Q&A with Condola Rashad

The 'Billions' co-star on dressing for her character and staying in shape.

Fresh off a string of appearances on The Good Wife, Master of None, and Smash, Condola Rashad is on the verge of having a breakout moment thanks to her role on Showtime’s new political drama series, Billions. The theater vet (she’s a Tony nominated actress) plays Kate, a smart junior staffer at the U.S. attorney’s office. We spoke with Rashad about her character, the art of wearing a suit, and her favorite TV show of all time.

Kate has a key moment in the pilot. She’s responsible for…
She provides some vital information.

Yeah. I have a feeling that’s going to happen with her throughout the season?
Your feeling is correct. My character, we call her the “quiet problem solver.” Whenever there’s a missing puzzle piece, she always seems to find her way to it.

Do you relate to that? Are you able to problem-solve like that?
No, I think in that way she’s much more meticulous than I am. I’m always trying to figure out how to problem solve, but she somehow has the answers quite often. But my sister is kind of how I got my in with this role. My sister is an attorney, and I don’t know a lot about that world. There would be certain lines or phrases that I didn’t know, so I’d call up my sister and have her explain a lot of it to me.

The jacket you’re wearing in that scene caught my eye.
Our costume team is amazing. I think they nail it with everyone. My character has these amazing blouses throughout the entire season.

How does your wardrobe affect the way you play your character?
It really helps a lot, especially in this project. When I went into my first costume fitting, I realized that I had never worn a full suit in my entire life. I might’ve worn a blazer, maybe, with jeans or something. But I’d never, ever put on a full suit. So the first day I did that, it really did affect the way I carried myself. I was like, “Oh, this feels different.” It actually put me in the mindset of a professional workplace.

You’ve been on so many shows. What’s a current TV show that you’d love to guest star on?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s my favorite show in the entire world. I love all of them, I would do anything.

How do you stay in shape?
I don’t really diet. I just watch what I eat. If I have a burger at lunch, then I’ll have a salad at dinner. I just try to balance things out. Also, I mostly do cardio. I’ll run four or five times a week. I do yoga, too.

Favorite indulgence meal?
I love pizza. I have a tragic love for pizza.

Since your show is called Billions, if you were suddenly a billionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
I would want to go big first. I’d love to build a school for music for kids.

I was going to say that house from the first episode.
Oh yeah! That mansion! Okay, that, the school, and another dog.