In honor of the launch of The ‘90s Are All That programming block on TeenNick, I had the privilege of speaking to Angelique Bates, one of the original cast members of All That for the first two seasons.
MATT C. (Ishtar): How long did you want to become an actress or comedian prior to All That?
ANGELIQUE BATES: I guess I would have to say all of my life. My mom put me in the entertainment business when I was 9 months old.
MATT: Could you explain how you came about auditioning for All That and what the audition process was like?
ANGELIQUE BATES: I had just gotten discovered by an agent, who saw me at a talent competition that the Ivar Theater used to throw every year. So, he sent me an audition for the show. The auditioning process was long. I don’t remember how many auditions it took, but it was past five.
MATT: I imagine there were tons of kids auditioning, so they could be on a Nickelodeon show.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Yes there were. It was a nationwide audition.
MATT: What was the schedule like working on the show per week? Would you work on the show during the summer, or did you have to work on it during the regular school year too?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Monday through Wednesday we rehearsed and had a tutor. Thursdays we filmed without an audience, and Friday we filmed in front of a live audience. We filmed throughout the year.
MATT: How long was each day, if you can even remember?
ANGELIQUE BATES: From morning to late afternoon. Mostly because we had school.
MATT: It must have been a long day overall. Now I had to ask this, but do you love chocolate as much as Mandy does?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Ha, ha!. I didn’t after doing the show, but as time passed I started to eat it again. Not as much as I used to, though.
MATT: Some of the things you and Kenan Thompson had to mix with chocolate looked disgusting. I remember once you had to eat a cheese sandwich with chocolate bar pieces in it.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Hah. And that is exactly why I stopped eating chocolate!
MATT: You also played the character Four Eyes in the Earboy sketches. Could you have seen Four Eyes and Earboy getting together in the future, since Four Eyes did have feelings for him?
ANGELIQUE BATES: She had feelings for him, but I don’t think so. She was like that friend that everybody has or knows that is real cool, but just never gets any play. She watches everyone else get a chance except her, because the other person is too blind to see the feelings there.
MATT: I guess Earboy only fell for the popular and superficial girls, like that character Alisa Reyes played. Do you have a particular favorite sketch you did?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Probably the Randy and Mandy episode where Randy has a toothache.
MATT: Poor Randy being teased about not being able to have any chocolate. Another skit you did, which I find underrated, is the one where you and Alisa Reyes are dating these dorky guys played by Kenan Thompson and Josh Server, and you desperately try to get away from them.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Ha! Ha! Yeah, that was a funny one!
MATT: One of your most notable characters on the show besides Mandy is your Steve Urkel character. Do you have any other celebrity impressions or characters in general you wish you could have explored on the show?
ANGELIQUE BATES: I had a few like Busta Rhymes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, and DMX to name a few.
MATT: Never knew you could do an Arnold impression. Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes would also appear on the show as musical guests in the later seasons. Speaking of musical guests, which one did you enjoy having on the show the most? Did any of them have an influence on pursuing your own music career?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Da Brat, hands down. And yes, the artists were big influences on my music career. I had actually finished recording a single that would have been performed the next season.
MATT: I’m guessing that would have been season three, which you sadly never got to do. This also leads to my next question, why did you not get to continue? Was it an issue with the show moving to Hollywood, or were you just let go to make room for a new cast member?
ANGELIQUE BATES: No it wasn’t an issue with the show moving to Hollywood. I was flying from Cali to Florida to shoot. My contract just wasn’t renewed. Hollywood is very unpredictable. Nickelodeon could probably answer that question better.
MATT: Did you watch any of the other Nickelodeon shows either during or before working on All That?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Only other shows I watched were Are You Afraid of the Dark? and sometimes Alex Mack.
MATT: Were you aware that they continued the Randy and Mandy sketches after you had left, but with Randy having auditions for a new co-host and guest co-hosts in your place? The sketch’s excuse for Mandy’s absence was that she lost her mind at a chocolaty wild weekend and went to chocolate rehab (I‘m really not making this up).
ANGELIQUE BATES: Yes I was aware of it. A lot of fans contacted me about it.
MATT: It would be nice if one day Mandy could be released from rehab and reunite with her old co-host.
ANGELIQUE BATES: My fans would love that!
MATT: What have you been up to since leaving All That?
ANGELIQUE BATES: I’ve still been acting and doing music. As of recently, I have a movie called “35 & Ticking” and I signed a record deal and just released my new single “Can’t Fade Me Now” now on iTunes. Also, I just signed on for a pilot and another movie.
MATT: We definitely would love to see you back on television! It would be nice if TeenNick would ask you to do some new promos/bumpers for “The ‘90s Are All That,” along with the other All That cast members.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Thank you, and yes that would have been a nice surprise for everyone to see us together again.
MATT: Which leads me to my next question: Do you still keep in touch with any of your fellow All That cast members?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Some like Alisa Reyes, Kel Mitchell, and Katrina Johnson.
MATT: What was the idea behind your recent single, “Can’t Fade Me Now”?
ANGELIQUE BATES: It’s me. It’s my life. In this industry and life period you will always run into people, who try their hardest to bring you down. And they can’t fade me now. No matter how hard they try. God has my back and you never out beat him.
MATT: Well, as someone once said to me, it’s all about having confidence in yourself. You certainly do!
ANGELIQUE BATES: Well thanks for that!
MATT: With TeenNick’s new block called “The ‘90s Are All That” bringing back All That and other classic Nickelodeon shows to television, how do you feel that the show can not only be relived by older fans, but also introduced to newer viewers?
ANGELIQUE BATES: It feels pretty good. When we first started filming All That as kids, we had no idea the show would be this popular.
MATT: Is it hard to believe that several fans still continue to talk about All That after all of these years? It is this strong dedication towards All That and these other ‘90s Nickelodeon shows that have made it possible for them to come back to television in the first place, after all.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Yes, it is a little hard to believe. Our fans go hard for us, I must say, but I’ve always said this in interviews. If it wasn’t for them, none of us would be where we are. And that goes for every entertainer out there. Point Blank.
MATT: If it wasn’t for you guys, television would not have been as entertaining as it was back in the day. I also feel Nickelodeon lacks that sketch comedy show these days too. Even before All That, they had You Can’t Do This On Television and Roundhouse.
ANGELIQUE BATES: Yeah, TV has definitely changed.
MATT: Where can other fans reach you and keep themselves updated on your current events?
ANGELIQUE BATES: They can find me at www.twitter.com/angeliquebates, www.facebook.com/angeliquebates, and www.youtube.com/angeliquebates. For those who still use Myspace, there is also www.myspace.com/angeliquebatesalizay .
MATT: Well Angelique, do you have any final words before we wrap this up?
ANGELIQUE BATES: Only thing I want to say is thanks for supporting me and never stop! I also forgot to mention that I, Alisa Reyes, and Katrina Johnson have a comedy CD out and it can be purchased at: www.godblessoursoldierscards.com
MATT: I’m glad we could have this interview. Everybody, be sure to watch Angelique Bates and the rest of the All That cast return on TeenNick’s “The ‘90s Are All That” every weeknight at midnight ET!