Angela Bassett Wasn't Always This Confident
The fitness routine and a stellar skin-care regimen that help this legendary actress look and feel better than ever.
What is beauty all about for you?
More than anything, I think it’s feeling comfortable with yourself. It’s falling in love with what’s different about you and being happy about that.
You turned 60 last year. Have you always been comfortable with yourself?
No, no, no. It’s something that you grow into. I think as a young black woman coming up in the projects and wanting to go into the entertainment business, you’re looking at images on television, in film, on commercials, in magazines, that sort of thing, and they don’t feature, you know, your features — so you’re straightening your hair, perming, doing all these things to yourself to fit in with this standard of beauty. But, thankfully, it’s changed dramatically over the past two to three decades, which is freeing and wonderful to see.
Yes, seeing diverse representation is so important, especially when you’re young.
I think the idea of beauty is opening up; there’s no one standard — like if you see Dove commercials where the [women] are not size 0. I’ve never been a size 0. Growing up, you may tend to think your hips are too big, your lips are too large, [but] these things all come around. Things have changed, because it’s human opinion. You have to be cognizant of that and appreciative of what’s beautiful and unique about you. A carbon copy has no soul.
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How do you care for yourself?
It’s constant. Last week it was about getting the yearly physical and mammogram. My doctors tell me that my physiology, my makeup, thrives on being physical. I’ll go jogging or walking. Yoga is usually a little slow for me. I prefer to lift weights or run on the treadmill, maybe do Pilates.
Let’s talk glam: Do you love getting ready for an event?
I’ve been working with the same makeup artists and hairstylists for years, and I’ve pretty much always been happy to sit in the chair and close my eyes. I’m not going to put a straitjacket on them. A [fashion] stylist will have ideas and things for me, and I’ll try on the whole rack because it’s fun. You catch a vibe, a feeling.
How are you at doing your own makeup?
I try to wear as little as I can. I grew up with my mother taking me to a dermatologist. I think my mother and her siblings dealt with marks and acne scars — especially as an African American, your skin is so sensitive and scars so easily. So from ninth grade on, every six weeks [we’d] go to the dermatologist to clear my skin out. I knew it was a sacrifice for [my mom] because she didn’t make that much as a civil servant. But it was really important to her. It’s all about making sure your skin and complexion are top-notch.
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