Nia Long has starred opposite some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
The beloved actress is known for her beautiful and amazing on-screen chemistry. Despite having played across some top male actors, she was told early on that one man would probably not be available to her due to her age.
Nia Long was introduced to the world as Brandi in Boyz In The Hood. There she played Cuba Gooding Jr’s love interest before joining their co-star Ice Cube in the movie Friday. She also played Will Smith’s girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Nia Long says that after these roles, she hoped for more fulfilling parts outside of the cute love interest. She got her wish in Love Jones. Her on-screen dynamic with Larenz Tate became iconic, with many people believing the pair to be a real couple. The movie has gone down as one of the most beloved romance films of all time.
Soul Food would bring her face to face with another ’90s leading man, Mekhi Phifer. The pair played a young couple in the family drama. The Best Man would follow up a few years later and make Long synonymous with other leading men like Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Terrance Howard, and Harold Perrineau.
At one of the heights of her career, Long began to push for even more unique roles within Hollywood. She would get shut down a few times, however. While up for a role in the early ’00s Charlie’s Angels film, Long was told she looked “too old” to stand next to Drew Berrymore and Camron Diaz. Her part would eventually go to Lucy Liu.
On the flip side, Long was too she’d be “too young” to star across Denzel Washington. While she disagreed at the time, Long is confident that she has the acting chops to be believable across him, especially now that they are both older.
“I think that I’ve matured as a woman and as an actress, and I think I would [be] perfect to work opposite him now. I admire his ability to transcend all the stereotypes of who we are as black people.”