Naturi Naughton Expecting First Child: “Everything’s More Purposeful.”

(Photo Credit: Naturi Naughton instagram)

Naturi Naughton’s incredible smile and “don’t-take-no-mess” persona she portrays in the hit show, POWER, are just a couple of the reasons why so many fans love her. Throughout her career on film and in music she’s been a scene-stealer with her talent, but now someone else will be getting all the shine: her new child that is on the way.

“It’s been a little surreal, but I feel really good, healthy and strong,” the star, 32, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview about her pregnancy.

The pregnancy came as a surprise to Naughton and her longtime boyfriend Ben, but “it’s such a blessing,” she says.

“I feel like being pregnant and entering this new stage has made me stronger and more excited about life in general. Everything seems so much more purposeful.”

Naughton spoke about the trials of being a beautiful dark-skinned woman in Hollywood in 2015 interview.

“You have to dig deep. Make sure you love who you are,” she shares.

“I think there’s always this cycle that happens when you’re a black woman in Hollywood, and it can be frustrating because you start to feel like you’re just a fad. Like, ‘oh, now the dark skin, beautiful, brown chocolate sistas are in’… and praising Lupita, which is beautiful. But she was beautiful five years ago,”

She doesn’t let other people’s beauty standards stop her nor will she allow it for her daughter.

After discovering she was pregnant while in the middle of shooting her hit STARZ show in Brooklyn, Naughton’s cast and crew became protective of her on set.

“They’ve been really good at keeping it on the low, but they’re also super excited,” she says. “Omari [Hardwick], who plays my husband, we have kids on the show and he’s like, ‘Now you get to be experiencing motherhood in real life!’ Everyone’s been really supportive.”

From cropped shots to special camera angles, of course cast and crew have to be a little bit more creative in order to hide her baby bump on the show, but Naughton has learned some tricks on her own. “I had maternity jeans they ordered for me, and I do a lot of tops that are peplum-style. I was amazed at how un-pregnant I could look.”

(Photo Credit: Naturi Naughton instagram)

The entertainer’s also been eating healthier since finding out she’s expecting — with one exception.

“I love kale, I love strawberries and pineapples, but I’m not proud of this … I’ve been eating Cup Noodles. I really want salty, spicy things, and Cup Noodles has been really awesome. I haven’t had one since college!”