Legendary singer and actor Mary J. Blige joined Salma Hayek for Variety's Actors on Actors and the two got incredibly real about how terrifying stripping away the trappings of beauty can be in a role.
Blige, who stars in the Netflix film Mudbound explained to the Beatriz at Dinner star that stripping away hair, makeup and nails for a performance that's been called transformative was initially terrifying, but once she felt the character, she found the experience eye-opening.
“I was feeling really, really low. Insecure. Not sure of who I was. I didn’t really realize that I was hanging onto so many things of the world that made me feel beautiful. I was fighting for fingernails, and fighting for wigs and things like that. And I just didn’t wanna strip down, because I just was afraid,” Blige told Hayek.
Blige explained the experience truly pushed her, but she opened up to it. “Once I trusted [the director] and let Florence live, she really liberated me. She really opened me up to my own inner beauty for real. Not what I thought I’d learn, but really truly who I am. And that none of this matters, you know?”
"I was resorting to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain," she said in an interview with MAKERS. "People from the outside looking in would think everything was great, but I was in hell. I was spiraling down, I didn't think I would make it."
Blige says she was able to channel her pain into her music at the time.
"I didn't think anybody would pay attention to my call for help, but my fanbase did," she said.
Her fans helped the singer realize the impact she had on people, and how much her music meant to them.
"I realized that I can't do this anymore. I can save lives," she said. "I had to figure out a way to uplift us and be a woman of empowerment and strength."
"I took all this depression and oppression I was dealing with and just put it in my music. I made the choice, I chose life."
See the entire video below.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
Read these stories next: