Angela Bassett on acting: ‘I use those skills to get what I want as a mom’

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Closer Weekly is like US Weekly for the AARP set, and features interviews and stories about older celebrities. (I am quickly approaching that target market and appreciate their large font size.) This week they have an interview with Angela Bassett, 62(!), who is promoting Soul on Disney+, out on Christmas day. I thought Soul might be like Mulan in that you have to both subscribe to Disney and pay more to watch it, but it’s free for subscribers! I’m excited to watch that and so many other shows over the break. Angela is also talking about her partnership with the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. She’s raising awareness of the fact that type 2 diabetes makes people more susceptible to stroke and heart disease. This is how she lost her mom six years ago, and she wants people to sign up for KnowDiabetesByHeart.org to learn more. She talked a little about her long marriage, to Courtney B. Vance, interviewers love asking about that, and my favorite part was when she admitted she’s can be a bit manipulative as a mom (my words). Angela and Courtney have 14 year-old twins, son Slater and daughter Bronwyn. Their kids go to public school although I’m sure they’re in Zoom school now.

Your husband of more than 20 years is actor Courtney B. Vance. Is it harder or easier to have a two-actor marriage?
I don’t know, because it’s the only marriage I’ve had! We have found ways to make it work. We have a shorthand, I never have to go into too much detail about what I’m going through on a set. He understands, so that’s been easy. And if I have a love scene with someone, you know, we just understand.

It sounds like mutual understanding plays a big part in your relationship.
Yes. He’s a great actor and he loves what he does. We both agree if that’s your passion, you have to allow each other to go as far on the journey as they desire.

You have twin teenagers at home. Has that been challenging?
The best day of my life is the day my children were born. The main thing I want is to raise two beautiful, brilliant individuals who carry themselves well, have potential and who won’t let anyone stop them from going for it.

What has motherhood taught you?
It helps you to appreciate your own parents and how precious life is. And it’s made me glad that I am an actress, because I can cry on cue and use those skills to get what I want as a mom! [Laughs]

Has dealing with fame ever been difficult?
I’m the daughter my mother raised in St. Petersburg. Very working-class place, Southern folk, inviting and gracious and all of that. So I’ve always tried to maintain who I am and not let fame change me.

What is the greatest life lesson you have learned?
Everyone has something beautiful to share. Don’t mistake your presence for the event. Everyone has something to bring to the moment.

[From Closer Weekly]

I can’t believe how much I got out of reading this one interview. I especially love that last line she gave about her greatest life lesson, “Don’t mistake your presence for the event,” and that you should pay attention to the goodness in other people, basically. As for using her acting skills to get her kids in line, I’ve never heard an actor say that before and it’s awesome. Kids are so good at fake guilting us into things, but it’s rare that parents will admit we do this too. I totally do this. I was raised Catholic and I learned from the best.

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