This month Regina King, the fiercely talented actress, is sharing her thoughts with us. Regina is currently starring on “American Crime” in the role of Aliyah Shadeed, which she just won an Emmy for. The list of credits on Regina’s resume is far too long to list with film and television credits that include “Boyz n the Hood”, “Friday”, “Enemy of the State”, “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous”, “Southland”, “24”, “227”, and many more. Regina is probably most known for starring as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s wife in “Jerry Maguire”, and starring opposite Jamie Foxx in “Ray” as Margie Hendricks. Until last week, I had never met Regina and I was very much looking forward to having a chat with her. As an actress, I respect her immensely. On screen Regina is funny, powerful, emotionally unforgettable, and beautiful.
Regina is one of the warmest actresses that I’ve interviewed for MySkinAffair. She was so open, friendly, easy, and fun to talk to. What was meant to be a small chat with Regina, ended up being an hour of chatting with someone who felt like a friend by the end of the interview. She’s authentic, funny, sincere, and humble. Chatting with Regina was truly a pleasure. Enjoy!
Congratulations on the NAACP Image Award for “Southland”.
What did winning that award this year mean to you?
Well, obviously I was really surprised. I won last year but honestly, our show is on TNT, and let’s just face it…with cable we don’t have the viewership as regular network TV. So, I just figured that I wouldn’t have won again. So that was really surprising and I guess when you’re genuinely surprised, I think it makes for a more exciting moment.
You starred opposite Jamie Foxx and Cuba Gooding Jr. in roles that they both won Oscars for. Do you see a difference, in the moment, when you’re working opposite an actor who goes on to win an Oscar for that performance (that you were a part of), versus working opposite an actor whose work is never acknowledged in that way? Do you see a huge difference in the quality of work, in the moment of actually shooting, that something special is happening?
Oh, definitely. You definitely see in the moment that something special is happening. But then, like you noted, there are performances that we’ve watched or that I’ve been a part of where something special is happening and unfortunately it does not get recognized. That’s one of the things that I think makes the NAACP Awards so special. It’s the only forum that is respected the most outside of people with color. So it gives us an opportunity to have a moment to be applauded and get that pat on that back. You know, you need to hear that. No matter what anyone says about “awards don’t mean anything to me”…they don’t determine whether you’re going to get your next job or not, but they do serve as confirmations and moments of affirmations for actors.
Is there anyone that you would like to see acknowledged for their work, that hasn’t been?
That’s a hard one. Sometimes I think what happens is you’ll see a movie or a TV show and the show or movie, on the whole, is not the greatest movie but that actors performance is like, oh my god, ridiculous! You know what’s been frustrating over the years, that just came to mind? I don’t know how it’s possible that Phylicia Rashad never won an Emmy for Best Actress. And I don’t even think many white actors would argue with that. She’s amazing! Essence does that luncheon every year where they honor women. Hopefully Essence gets it right next year, and honors Phylicia. She’s amazing to me. But I’m speaking specifically of the Emmys in the years that she put in and was not recognized. Being a woman in my forties, when I was a teenager watching her, that’s the type of woman I wanted to be.
I feel the exact same way. I watched “The Cosby Show” as well and I looked at her, in the role of Clair Huxtable, as the perfect example of a strong mother figure. She was a great role model.
Exactly! You saw that you can be a successful professional woman and a good mother. Phylicia Rashad, as Mrs. Huxtable, I think represented something for all women in the 80’s that we still want to emulate. The few young girls that do watch “The Cosby Show” reruns and not reality shows, I think they see something in her.
Yes, absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. It’s amazing the impact that a great actor with a great character can have on an audience. What I think makes you such a powerful actress is that when I think of your body of work, I actually think about specific scenes you were in, specific moments even that I’ve found to be unforgettable. So many of your performances have been so powerful and fierce that I know they are coming from a place of truth. You have that ability to be emotionally unforgettable, and that’s truly a gift. I’m curious, selfishly as an actress, what your process is for creating a character?
