LOS ANGELES—Fresh off the heels of her latest film Bruised, Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Halle Berry spent time with AARP The Magazine (ATM) to talk about her “life-changing” role, directorial debut and evolving career directions. Globally known and celebrated for her captivating performances, the actress also shared an intimate look into her home life, opening up about her long path to joy as a parent, partner and professional. In the exclusive ATM cover story, she looks ahead optimistically, noting that for the first time in decades, she has achieved balance between her professional, family and emotional lives.
The following are excerpts from ATM’s February/March 2022 cover story featuring Halle Berry. The issue is available in homes starting in February and online now at www.aarp.org/magazine/.
On lessons in motherhood:
“My kids have been my greatest teachers. Before the world silences them, they’re truth tellers. And if as adults we’re present and we listen to what they’re saying, we can learn a lot about ourselves and about the world we live in.”
On representation and diversity in Hollywood:
“Women of color are doing things, and you know what? They’re doing things on their own terms, in their way, and on projects that are reflective of them or their culture or their gender. They’re daring to say, “I deserve this.””
On finding true love and real connection in the midst of quarantine:
“We spent four months talking on the phone. We were forced to let only our brains connect and discover if we had a connection before our bodies decided to get involved. I’d never done it this way. I fell in love with his mind, his conversation. I really believe I’ve found my person.”
On making her directorial debut:
“Directors I respected told me, “For your directorial debut, let it be something you love and something you know about.” From the moment I read the script, it was a part of me. I was aching to tell it.”
On maintaining the female perspective in “Bruised”:
“I was determined not just to hire as many women as I could, but to also make sure that the story stayed very female and was told from a specific female point of view, that we talk about things that are very feminine. We went to dark places because that’s what women do. That’s our sensibility. I also wanted an all-female soundtrack and female composer, so that the sound of this film that supported these characters in this world would be female.”
On addressing domestic violence authentically in her work:
“This story was a world I knew—domestic violence, for one thing. Not only have I worked with a shelter for 25 years, but it’s how I grew up as a young child, with an alcoholic, violent father. As a kid, I saw my mother beaten up and I know the horror and helplessness a kid feels. I remember my mother feeling humiliated by what her children had to witness. While some people might watch it and think, That’s harsh, it felt normal to me, which is how I knew it was true.”
On her relationship with her mom:
“My mother is one of the strongest women I know. She’s white, my dad was Black, and in the ’60s and early ’70s she was raising two little Black kids after my dad left and she was alone, a single mom. Parts of her family disowned her. The Black side of our family didn’t want anything to do with her. I watched her struggle, be strong, face adversity, persevere, never quit, keep going. I know that’s where I get my perseverance from.”
On playing physically demanding roles in “X-Men,” “John Wick” and now “Bruised”:
“Kicking, punching and pushing myself to my limits has always been a great, healthy release. Like men, women have a lot of pent-up anger and angst and sadness. I needed a healthy way to get this stuff out of my body. Sweating and working out is also fuel for me. And I’m addicted to those feel-good endorphins.”
On the beauty of aging:
“We’re all going to get older. Our skin is going to shrivel up and we’re going to look different. I refuse to become someone who just tries to hold onto a youthful face and not embrace what’s most important about being beautiful—how you live your life, how you give back to others, how you connect to people, how you strengthen your mind, body and soul and nourish yourself, how you give in a meaningful way of yourself. The most beautiful people have something radiating inside.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.