Hollywood star Halle Berry has revealed she was just a “token” during her early days in the film industry as there were hardly any parts written for women of colour.
The 52-year-old actor, who started her career with ABC television series Living Dolls, went on to become the first and the only woman of African-American descent to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (‘Monster’s Ball’).
Berry said that her journey from being a struggling woman of colour to one of the most popular Hollywood stars makes her believe that things are changing for better.
“I was just the token when I first started. I was on a lovely television show (‘Living Dolls’) where I would start the scenes, ‘Hello, everybody,’ and I would end them, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ That was my part. At the time, I was happy to be there.
“At the time I thought, as odd as it sounds coming out of my mouth right now, I was kind of happy to be there because women of colour weren’t really working. To be sitting here now, realising that I was able to create this opportunity for myself, lets me know for sure it’s a new day,” Berry told Variety and iHeart’s new film podcast The Big Ticket.
The actor will be seen next in the third installment of action franchise John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum as Sophia, a mysterious woman from John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) past who he asks for help when a bounty is placed on his head.
Berry will also be doing some more action in the upcoming drama Bruised. The film, which marks her directorial debut, will feature her as a MMA fighter.
“I read the script, and I loved it. It was written at the time for a 22-year-old white woman which, obviously, can’t be me. But I was able to convince producers why it should be me and why it would be more relevant in the times in which we’re living if it were me. I talked about all the elements of the filmmaking, what I saw in my head, and they bought it. They thought, Wow. Makes sense,” she said.