I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician because, as a second job, my mother would clean up a pediatrician's office. So I was like, 'Oh, OK, baby doctor.' Until I got to college, and all the courses of science with the blood, guts and cadavers? I was like, 'Mm, no.'
My mom was always pretty supportive. She saw me do plays and she'd always act out the parts I did. My aunt, who played a big part in my life, was a little bit more reserved, because if they don't see you on TV every week they think you must be starving.
We all have a gift; we all have a passion - it's just about finding it and going into it. Being an asset to your family and community.
I'd tell my 20-year-old self, 'Don't be afraid to do it all. Whatever you're interested in, just go for it. Don't wait around for a better time.'
I'm thinking about directing, but I know it's a lot of work and I appreciate what directors do and I would like to be good at it. The opportunity has presented itself four to five times, and I usually said no because of the script.
The first time I acted was in high school in Florida, and when I heard that applause I felt so alive and felt that electricity go up my spine.
This is a career about images. It's celluloid; they last for ever. I'm a black woman from America. My people were slaves in America, and even though we're free on paper and in law, I'm not going to allow you to enslave me on film, in celluloid, for all to see.
I want to be evil! I did play Lady Macbeth on stage to Alec Baldwin's Macbeth back in New York in 1998. But I've played a lot of characters who are so righteous and understanding. I don't want to be a goody-goody two-shoes all the time.
It's important to surround yourself with good people, interesting people, young people, young ideas. Go places, learn new stuff. Look at the world with wonder - don't be tired about it.