On OWN’s new mega-church drama, Greenleaf, Kim Hawthorne plays Kerissa Greenleaf, the wife of Jacob Greenleaf and the principal of the Excellence Academy.

“I think Kerissa is very driven, and I think she’s the backbone of her family unit,” Kim says. “My character is really just trying to hold it together in the shadow of this mega-church family, the Greenleafs. So it’s a lot of trying to find my identity and trying to elevate my husband to the status that I think he deserves within the unit.”

Kim also hints at surprises later in the season: “There are some shocking things that you’re going to learn about her, none that I can say right now, but I think you’ll be surprised at the length that she’ll go in order to support her family.”