The actress also wants to push back on the notion that being stereotyped as a “strong woman” is a negative thing.Halle Berry doesn’t care if you think she’s emotional or sensitive. In fact, she embraces it.
In EW’s new Bold School video series — which celebrates Hollywood’s power players (in front of and behind the camera), as well as the strong, inspiring characters they portray on screen — Berry pushes back against some of the labels she’s been called throughout her life and career.
“When people try to weaponize the words that we as women innately are, which is emotional and sensitive, I say, screw you. Because you know what? Being emotional and sensitive has made me the actor that I am today,” she tells EW. “It’s given me a well of emotion to use and draw from. It’s probably the greatest asset that I have.”The Oscar winner says that when people call her “emotional,” she turns it around on them.
“I say to the person, ‘What in those words make you uncomfortable?’ Maybe you should ask yourself why these words bother you, or why being emotional and sensitive seem to be a problem. Maybe it’s a question for yourself, not for me,” Berry adds.
“I remind them that I was told I was strong since I was knee-high to a bullfrog. Since I was a little girl I’ve been told, ‘You’re strong, you’re strong, you’re strong,'” she says. “So I’ve always equated that with something positive. I’ve never taken that word and found any negative connotations to it at all, and especially as a woman and a woman of color, that strength helped me find a way out of no way. So for me, it’s always been a positive way to be described.”
For Berry, who began her career as a model before landing her first onscreen roles in the early 1990s, there were many moments where she says she found her voice in her life and career.
“I think every decade I’ve managed to find a new voice for myself,” she shares, citing her first time leaving home at age 17, to learning to say no in her 20s, to standing up for herself as a woman and mother in her 30s and more. And now, in her 50s, as she prepares for the release of her first directorial feature film effort with Bruised, she reveals had to fight to have her second act as a director.
“It wasn’t easy. This wasn’t a slam dunk for me,” she says. “I had to work really hard for this opportunity and prove that I could do it, and it was about finding a new voice even at this stage of my career.”
Bruised also stars Berry as Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter seeking redemption in the ring while also fighting for custody of her young son. It hits Netflix on Nov. 24.