Halle Berry Talks Overcoming Beauty-Pageant Stigmas in Hollywood 

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Halle Berry Poses for W Magazine
CREDIT: Mario Sorrenti/W Magazine
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Halle Berry’s skills as an actress are pretty widely accepted these days, but back in 1991, she was struggling to get taken seriously in the industry. The stunning actress sat down with magazine to discuss her first fledgling steps in Hollywood and the role that propelled her career into a new stratosphere.

“I came from the world of beauty pageants and modeling and right away when people heard that I got discounted as an actor,” she said. “So, I had the job of trying to eliminate that part of my persona, and Spike [Lee] gave me a chance to do that. And I took on roles early on that really didn’t rely on my physical self at all and that was a good way to sort of get some credibility within my industry.”

Although Lee had brought her in to audition for the role of Wesley Snipe’s wife in the film Jungle Fever, Berry had her eye on another, far darker role.

Halle Berry Poses for W Magazine
CREDIT: Mario Sorrenti/W Magazine

“Spike wanted me to read for the part of [Snipe’s] wife and I read that part fine enough, but then I said to Spike, ‘You know I really am eyeing this crack ho role, can you please let me audition for that?’” Berry said. “And he said, ‘No, no I don’t see you as the crack ho.’ I said, ‘I am the crack ho. Really deep down I’m the crack ho!’ And he was like, ‘No, I don’t see it.’ And I said, ‘Let me go in the bathroom, wash all this makeup off; you will see I am the crack ho.’”

After some finagling, Berry convinced Lee to allow her to audition for the role of Vivian, the film’s troubled drug addict, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“So, he let me do that and I came back out and I got to read the crack ho, and I got the part of the crack ho,” she explained. “And it was an amazing way to start my career, playing a crack ho directed by Spike Lee. It was major for me.”

Head over to W magazine to read more!