Paula Patton, whose name likely appears on many guys’ celebrity crush list, said she is just now getting comfortable with her looks.
“I haven’t always been this confident,” she told Complex magazine.
“I’m more comfortable with my flaws now, and with that, you start to feel more confident. When you’re trying to hide all of your flaws, and you’re embarrassed by them, it can be so uncomfortable—very, very uncomfortable. You don’t know who you’re supposed to be. I just hit a certain point when I started to think, ‘You know what? These are my flaws, and I’m OK with them.’ I love me! I’m doing the best I can with what I have,” she said.
The actress, who’s starred in several blockbuster movies, including Precious, Jumping the Broom and Deja Vu alongside Denzel Washington, is gearing up for her next role in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Her lack of self-esteem almost prevented her from auditioning for the movie.
“At first I felt like I shouldn’t waste my time, because I just didn’t see how they’d actually cast me. I didn’t think of myself being hired to be in this. Then they kept calling, so I figured, ‘OK, I have nothing to lose. It would be cool to be a spy. [Laughs.] And it’d be amazing to work with Tom [Cruise]. If they’re calling, there has to be a reason—you have to have more faith in yourself.’”
As she takes on the role of Jane Carter, Paula joins a small but ever-growing club of Black women who’ve starred in action movies. Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Thandie Newton and Vivica A. Fox have all portrayed butt-kicking beauties on the big-screen.
Traditionally, those roles were limited to Blaxploitation films, like the ones that made Pam Grier a household name, but Paula is happy her career has allowed her to play characters that aren’t stereotypical.
“In high school I became friends with this guy who was this Spike Lee wannabe, and he took me to see Do the Right Thing, and it just changed me. From that, the idea that I could create stories and characters for Black women and men to play who weren’t just stereotypes, was incredible for me. I actually made a couple short films after that,” she said.
However, she’s learned that the most important part of moviemaking is keeping the audience pleased.
“The most important thing for anyone who wants to make movies is to entertain people,” she said. “If you find a way to layer it, give them more depth, and make them think about things, that’s the ultimate success.”
—Tracy L. Scott