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Halle Berry Says She Her Beauty Worked Against Her Breaking Into Hollywood

Halle Berry (photosHalle Berry photos) says that she was often "discounted as an actor" when she was starting out because she was thought of as too beautiful to be a real actor.

"I came from the world of beauty pageants and modeling and right away when people heard that I got discounted as an actor," she tells W magazine.

"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."

Berry says it was her choice to take on the role of a drug addict in Lee's 1991 'Jungle Fever', even though the director apparently wanted to cast her as Wesley Snipes' wife.

"Spike wanted me to read for the part of his 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?'"

"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.'"

"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. And it was an amazing way to start my career, playing a crack ho directed by Spike Lee. It was major for me."

Berry later won a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for her similarly less than glamorous role in 'Monster's Ball'.

"With Monster’s Ball, Lee Daniels didn't want to see me read. He was actually disgusted by the thought. He thought there's no way and my argument to him was, 'Just because someone looks a certain way doesn't mean that they are spared adversity. Adversity does not discriminate.'"

"He ultimately gave me a chance and that sort of changed the course of my career in so many ways."

"It was intentional to not play the gorgeous girl."

September 15, 2016 |

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