Written by: Megan Maher
The OWN TV series Ambitions explores the sexy, deceitful machinations of love, power, and politics in America’s hottest urban mecca, Atlanta, Georgia.
The show centers on the intense rivalry between formidable legal eagles Stephanie Lancaster (Robin Givens) and Amara Hughes (Essence Atkins), former best friends from college who find themselves adversaries in both their personal and professional lives.
This drama is filled with memorable characters and messy relationships that you can not help but love, there is no one more fierce in Ambitions than Stephanie Lancaster played by the incomparable Robin Givens. Stephanie is the kind of character that you will hate and love at the same time and if you enjoyed watching Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones I feel confident that you will love Stephanie Lancaster. Here are 4 reasons why you will fall in love with her!
An Ice Queen with Depth
During our set visit in Atlanta for the upcoming series, we spoke with the show’s creator Jamey Giddens. He stated that Stephanie was not only meant to be an ice queen, but a nuanced and layered character that you will hate to love. From the initial meeting of Givens in Ambitions, it is clear this woman is cold but has the ability to be extremely vulnerable.
Robin Givens spoke about her approach to the role and she said “ [Ambitions] has been a special experience. You forget that you are doing a show that people will watch. It has been such a nice environment being in Atlanta has been wonderful, the characters have been wonderful, the script has been wonderful, it has been such a loving environment that you actually forget that you are doing a TV show”.
This type of environment has allowed Robin to explore the character, Stephanie. She’s able to add layers and not be confined to a box that some may attach to common character tropes.
After watching the first three episodes of Ambitions it felt good to see that Stephanie Lancaster is kindred to Cersei Lannister. On the surface, she is a woman with a heart made of ice, but her backstory is revealed involving her former best friend Amara Hughes, it becomes clear that the betrayal has left an everlasting mark on Stephanie. Also, similar to Cersei, Stephanie is a tough woman that has virtually no vulnerable spots except for her children and sibling Tracy (in a non-incest way).
Warrior Against the Patriarchy
One of my favorite aspects of the Stephanie Lancaster character is that she is a villain with a cause. She seems to be at all times the smartest and most resourceful person in the room, but she is overlooked constantly by her father, Stephen Carlisle and her husband, the mayor of Atlanta, Evan Lancaster.
Through the relationship with the men closest in her life, it is clear that Stephanie is in an unspoken battle against patriarchy. The relationship between Stephanie and her father reveals real insecurity within herself. She is in control of so many things but with her Daddy, she is just a girl who is constantly seeking approval from a vicious man, so inevitable, she falls short every time.
As in charge and villain-esque as Stephanie Lancaster may be, she is a character with a tragic background surrounded by people who have everything except her best interest at heart. From Stephanie’s perspective her best friend served her the ultimate betrayal, the love of her life abandoned her, her husband is known as “the dirty mayor” of Atlanta, and her father is constantly dismissing her efforts. And through it all, Stephanie still continues on with her ambitions with her head held high while loving and supporting her daughter fiercely beyond the objections of others.
Even though Stephanie Lancaster has all the signs of the typical villain, how can you not stand a strong woman with the gusto to not let anything stand in her way no matter how hurtful it all may be!
Another reason why you will fall in love with Stephanie Lancaster is her impeccable taste in clothes. We have seen Robin Givens give some iconic looks early on in her career in the film, Boomerang. In Ambitions, Stephanie steps it up a notch! If I may be so bold to say that she even gives the iconic fashion character Olivia Pope a run for her money! Stephanie wears power suits with flare. She is always in color with a trendy fit while taking charge and looking absolutely fabulous following her own ambitions!
The entire cast brings the glitz and glamour of Atlanta to the forefront and Stephanie Lancaster is leading the charge with the help of her fashion designer, Bella (Erica Page), who designs all of Stephanie dresses. As much fun as it is to watch Stephanie get styled by Bella, the hidden secrets between the two women create a juicy relationship that is constantly on the bubble to burst and selfishly of me, I hope their stylist, client relationship never falls apart.
Ambitions premiere June 18th at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN