I worked in television; I'm the Failed Pilot Queen, I've done so many television shows, pilots, theater ... when you do it for so long, I'm telling you, you get to the point where it becomes varied because you take what's available for a number of reasons. It's just an occupational hazard.
I heard about the book and I said, 'Oh my god, I've got to read this book,' and I didn't know that a white woman wrote it. Nobody said that to me, they just said, 'The Help - Oh my god, you've got to read it.' Everyone failed to mention it was a white woman, I think, because nobody really wants to talk about race.
I just want different narratives for people of color, especially women of color. I just want something that's different. I don't want us to be put in a box. I want it to be kind of a redefinition of who were are. If I can even achieve that in a tiny way, I'll be good. I'll be good.
He is a regular guy who absolutely is not attracted to his own celebrity. He's a jokester, a little rough around the edges, with great heart and compassion; he loves his family. I feel very comfortable with him. I don't see 'Denzel Washington Star'; I just see Denzel.
I always talk to all the crew. I always make it pleasant. I always nurture a relationship that makes people feel like they're important, like they're a part of the collaboration. I feel that way about the young actors on set. I don't talk to them like I'm the mentor; I talk to them like they're my peers. And I learned that from Meryl Streep.
I didn't see myself any different from my white counterparts in school. I just didn't! I thought I could do what they did. And what I didn't do well, I thought people were going to give me the opportunity to do well, because maybe they saw my talent, so they would give me a chance. I had no idea that they would see me completely different.
We have to stop thinking about diversity and start thinking about inclusion. That's what you can take from August Wilson. That there are whole cultures out there living experiences exactly like yours, and their stories can be just as dynamic, sold in the foreign market, put as many butts in the seats as any Caucasian movie out there.
I think sometimes what people miss about black people is that we're complicated, that we are indeed messy, that we do our best with what we've been given. We come into the world exactly like you. It's just that there are circumstances in the culture that are dictated and put on our lives that we have to fight against.
I don't care if someone is new to acting or experienced in acting: you always learn something from them. It's just like people in life - whether they're young or middle-aged or old, you always learn something from someone.
People don't understand that when you come into any theatrical experience, you've got to come locked and loaded, that you're a part of the experience, too. You can't come with your arms crossed. Be open to it.
I'm the journeyman actor that you saw in one scene here, two scenes there. I've been eking out a living doing theater - Broadway, Off Broadway - film supporting roles, that I'm just excited to be a part of the conversation.
Vanity destroys your work. That's the one thing you have to let go of as an actor. I don't care how sexy or beautiful any woman is. At the end of the day, she has to take her makeup off. At the end of the day, she's more than just pretty.
I feel the same way about Shondaland I feel about Africa and Greece. I feel pretty in both places. Men look at me like I'm a novelty, and women think I'm just cool. I feel absolutely at home immediately. I'm not altering myself to fit in. I'm walking in just as I am. And there are open arms stretched out to greet me.
I played several maids in my career. I was tired of the maid after 'Far From Heaven.' I said, no more maids. Until I realized how difficult it was to get a role other than a maid, sometimes, in Hollywood, and sometimes you have to choose your battles, for lack of a better term.
You can't be perceived as 'the black actress who doesn't get the same kind of roles as the white actress.' You gotta run the same race. You gotta give the same quality of performances. You gotta have the same standard of excellence, even though people know that you're coming to the race in a deficit. That's just what life is about.
And that's what people want to see when they go to the theater. I believe at the end of the day, they want to see themselves - parts of their lives they can recognize. And I feel if I can achieve that, it's pretty spectacular.