YEM Exclusive Interview: Anabella Raye discusses her young acting career and role in Long Slow Exhale television series


Anabella Raye is an up-and-coming actress who has grown up in the entertainment world as the daughter of Emmy Award winning actress, producer, and author Sela Ward. YEM was able to speak with Anabella about her role as Kate Ford in the teen drama Long Slow Exhale, a Paramount Television Studios production. The series premiered in 2022, created by Pam Veasey for Spectrum Originals and BET.

The show stars Rose Rollins as J.C. Abernathy, a head coach of a competitive women’s college basketball team. She finds herself in a potentially career-ending sexual abuse scandal. Rollins is tasked with trying to uncover the truth. She is also being forced to make decisions and protect herself, her family, her players, and her career. For anyone looking to learn more about the series, we talked to Anabella about playing Kate Ford, who comes to town after the death of her father, her family’s ties to acting, how she relates to her character, and more, brought to you by Young Entertainment Exclusive. 

Click here or scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the YouTube video

Because the series has already been released, if you are planning on reading this interview and have not watched the series, this article will actively avoid any spoilers regarding the series. For those planning to watch before reading this article, we highly recommend watching it first. And now, onto this interview and its refresher.

In addition to Long Slow Exhale, Anabella is known for her roles in the television series Graves from 2016 and a short called Caffe Greco from 2021. Anabella graduated from Brown University in May 2020. We asked Anabella about growing up in entertainment. Anabella said being surrounded by the arts at a young age had a huge impact on her decision to follow in her mother’s footsteps, as she was able to visit sets as a kid. 

Anabella said she first found out about playing the role of Kate through calls with the casting directors for Long Slow Exhale. A few weeks later, she had gotten a call from her manager that she booked the role. We asked Anabella about her role as Kate and how that differed from previous characters. She said playing Kate was a much more intense role. Her character is going through a difficult time during the first season after the death of her father whom she had a complicated relationship with. Even though it is a basketball series, Anabella said she wasn’t necessarily into playing sports as a kid. Her father’s dream was to have a daughter who played basketball so she started playing for fun at eight years old. 

We asked Anabella about working on the set of Long Slow Exhale. She said being able to work alongside Rose Rollins and Lyriq Bent, who plays J.C. ‘s husband Garrett Cater, was a great opportunity to learn from them. She said playing more of an intense character was difficult at times in trying to get into the headspace of Kate. She was able to relate to typical human emotions that Kate was feeling. This includes guilt, regret, and grief over losing a loved one. 

Anabella said she was able to get some experience in film production at Brown. That helped her experiment in different ways of telling stories. She is currently working on her own comedy project which she looks forward to sharing. 

Thank you, Anabella, for your time and for speaking with YEM! Make sure to follow her on her Instagram at @anabellaraye (Anabella Raye (@anabellaraye) • Instagram photos and videos). Please also watch the interview below. We ask her more questions such as her character, the audition process, and more! While you’re there, be sure to like, comment, and subscribe to our channel for the latest news in young entertainment!

Consider this: 

  • When learning to play a character and understand their actions, ask yourself: What would I do in this character’s shoes? How would this situation my character is going through affect me? 
  • Film cameras help to pick up small nuances and expressions. Whereas in stage acting, physicality and projection are important to cater to the whole audience, whether up close or far away. 
  • Try and relate to your character’s baseline emotions to get into your role. Baseline emotions are familiar emotions you return to after experiencing a difficult or new situation.