Halle Berry continues to open up about how her beauty has often times boxed her in throughout her career. Despite being one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, an Oscar winner, and a beloved star, Berry says that for years she felt like her talent and intelligence always came second to her appearance. It is true that Halle Berry is also one of the most desired women in the world. In a recent sit down with ABC News, she discussed how she navigates this and her hopes for her future roles.
“That word ‘beautiful’ has been a hard word to get around for me,” she said at the beginning of the interview. In Berry’s experience, beauty is often associated with people who are not as talented or smart. “How I look I had nothing to do with. I came here this way,” she says. Berry says she prides herself more off of being a good mother and being a talented actress. She said that struggling with this concept for years led her to question what else was out there for her.
To date, Berry is still the only black woman to win an Oscar for Best Lead Actress. She made her directorial debut recently with the film Bruised on Netflix. Berry says she stumbled into this job, but it was something she had wanted for years. According to her, she had not seen many black female directors on her journey and was determined to be able to fill those shoes. “20 years ago, I didn’t even dream that I could do this. I didn’t think that opportunity would come my way in my lifetime.”
This is not the first Berry has talked about the impact of beauty on her life and career. When discussing Bruised last year, she opened up about how great the role was because she did not have to worry about being pretty. She joked that the worst she looked coming to set, the better the day was. Berry plays an MMA fighter and for much of the movie is unrecognizable. Berry was so committed to her character that she performed with a cracked rib and did not tell anyone till filming wrapped. She has gone on record to call the role “liberating” and “freeing.”
Berry says she has become incredibly perceptive of the impact “beauty” has on young women. For her daughter Nahla Ariela Aubry, she has been trying to instill that “beauty is as beauty does” and steer her clear of all of the pitfalls that come with the social media era and filters. Berry says that it causes some riffs at home sometimes because her daughter just wants to be a regular 14 year-old but Halle worries about her self-image. Especially with her mom being considered so desirable by so many.
In a review of Bruised that came out around its release, critics noted how much Berry had transformed for the role. Some said if this film did not change the perception around Halle and the types of characters she could play, they don’t know what would. They noted that even the clip of Berry discussing the role opened up with a montage of her iconic scene from James Bond where she’s strutting in a bikini, continuing to lead with sexualized images of her. Berry is dedicated to doing the work towards shifting this idea of her.