One would almost expect a person who’s managed to survive for more than a year during a zombie apocalypse to, on the most basic level, have some degree of athleticism.
Sonequa Martin-Green, the volleyball-spiking, gymnastics-flipping, blade-swinging star of The Walking Dead, was no exception.
“Oh yeah, I definitely have a long background in athletics,” Martin-Green said. “Softball, gymnastics, volleyball… I’d say I was a pretty good athlete too.”
With those elite skills come strong opinions; especially about who will ultimately be crowned college football’s national champion this season.
Martin-Green, an Alabama alum, summed up her pick with two words: “Roll Tide!”
I caught up with the Martin-Green to chop-it-up about everything from what we can expect from the second half of Season 5 to who would win a UFC bout between her character Sasha and cast mate Michonne to her background as a volleyball star to under which circumstances she wouldn’t mind being called Penelope Bishop.
Jason Jordan: First, I hear congratulations are in order; got a little guy coming soon, aye?
Sonequa Martin-Green: Yes! Thanks so much. We’re really excited.
JJ: Give me your best cheesy zombie baby gift so far?
SMG: (Laughs) Well, I’ve loved the cheesy zombie baby gifts so far. The best one would have to be the onesie that says, “Zombies? Please my mommy’s got this!” I loved it!
JJ: I always like to gauge the sports backgrounds and experiences of my guests on the Chop-Up; I know you went to Russellville High in Alabama, did you play sports there?
SMG: I did! I played sports my whole life actually. The first was gymnastics when I was about 8 then I immediately went into softball and I played volleyball too. Then, once I got to college, I got into stage combat. I was better in volleyball, but I got certified in stage combat. I’d say I was more accomplished in that.
JJ: Give me your shining moment.
SMG: It was in volleyball when a serve went really far into the out of bounds area and I slid on my knees and hit it backward across the net. It was a perfect hit. I totally didn’t plan it, but it was definitely really cool. It’s a tie between that and the time I took my proficiency test to get certified for single sword; my partner and I were given the award of excellence for our fight.
JJ: Nice; I know you went to Alabama, are the Crimson Tide going to win the national title this season?
SMG: Yes we are! Roll Tide! I believe it. I speak it.
JJ: Do you find yourself out at dinner thinking about what you’d grab in the event of an instant zombie apocalypse?
SMG: (Laughs) Oh my God, yes! I talk about that very thing with my cast mates all the time. We talk about what we’d grow all the time.
JJ: Do tell.
SMG: We said tomatoes, sweet potatoes, because they can grow in the winter too, and corn.
JJ: Let’s take this random; what do yellow traffic lights mean to you?
SMG: They mean that if you hurry up you won’t be slowed down by it.
JJ: Eight months pregnant and all?
SMG: (Laughs) Yes, I don’t have time for my time to be wasted. If I’m close enough; I’m going through.
JJ: What fast food restaurant has the best fries?
SMG: McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A.
JJ: What random game are you Queen of?
SMG: I’m kind of a pool shark. On a good day I’ll give most people a run for their money in pool.
JJ: Would you be as tough as your character on The Walking Dead, Sasha, if a similar zombie takeover went down?
SMG: You know what; I would. I don’t think I’d be as closed off as she is to the people around her. I’d definitely be as tough. I’ve learned a lot from being on the show!
JJ: Worst pre-fame job?
SMG: I can’t say this was a bad job, but I’ll say the job where I suffered the most was with Children International in New York City. My job was to stand on the street and try to get people to talk to me and sponsor a child. I love the company and what they do, but as you can imagine in New York City you run in to some wild people. My feelings were hurt every shift!
JJ: Who would win a UFC bout between Sasha and Michonne? No weapons.
SMG: (Laughs) Oh my goodness! No weapons? My gosh; I’m sure a lot of people are wondering about this one. I don’t know… They’re both strong women. It’s hard to say. Is it just about the muscle? Is it about where they’re at mentally? I don’t know.
JJ: I’m gonna put you on the spot; gotta pick one.
SMG: (Laughs) I’m gonna say this; Season 3, Michonne would’ve won because she was going through more at the time. Season 5, Sasha would’ve won because she’s got a lot she’s going through and she’s really unpredictable.
JJ: What’s the most overused slang word today?
SMG: I’d say when people repeat the word “like.” For example, “Like, I don’t know like, it’s crazy, like, I don’t know, like.” Ooh, we’ve gotta cut that one!
JJ: You tap a car in a parking lot and no one’s around; do you leave a note or do you move to a different row?
SMG: (Laughs) Oh wow! You’ve gotta leave that note! Even if I didn’t mean to I’d leave a note… I had to redeem myself from my yellow traffic light answer!
JJ: In the epic game Paper, Rock, Scissors; which object do you have the most success with?
SMG: (Laughs) Rock!
JJ: How would you use a rewind button in life?
SMG: All the time! I’d add about five hours in a day so I could get more things done.
JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?
SMG: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!
JJ: What random fact can you just reel off to me right now?
SMG: The speed of light travels 864,000 times faster than the speed of sound.
JJ: Talk or text?
JJ: Do you clear out your inbox or hoard messages forever?
SMG: Oh I never clear out my inbox! Do people really clear out their inbox?
JJ: Unfortunately you’ve found yourself in the Witness Protection Program, what’s your cover name?
SMG: My cover name would be Penelope Waterloo!
JJ: Think that’ll raise an eyebrow or two in that small rural town they’ll have you posted up in?
SMG: (Laughs) Ooh that’s true. Let’s go with Penelope Bishop!
JJ: We had the midseason finale on The Walking Dead, which was epic, talk about what fans can expect from the second half of Season 5.
SMG: Fans can definitely expect even more excitement and more adventure; if you can believe that. This has been an awesome season and the storyline will only get better from this point on. Even I’m amazed sometimes at how the show constantly outdoes itself because every episode has you on the edge of your seat. And, as always, you can expect more gore. There will be blood!
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY