Jamie Foxx Show star Garcelle Beauvais — who joins NYPD Blue this season as Assistant D.A. Valerie Haywood — admits that jumping from the WB comedy to the Emmy-winning drama has been a gut-wrenching experience.

"My first day was just nerve-wracking," Beauvais tells TV Guide Online. "The show is critically acclaimed, all the actors are amazing, and my first scene was with Dennis Franz. I thought he was going to eat me alive. But he gave me a hug and was really sweet. Then, when he gets on-camera, he totally changes into [his character, Andy] Sipowicz, and you're going, 'Holy Cow!' I just sort of had to pinch myself to believe that it was happening.

"It's a challenge to prove to people that you can do something gritty like NYPD Blue in spite of how you look," the former model continues. "But now, doors are opening and people are giving me opportunities."

In what is shaping up as a big month for Beauvais, she will make her first Blue appearance on Jan. 23 — a week after her action-comedy, Double Take, hits theaters. What's more, the WB airs The Jamie Foxx Show's series finale on Jan. 14. In the sitcom's last outing, Foxx and Beauvais's characters tie the knot — but the real-life bride-to-be says that she won't be borrowing her TV gown for her own nuptials. "I was wearing a dress that you won't see at my [real] wedding," she insists. "It was totally backless. My in-laws would kill me. But it was a great day on the set and everybody really got emotional."