‘Moving forward and continually developing’
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | KIMBERLY ELISE
‘Embrace your uniqueness’
Kimberly Elise has built an extraordinary career in Hollywood. Ever since her screen debut 20 years ago in the crime thriller “Set It Off,” she has starred in a string of movies across genres and audiences — from critical favorites like “Beloved” and “For Colored Girls” to crowd-pleasers like “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Up next: the holiday release “Almost Christmas” (out Nov. 11) and a turn opposite Bruce Willis in a remake of “Death Wish” due in theaters next year. Las Vegas Black Image Magazine recently caught up with Elise for a revealing conversation about her life and career.
Can you explain your “Natural Living” concept?
My concept for living naturally is one that utilizes as much of one’s natural being, in combination with Mother Nature, to guide us on a personal journey of health, healing and organic beauty. Ultimately reminding every woman that her own unique natural beauty is one of your most profound gifts.
You have played many roles as a strong woman — how would you best describe the strength of a black woman?
I would describe the strength of a black woman as an inner strength driven by her own morals, principles, and a commitment to honor them under all circumstances.
With so many challenges facing Black America, what is your recipe for conflict resolution?
I would approach any negative situation with a mind to reach a positive resolution by communicating, and genuinely listening from the heart and not from the head.
What is your message to black women as it pertains to healthy living?
Keep it simple. Embrace your uniqueness and create a lifestyle that is in harmony for yourself.
Why is perseverance so powerful?
To persevere to me means standing by your own values, morals, and beliefs. As long as it is not hurting another, there is no greater way to honor yourself.
What would be your message be to breast cancer survivors?
I would tell survivors of breast cancer to share their stories. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Use your journey to empower other women in treatment and prevention.
What is your humanitarian passion?
I have a passion for animals — both domestic and wildlife.
How do you celebrate the holidays?
I celebrate the holidays with my family. We enjoy traditional holidays. If I am working around that time, my daughters fly out and we spend the holidays in whatever city I am in. It’s always a new adventure.
What is your Christmas wish for Black America?
Inner and outer peace, love and life.
Your daughter wrote a book, “5 Lessons My Mother Taught Me.” What lesson do you think is ignored today?
The lesson that indicates that you should take time for yourself. People tend to put others before themselves. We need to prioritize ourselves and give ourselves more permission for self-care.
If you could play a person from history, who would that be?
Anyone who changed the world positively.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
I would be writing, healing, teaching, and nurturing.
What would you say to our newly-elected President of the United States?
“It’s not about you.”
What brings you peace?
What would you say to women who are trying to find their purpose?
Meditate on what moves your heart. Ignore outer voices and opinions, and move in the direction that speaks the loudest to them from the inside.
What is your favorite word?
Who’s been your best leading man?
All of them.
What’s been the best thing about your career?
All the wonderful people I meet and work with — famous or not — and inspiring people who see themselves in my character’s triumphs against all odds.
What makes you happy?
The sound of laughter.