The Beautiful, Talented age 46 Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry recently did an up close and personal interview with New York Times ‘tmagazine‘ titled ‘Roles of a Lifetime‘ where she discusses everything from being bi-racial to her upcoming film ‘‘Cloud Atlas’’.
Check out an excerpt below:
Berry’s looks are no doubt a great gift. Even now, more than halfway through her 40s, she retains perfect skin, a long, elegant neck and a body that is both slim and womanly. (She says a diagnosis of Type-1 diabetes, at age 19, made healthy eating and exercise a necessity.) But, she says, “just because they see my face doesn’t mean they see me. A person’s self-esteem has nothing to do with how she looks.
“If it’s true that I’m beautiful,” she adds, “I’m proof of that. Self-esteem comes from who you have in your life. How you were raised. What you struggled with as a child.”
Berry grew up in Cleveland as the child of a white mother (a psychiatric nurse) and a black, alcoholic father — a hospital orderly — who abused her mother and older sister (not Berry herself, she says), and who left when she was 4. He returned six years later for what she describes as “the worst year of my life.” But it was her mother, Judith, who raised her.
After her mother showed up for the first time at her all-black elementary school, Berry was shunned. “Kids said I was adopted,” she says. “Overnight, I didn’t fit in anymore.” When the family moved to the suburbs in search of a better education for Berry and her sister, she was suddenly the lone black child in a nearly all-white school. People left Oreo cookies in her locker. When she was elected prom queen, the school principal accused her of stuffing the ballot box and suggested she and the white runner-up flip a coin to see who got to be queen. Berry won the toss.
“I always had to prove myself through my actions,” she says. “Be a cheerleader. Be class president. Be the editor of the newspaper. It gave me a way to show who I was without being angry or violent. By the time I left school, I had a lot of tenacity. I’d turned things around.”
When she was 16, her mother stood with her in front of a mirror and asked what she saw. “My mother helped me identify myself the way the world would identify me,” Berry says. “Bloodlines didn’t matter as much as how I would be perceived” — as beautiful but also as a black woman in a world in which the images of beautiful, successful black women were notably absent.
Images Via NY Times tmagazine