Thank you so much. I totally agree with you, performances have to be rooted in truth for the viewer to look at them as real. For me personally, when I’m reading something, I have to feel a truthful moment at some point within reading it. Because sometimes the dialogue may not necessarily be there, but when you’re reading it you can understand what this character’s journey may have been. Because with a lot of projects, it’s not about seeing the entire journey. Like with “Ray”, you got to see where all of those characters started and where they ended up. But a lot of movies don’t do that. So for the movies that don’t, or even the movies that do, I always try to create a back story. You know like, where this person might have gone to school or what is her sexual identity, what does she relate to sexually, who are her mother and father, did she only have a mother, did she only have a father? I just kind of build a back story and I think when I do that, I have a place to come back to when I feel kind of lost as an actor, with dialogue or direction for a scene. And having a great director makes a difference too. Because sometimes you can have an idea of how you’re going to play a character, and sometimes you get too calculated and then a good director will see that and give you direction that makes you go away from being calculated and being more organic.
I read that you’re producing a documentary, “Story of a Village”. Tell me about that.
It’s about a woman named Tiffany Persons who is a friend of mine that I’ve know for years. About five years ago she traced my mother’s side of DNA, and it went back to West Africa. Specifically, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Nigeria. So maybe about two weeks after I had gotten those results, Tiffany called me and told me that she was raising money to go back to Africa to repair a school in a village that she found, that was dear to her heart, in Sierra Leone. I felt that it needed to be documented. So, long story short, I got my shots and got my son his shots and went and talked to his school and took him out of school for a month and we went to Africa and documented it. Since then, it’s just gotten bigger and bigger and all of things that Tiffany’s done since then. She’s built a whole new structure and she’s got running water there, just so many things. Each year she has done more there, so there’s more being added to the documentary. There is something really intriguing about Tiffany and how she has just dedicated her life to this village, Bungoma. It’s pretty amazing to me. And I feel like that blueprint can be applied to any circumstance where you’re investing your time to improve a situation.
When do you expect to finish “Story of a Village”?
I’m hoping to have it done by the end of this year.
I wish you great success with that. It’s almost painful for me to switch our chat from this topic to skin care items (we both laugh). But do you mind if we jump into some girlie questions?
No, not at all. My girlfriends and I always say, you know someone’s really your friend when they share their recipes and things like that.
What are your favorite skin care products?
My absolute favorite skin care products are Arcona. If I am out of town for two weeks and in dire need of a facial, I won’t get one. I only let Arcona touch my face. I swear by them. I use their Toner Tea Bar every single morning and I use the Magic White Ice. It’s a moisturizer but it doesn’t have any oil in it. And once a week I use the Cranberry Gommage, a light scrub, and I use the Tea Tree Mask. I also use this product by a company called Adonia Organics. It’s called Stemulift Serum and basically it’s made out of plant stem cells and no matter if it’s hot or cold outside, I just find that it’s the perfect amount of moisture for my face. And I use makeup remover wipes by Koh Gen Do, that are just amazing. Their makeup remover wipes are called Cleansing Water Cloth. And they don’t have any scent whatsoever and it literally feels like you pulled a wipe out of a pack that’s been soaked with water. One wipe will remove all of your makeup, honestly. They’re absolutely amazing! I swear by them. My makeup artist on “Southland” turned me on to them and I’ve been using them for the past couple of years. They’re on the expensive side, but when I tell you they are worth it, oh my gosh!
I’m a mascara fanatic! I really like MAC False Lashes mascara. That’s kind of my favorite right now. Lip gloss and mascara, those are my things! I have the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment.
The Fresh Sugar Lip treatment is one of my absolute favorites.
