Zoë Kravitz On Being Black & Female In Her Industry

In Zoë Kravitz’s new movie, The Road Within, the actress had to relive some of the darker moments of her own eating disorder to bring her character to dynamic life — and she admits to having had some apprehension about it.

“I know I was kind of nervous,” Kravitz told Refinery29, adding that her friends and family felt the same way. On the other hand, “I felt like I could put all that terrible energy into something positive.” The resulting performance is a beautiful portrait of what it means to be young, flawed, and in search of something you can’t quite explain. “It’s about these real characters, these real people with real problems navigating their way through the world, and these moments of joy.”

Kravitz is on her own very real and winding path. The daughter of actress Lisa Bonet and musician Lenny Kravitz, she blends elements of both her parents' professions, continually shifting between her music and the silver screen. Last year, while filming Good Kill alongside costars Ethan Hawke and January Jones, Kravitz’s band, Lolawolf, came along to rehearse with her at night. She’d go straight from the set to practicing. “When I’m not shooting, [music is] a good place to put my energy and not obsess over what I've done that day or what I have to do the next day,” she says.

Needless to say, the star doesn’t have a lot of downtime, but that doesn’t keep her from taking on passion projects — like Dope, her comedy-drama with Shameik Moore and A$AP Rocky. Kravitz fell hard for the script and decided to take it on even though she wasn’t sure how it would play with audiences.

“This film is pushing the limits on so many things, racism or classism or sexism or whatever it is. It wraps up all these really great ideas, pushes those boundaries. And then on top of that it’s really funny.” She says she knew that it would either fall flat or people would really get it — but it was worth it, either way. “You never know, especially doing black films like that,” she explains.

The barriers that keep certain types of films — and actors — from achieving box office success are nuances Kravitz is uniquely tuned into. While she feels that times are changing in Hollywood and the dialogue around equality is actually happening, she'd still like see more general awareness of the issues, particularly those faced by women of color.

“I think as black women in Hollywood, or brown or whatever you want to call me, we’ve been hyper aware of the imbalance,” she says. “What I’ve found, though, is that it’s not like someone doesn’t want to hire a person because she’s black…You cast a movie, and they don’t cast a black person, and it wasn’t necessarily on purpose. Writer, directors, they just don’t think about it. Because it’s not their struggle.”

The actress also emphasized that while the industry is changing, this is no time to rest on our laurels. “I don’t want anyone to get too comfortable…I hope more and more women feel represented and make themselves represented. We don’t get to be like, ‘Oh, everything’s cool because Patricia Arquette gave a great speech at the Oscars,’” Kravitz adds. “Now we have to do it.” Amen to that — we're keeping an eye on this woman.

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