How The Good Doctor's Bria Samoné Henderson Is Like Her Character Dr. Allen - Exclusive

Bria Samoné Henderson's acting has attracted critical acclaim because she does her homework. That is, she puts serious effort into understanding the characters she portrays so that she can fully inhabit them on-screen. 

For her role as Ms. Magazine editor Margaret Sloan in "Mrs. America," for example, she took the time to research Sloan's life, which was no easy task. "I had to really snoop and find and dig because there's not a lot of information on her on the internet," she told The List. But her digging paid off — she uncovered archival footage from the '70s of a television interview with Sloan, which gave her valuable information on Sloan's body language and personality.

The role of Margaret Sloan was an interesting challenge for Henderson because it was new and unfamiliar. "I had no idea who she was when I auditioned for her," she said. In contrast, her current role on "The Good Doctor" as Dr. Jordan Allen resonated with her because it felt familiar and relatable. In an exclusive interview, Henderson shares why she feels so connected to the character.

Serious roles for plus-sized Black women are tough to find

Let's get real: If you're Black or a woman, you know you won't always be taken as seriously as you deserve. And being plus-sized in a society obsessed with thinness is no picnic either. No one understands this better than Bria Samoné Henderson. "Being in this industry and being a plus-size, dark-skinned Black woman in this industry is tricky. ... And there's a certain way you have to navigate it," she explained. One demoralizing challenge is that most roles available to women who look like Henderson are reductive and unflattering. "It's like, oh, you're the fat funny best friend or you're the fat person who's very insecure about her size or you're not the love interest," she said.

So when the role of Dr. Jordan Allen became available, Henderson was eager to audition for it. "I just remember getting the breakdown last year, the character breakdown, and just reading that she was a full-figured woman, and she was also very confident and fashionable and a hustler and an entrepreneur. And it just reminded me so much of me," she said.

They're both women of faith, with fabulous hair

Bria Henderson loved that Dr. Jordan Allen was not only a complex, multidimensional character with an interesting life both inside and outside the hospital but that she also shared a lot of her own background and interests. "I was raised in a Christian household. I'm very spiritual. And Jordan's also a Baptist, so that love of God and love with spirituality and that being the center of who she is and what guides her, I think we connect in that way," she said.

But neither Henderson nor Allen lives solely on the spiritual realm — both also enjoy the worldly pleasures of dressing well. And both consider their hair their crowning glory. "Jordan's really big with her hairstyles, her fashion. And hair has always been a part of my life and just being a black woman, and hair has always been a thing for me," Henderson said. "So that's also fun, bringing that piece of who I am to Jordan as well, because it just makes sense for Jordan."