Halle Berry keeps her Oscar locked away in her bedroom where no one can see or touch it. Most actors would flaunt the award and install a spotlight to shine upon it on their mantle, but Berry isn’t that type of actress.
“They always ask when they come over, ‘So where is it?'” Berry said. “And I’m like, ‘You’re not going to see it. It’s here, but you’re not going to see it.'”
In a sit-down interview with “The Temple News,” Berry spilled what she wants from her still-growing career, where her motivations stem and what that now-famous Oscar moment meant to her.
“I knew in that moment it was bigger than me,” Berry said of her surprise win of the Best Actress Oscar in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball.”
“I said it because I knew it – ‘This is so not about me right now.’ I know that’s why so many other people felt connected to it, as well.” When looking back on her shining moment, Berry said she is glad she chose not to write a speech. When she arrived at the podium to accept her award, she spoke from the heart.
“It was a big deal for me,” she said. “Maybe it’s not as big a deal for other people. For me, I was having an out-of-body experience.”
An out-of-body experience is right – her Academy Award victory and the current status of her career is a heavy achievement for someone who played Rosetta Stone in 1994’s “The Flintstones” as one of her first big roles. More than a decade later, in her new movie “Perfect Stranger,” Berry receives top billing even before her co-star, Mr. Planet Hollywood himself, Bruce Willis. She has no reason not to be beaming. And the best part is that the 41-year-old’s career is just taking off.
“I really want to do a romantic comedy,” Berry said. And that’s just what the go-getter is doing. She’s producing and starring in the romantic comedy “Nappily Ever After.”
“It’s about how much time we, as women, invest in our hair, and how if our hair’s not right, we’re not right,” Berry said.
“Through my character, the other women in the movie find their power, and that it’s not in their hair at all.”
Berry admits to becoming engrossed in her work, because she chooses projects that resonate with her on a personal level. A common denominator between the romantic comedy she’s producing and the role she plays in “Perfect Stranger” is the main character’s search for inner power.
“I am certainly someone who relates to the notion of finding one’s power,” Berry said. “I feel like I’ve been doing that my whole life: being a black girl raised by a white mother and always feeling like I didn’t fit in. Through the process, I had a catharsis by the end of the movie. I got to work on my own issues. I try to find a way to work out my own real-life issues – something that I can connect to.”
Berry’s biracial background plays a large part in her life. She is not only a role model for black women, but for all women, as she aspires to eliminate the racial wall in the entertainment business.
“I would love to be seen as an actress, and that’s it. We’re not quite there yet,” Berry said. “But I think for now, it’s part of my responsibility to talk about it and heighten awareness about it and deal with the issue.”
And as that role model who so many admire, Berry gave her opinion on some of Hollywood’s most notorious, out-of-control stars: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.
“I wish I could talk to them and tell them a few things, just because I’ve learned through the years,” she said. “But in their defense, they’re just kids. They’re doing lots of things that kids do that are struggling to be adults and figure out who they are. But they have cameras following them around, and I think that exacerbates the situation and makes it harder for them to deal with.”
The A-list Hollywood star has yet to meet all of the “Big Three,” but spoke about the one she knows best: pop singer Britney Spears.
“I thought she was wonderful, I was a big fan of hers,” Berry said of artist and gossip-page gracing Spears. “I remember when I first met her, I said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but I actually listen to your music.’ And she was like, ‘No, I don’t believe it!'” Berry said in a southern drawl, imitating Spears.
Berry went on to say that she was fond of Spears and feels badly for her ehab-hopping, hair-chopping situation.
Berry can sympathize because she knows what it’s like to be hounded by the media. She said that the worst and most bizarre story that’s ever been written about her is that she had a sixth toe. She said the report led her manager to call and question her about the elusive sixth toe.
“I don’t get this sensational appetite for seeing people at the drugstore and biting a burger – I don’t really get it,” she said. “It’s hard to find a way to be private and be yourself.”
But she wouldn’t understand, because she is Halle Berry. She doesn’t have herself to look up to.
Jesse North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.