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Halle Berry was one of Hollywood’s biggest names in the 90s and the 2000s.
But the star says that despite winning her Academy Award win for Best Actress in 2002 for her role in “Monsters Ball,” the offers did not come pouring in.
She says that life for her, as a Black actress in Hollywood, was pretty much business as usual.
“It was surprising because I thought they were going to just back up the truck and drop them off at my house, right?,” Berry told Entertainment Weekly. “When you have a historic win like that, you think, ‘Oh, this is going to fundamentally change.’ It did fundamentally change me, but it didn’t change my place in the business overnight. I still had to go back to work. I still had to try to fight to make a way out of no way.”
She says that she took on roles that weren’t necessarily of her caliber because of this. Critics panned several of her movies following her Oscar win. Berry says those movies were pretty much the only offers on the table.
“It’s like, okay, that’s a film I can’t say I’m totally in love with, but this isn’t a hobby. It’s how I take care of my children,” Berry said. “But I try to keep that sense of wonder and stay curious. Because being a Black woman, I haven’t always had parts that I absolutely love.”
Berry is not alone. It’s a common issue for actors and actresses of color. As Hollywood makes a push (at least on the surface) to embrace diversity and slowly close the pay gap, it sadly means that Black actors are left out in the cold until then.
A far cry from Berry’s white peers.
In 2000, white actress Julia Roberts became the first woman to earn a $20 million paycheck for her role in “Erin Brockovich.” The following year, she won the Academy Award win for Best Actress and was reported to make a minimum of $25 million per movie.