Halle Berry is considered one of Hollywood's most beautiful women, but according to the actress, her looks have sometimes worked against her. In an interview with W Magazine, the Catwoman actress explained that she was often judged unsuitable for certain roles because of her beauty.
"It was intentional to not play the gorgeous girl," Berry told the magazine. "I came from the world of beauty pageants and modelling and right away when people heard that I got discounted as an actor," the 50-year-old explained. "I took on roles early on that really didn't rely on my physical self at all and that was a good way to sort of get some credibility within my industry."
Referring to her first film offer, for Jungle Fever, Berry recollected how she had to convince Spike Lee to give her a role different from the one she had originally auditioned for. "Spike Lee wanted me to read for the part of his wife and I read that part fine enough, but then I said to Spike 'You know I really am eyeing this crack ho role, can you please let me audition for that?' And he said, 'no, no I don't see you as the crack ho'.
"I said, 'I am the crack ho. Really deep down I'm the crack ho!' And he was like, 'No, I don't see it.' And I said, 'Let me go in the bathroom, wash all this makeup off; you will see eyeing the crack ho'," she mentioned of the audition.
"So, he let me do that and I came back out and I got to read the crack ho, and I got the part of the crack ho. And it was an amazing way to start my career, playing a crack ho being directed by Spike Lee. It was major for me."
Despite her popularity and acting chops, the Die Another Day star had to once again convince a director to let her audition for a serious role. "With Monsters Ball, Lee Daniels didn't want to see me read. He was actually disgusted by the thought. My argument to him was, just because someone looks a certain way doesn't mean that they are spared adversity. Adversity does not discriminate," Berry said.
"I thought, 'My looks haven't spared me one hardship or one hurt moment or one painful situation. So please, you know, give me a shot at this.' I said, 'I often think it's more interesting when you see someone that looks a certain way struggle in ways that you wouldn't think they would be struggling with.' He ultimately gave me a chance and that sort of changed the course of my career in so many ways," she explained.
The Gothika actress went on to win the best actress Academy Award for the role.