Yes! It is absolutely my favorite too. I have that in my purse. (We move on to chatting about what Regina carries in her purse.) I also have the MAC Zoom Lash mascara. It’s really short, like a mini mascara, so it’s doesn’t take up a lot of room. And I always have the Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral sun block. I use that every day too. I have about five lip glosses in my purse. The two that I use the most, are the Fresh Sugar and Kissable Couture. I always put the Sugar on first and then I put on Kissable Couture. I have about five or six different shades of the Kissable Couture and I switch them out all of the time. It depends on the day. I like more sheer lip glosses that have light shades. I always have one of the Kissable Couture lip glosses in my purse. And they also make these mini one’s that come in a travel pack, with about five different colors in a pack. So they’re small. You know how sometimes we just don’t want to bring our purses? You can literally just slip one of these in a small pocket in your pant, that’s how small they are. And then I use a Loreal lip gloss just for more shine. Those are the ones that I use the most.
Do you have any favorite body products?
I don’t know about you, but don’t you like to change it up all of the time?
Right when I get out of the shower I put on a little oil while I’m still wet. Women of color, we need more moisture on our skin and in our hair. So especially during the winter or colder months I put oil on my body when it’s damp. Right now I’m using Organic Shea Butter Body Oil by a company called Out of Africa and they’re the only people that I know that actually make a shea butter oil. The majority of the oil is shea butter but it’s mixed with almond and avocado oil. It doesn’t have any scent to it and I like that because you can still put on your perfume. Then, in the summer months, being forty one (she laughs a little), I now use Aveeno Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion that I got in a gift bag. And I wish I had known I was going to love it so much because I would have just like started jacking people for their lotion out of their gift bags (we both crack up). It’s like $9.99 for the tube and it’s never in the drug store. Whenever I see it, if there’s more than one, I have to buy it because you so rarely see it.
What’s your must have product? The one product that you can’t live without.
Oh, you’re gonna be like “no” because it’s not for your body or skin…because (she starts to laugh a little) I feel like I’ll be able to borrow something from somebody. But if I don’t have Mentadent Toothpaste, there’s a problem. My “must have” is Mentadent Advanced Whitening Toothpaste. I’ve never ever whitened my teeth before and I’ve been using this toothpaste for like seventeen years now. And I think that it really works. If I’m going to be gone out of town for like three or four days, okay I’ll bring a little (travel size) toothpaste. But if I’m going to be out of town longer, I will pack my Mentadent.
You are so funny! That is my favorite answer of everyone I’ve ever asked. Because you’re like “I’ll just borrow the other stuff, I’m not gonna miss out on what I need” (we just start cracking up).
No, I need my Mentadent.
Do you have any favorite spas?
I like a spa here, in Pasadena, called Amadeus. It’s a really great spa and it’s low key. I go to Burke Williams because people always seem to give you gift certificates to Burke Williams. But my preference is Amadeus. I don’t know where there’s another one but I just know that I never run into any other celebrities there. Not that that’s a problem, but I think it’s kind of good because then you don’t have people coming to see celebrities. It’s not the celebrities that are the problem, it’s the people that are expecting to see celebrities.
Do you have a favorite treatment at the Amadeus Spa?
Oh gosh, they have this scrub that I like. And you go into a room afterwards and there’s this shower that goes over your body. And sometimes I get wraps. And I get massages, of course. For facials, I only go to The Arcona Studio. No one else touches my face but Arcona. It’s a really beautiful facility in Santa Monica.
What makes you feel especially sexy or beautiful?
The way my man looks at me. That’s the first thought that came to my head. I’m sure that there are more things, but sometimes he’ll look at me a certain way and you know, you just feel like “Aww, he loves me. Let me go over here and give him a kiss”.
Can I tell you, when I’m alone and I’ve just gotten out of the shower or I’m figuring out what to wear and I’m still naked, I’ll just throw on a pair of heels for no reason and that always seems to make me feel sexy. Or it serves as a reminder that I’m sexy.
I definitely do the heels naked! Whenever I get a brand new pair of shoes, I do try them on naked in the mirror.
And it works, doesn’t it?
Definitely! (we laugh)
It’s truly been a pleasure chatting with you, Regina. Thank you so much!
- Not only do I hope to end up on a set with Regina at some point, but she has a permanent lunch invite from me as well. Thanks Regina!
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Photographer: Kirstin Knufmann
Hair: Yvette Shelton
Makeup: Ann Masterson
Wardrobe Stylist: Tod Hallman