Anika Noni Rose: From Secretary To Princess

Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose i i

Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose star in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Keith Bernstein/HBO hide caption

itoggle caption Keith Bernstein/HBO
Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose

Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose star in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Keith Bernstein/HBO
Anika Noni Rose And Jill Scott i i

Scott, who plays Precious Ramotswe, and Rose in her role as Makutsi, are Botswana's only fictional female detectives. Nick Wall/HBO hide caption

itoggle caption Nick Wall/HBO
Anika Noni Rose And Jill Scott

Scott, who plays Precious Ramotswe, and Rose in her role as Makutsi, are Botswana's only fictional female detectives.

Nick Wall/HBO

Actress Anika Noni Rose plays opposite Jill Scott, the soul singer turned actress, in the new HBO miniseries The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Based on 10 books written by British author Alexander McCall Smith, the series is set in Botswana and the women of the detective agency not only solve mysteries, but they also help people find their better selves.

In her role as Grace Makutsi, Rose is a very able assistant: She is a perfectionist's perfectionist, a personal trait the actress says she brings to the character.

"I'm quite a perfectionist. I think I've over the years been able to release some of it ... there are times when that really works in your favor," she tells NPR's Michele Norris.

After earning a Tony award for her work in the play Caroline, or Change, Rose drew critical acclaim for her portrayal of "Maggie the Cat" in the recent Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. While she hopes this new show will continue beyond the first season, she's also thrilled by her next project as the voice of Disney's first black princess in the long-awaited film, The Princess and the Frog.

"I have always wanted to do a voice and it is a joy," she says, adding that she is happy that black children will have a cartoon role model that looks like them.

"I think it's a wonderful thing to not to have to throw the towel over your head to create some hair that matches the television screen."

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