnection as well. You have Lem and Olivia exploring marriage and you have Manfred and Creek dealing with the challenges of coming out of a very traumatic situation and you have Bobo and Fiji who are in just a state of bliss. They are in a really beautiful honeymoon period where both of them have been able to discover this amazing love that neither of them knew was possible, so they are exploring that fully and joyfully and sweetly. Little by little, we start to see that the intimacy and the joy between them seems to be also triggering some negative and potentially dangerous effects.

Pop Culture Principle – Midnight has always been cautious of outsiders, but how is the new hotel and the new owners and customers going to affect the town and the group?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – Well, they both definitely arouse suspicion immediately, partly because they are new and partly because they come in full force. They take over a building that is central to our town which brings hipsters into the town. They are charging a lot for things and it just doesn’t feel like they are aligned with the vibe of Midnight, but quickly we begin to discover that there is more to them than meets the eye and each Midnighter has their own process of finding a way to trust them. They rather quickly make it clear what that are about in the town. I don’t want to give away too much, but they show us who they are and it remains to be seen if that will stand.

Pop Culture Principle – Will we see a different side of Fiji this season because of Kai and Patience encroaching on her territory?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – Oh yea, which I love. In the books, Fiji is salty sometimes and she can be petty sometimes. We see her sweet side most of the time, but there is another side to her. You don’t mess with the people that Fiji loves, including herself. If you come in and try to step in on her territory, she is going to be salty about it. She observes them closely and she is going to have a very interesting experience with them because they may hold the key to her finding out who she is and she thought she already knew.

Pop Culture Principle – Manfred was instrumental in saving Midnight last season. Will we see any residual effects of his allowing demons to take over his body temporarily?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – Let’s just say that he definitely does carry some effects from his experience of having those demons in his body. They begin to threaten him and those he loves.

Pop Culture Principle – Why do you think the character of Fiji has connected so well with the Midnight fans?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – Fiji is a love, but she can be salty. On Twitter, in Fiji’s voice, I sometimes get salty with Mr. Snuggly because he’s a brat to say the least. I hate him.  She loves and I think people are drawn to love. She is all about connection and embracing people when they deserve it. She’s someone who is on this journey to finding her power in this world and her place in this world.

She’s on this journey of breaking out of the mold of what she thought she could be and I feel a lot of people can relate to that. Fiji is very much a person who is constrained by trauma and I think before we knew what kind of trauma she was hemmed up by, it’s definitely something that we all can relate to. Many of us are trying to figure out how to let go of scars from the past so they don’t keep us from the promise of the future. She’s just yummy!

Pop Culture Principle – Will we see more of Mr. Snuggly in Season 2?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – I guess he’ll be back, whatever. Why do people love him so much? We will see Mr. Snuggly this season and we will learn more about his past, which is very interesting. Of course, we’ll see him online as well.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the second season of Midnight, Texas?

Parisa Fitz-Henley – What the fans can look forward to with the second season is a new way of looking at things in Midnight. We are accustomed to dealing with evil and assaults from the outside and now we are going to start looking at what can brew under the surface, not of the veil, but of the people of Midnight.

We are going to see bonds tested, we are going to see relationships tested and we are going to see incredible heroism and also some pretty awful behavior. Through it all, we will see some of the dark humor that Midnight, Texas is known for. The show is much dark, grittier and sexier. Midnight is learning to come into its own and that process requires some disassembly of things and the questioning of things and hopefully a bright future.

A big thank you to Parisa Fitz-Henley for taking time out of her schedule to talk with us. You can catch all new episodes of Midnight, Texas every Friday night at 9/8c on NBC.

If you would like to keep up with all of Parisa's latest news, you can follow her on Twitter @ParisaFH or Instagram @parisafitzhenley.

**All photos courtesy of John Golden Britt/Virginia Sherwood/NBC**

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