Regina King has been working in the entertainment industry since she was a kid, so she clearly knows the perils of Hollywood. The actress understands that sometimes one of the best things to happen in your personal life — motherhood — can be seen as a liability from a TV and film production standpoint. The pressure to succeed weighed heavily on her, even though she knew what was best for her then-9-year-old son Ian Alexander Jr. So, she decided to take charge of her journey and do things outside the Hollywood norm by refusing jobs that took her out of her home base in Los Angeles.
In a new interview with InStyle magazine, King calls it “the biggest risk” that she took in her career — because she knew that traveling with Ian from location to location wasn’t going to work anymore. “I wanted to stay home and ensure that I was not going to miss games, miss watching him grow,” she says. “I think that was a risk. I know it was a risk because of the reaction of my agents when I said that.”
That decision easily cut her job opportunities in half because many TV and film productions shot in Canada, Atlanta, or overseas in Europe, but King had to find a successful path that worked for her family — one that included being a present parent. Her agents could have parted ways with her, because the decision would also diminish the money they earned from King. Instead, they honored her choice and set goals that helped her achieve major accomplishments, like her 2019 Oscar win for If Beale Street Could Talk and her 2020 Emmy win for Watchmen. It also put her in charge behind the camera for her directorial debut in the upcoming One Night in Miami.
King knows that her path is unorthodox and believes that there is no blueprint for success. “Whatever is successful is for that artist. What works for me doesn’t work for Meryl.” she explains to InStyle. “What works for me is that I am not making lateral moves, that I am on an upward trajectory. A lot of this I’m discovering along the way, but I am not compromising my integrity. I’m always continuing to dream.”
If you think all of this makes the 50-year-old actress a total superhero, we totally agree. But King sees it a little differently — she knows she’s a total badass in Hollywood. “I think a badass is someone who beats to the tune of their own drum,” she says. “It’s a person who takes risks.”
King took one of the biggest Hollywood risks of them all — and won.
The February issue of InStyle, is available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download January 15.
Before you go, these celebrity women of color share the first time they felt represented on screen.