Halle Berry is a one of the most well-known and highest paid actresses in the United States. Her parents met during the early-sixties when black and white race relations were radically shifting with the promptings of the civil rights movement. Her father, Jerome Berry was an African American hospital attendant and her mother, Judith was a Caucasian psychiatric nurse. Halle was born on August 14th, 1966. She spent her early childhood in an inner-city area of Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to an almost exclusively white suburban neighborhood when she was in Junior High. Here, she faced a great deal of racism which drove her to seek perfection and excel at almost everything she set her mind to. She became the newspaper editor, head cheerleader and even class president. In the 1980’s Halle began to compete in beauty pageants. She won the title of Miss Teen Ohio and Miss Teen America. She also placed as first runner-up in the Miss U.S.A. competition. Even with the glowing title of beauty queen she still faced racial discrimination and persecution.
In the 90’s, Halle moved to New York to begin her acting career in television, where she had various small roles on shows such as Knot’s Landing and Living Dolls. Her big motion picture break came in 1991 when she landed a lead role in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. Halle’s most impressive acting accolade came in 2001, when she was the first African American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, for her work in Monster’s Ball. She felt incredibly honored to earn that distinction in history.
Halle has come to terms with being an interracial woman, although most of her life she was known and categorized as a black woman. She said, “I think it’s best to always be who you are,” and “I’m often judged by my sex or my race and I have always known that shouldn’t hamper me.”
Nowadays, Halle continues to act and has a new project coming out soon called John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. She also focuses on her health as a self-proclaimed fitness addict and focuses on being a great mom to her two children.
Alexis Cook, Project RACE Teens Co-President
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