Judith Light Knows Why So Many of Her Peers in Hollywood Are Miserable

The actress opens up about being present, practicing gratitude, and never being a "misery dog" on the red carpet in this week's episode of Ladies First With Laura Brown.

Judith Light
Photo: Victoria Will

In a world where everyone is so focused on the past or future, Judith Light is committed to staying present, something she has always tried to maintain during her long, fruitful career.

On this week's episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown, the actress tells Brown that when she first got her start on Broadway in the '70s, she simply wasn't happy.

"I began to realize that I had these ideas that the business was going to be a particular way, and I was going to be a particular way in it," she says. "And I realized that it wasn't happening the way that I had pictured it."

So in order to escape the misery, Light had to make a switch. And she's now sharing how she found her grounding and turned her work into a joyful career. Part of what keeps her focused and present is practicing meditation. "It's the moment of stopping, to get yourself into the now," she explains. On this week's podcast, Light says more about how meditating helped her film the upcoming movie, The Menu, in which she stars alongside Anya Taylor-Joy.

Judith Light Didn't Dress Herself Until She Was 27, Then Didn't Know What To Wear: Episode 47: November 16, 2021

InStyle Ladies First with Laura Brown

This podcast may contain cursing that would not be appropriate for listeners under 14. Discretion is advised.

Another way she remains happy in her work to this day is so simple, it seems obvious: gratitude. While she notes that publicity can be a challenging part of the job, it just comes with the territory.

You often hear celebrities complain about red carpets, press, or fame, but Light takes it all in stride. "Red carpets are what they are — you have to get dressed, get your hair and makeup [done], and you have to get out there. It matters to the people who watch you."

Later in the podcast, she expands on the mutually beneficial relationship actors have with the press, saying she is thankful for the platform that allows her to speak out on topics that are important to her, something she's been doing since the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s when Light became a voice for the LGBTQA+ community.

She continued, "In the middle of the word, courage, is the word rage, which I find really poignant and powerful, and you could see that the LGBTQIA+ community was stalwart, and present, and out there. And to me, that was inspiring."

Throughout the episode, Light touches more on how that inspiration and her friends in the community pushed her to fight through the fear to become one of the first celebrities to advocate for the queer community, which earned her the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Honor in 2019 for her service.

During her abundant career (which is still in full bloom, with the aforementioned, forthcoming film, as well as numerous Ryan Murphy projects like Impeachment: American Crime Story and The Politician) Light learned quickly that this industry doesn't cater to those who only think of themselves.

"A lot of people want to be a star. They don't want to be a worker, be an artist. They want to be a celebrity," she told Brown. "You think it's about you. It's not about you. And if you try to make it about you, you will be very, very unhappy."

Listen to Light's episode on Ladies First with Laura Brown to hear more about her meditation practice, positive attitude, and why she didn't buy her own clothes until age 27.

Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, PlayerFM, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.

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