Things are good for Queen Latifah: “From the time I really accepted myself … everything got brighter.” When Queen Latifah enters the room, heads turn. Even when she’s dog-tired, in sweats, or with her hair slicked under a trucker’s cap. It’s her unassailable comfort in her own skin that radiates a magnetic energy.
During a photo shoot, arriving not-so-fresh from a red-eye flight from New York, the actress, singer and occasional MC gets down to business: She flashes an infectious smile and transforms herself from Everyday Dana Owens into a perfectly coiffed, platform-heel-strutting diva shaking her booty to Jay-Z as cameras click. Her skinny jeans work every angle.
“I accept that I’m me,” says Latifah, who co-stars with Dolly Parton in the new movie Joyful Noise, opening next Friday. Latifah, 41, unwittingly shares what she believes is the secret for her success. “I am me. I don’t have a choice! From the time I really accepted myself, everything got brighter. People were attracted to me for me.”
This girl from Newark, N.J. is the first to acknowledge how literal her makeover can be as she is made up. “You look in the mirror and go, ‘I look fly!’ I start walking differently and feel differently. When I put my heels on, it turns on.”
Always a “plus-size” â€” a term she hates â€” Latifah didn’t begin her career with the label of being model-beautiful. “There were no cover girls who looked like me when I was growing up, other than on Essence magazine,” she muses. Exploding onto the hip-hop scene before she turned 20, she was celebrated first for her rhymes, not her curves. Then her acting career took off, with TV hits such as Living Single and an Oscar nomination for playing Matron Mama Morton in Chicago.
~ Excerpts and quotes are from a USA Weekend article by Lauren Paige Kennedy
Want to be the queen or king of your brand? …accept yourself as you are, know your talents and value, then figure out how to shine and own your unique light.
BONUS: 6 Queenly tips for living the good life
1. Break bad habits:
Latifah started smoking at 14 and has “fought against it my whole life.” She has quit “several times,” sometimes for years, only to light up again. Her mantra? “Be honest. Be aware. And absolutely try again. Don’t beat yourself up.”
2. Attract love:
“You have to not seek it. You have to be it. Love yourself first. It will come to you naturally. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to be needy. Be open. And don’t judge the package it comes in.”
3. Do what you love:
“If you’re passionate about it and it’s realistic, then you have to do it. Why wait? As long you as you’re breathing, you’ve got a chance to do something different.”
4. Embrace your age:
Getting older is “a blessing. It means you’re still alive.”
5. Be realistic:
“You gotta be honest with yourself, No. 1. If you like to eat sweets at night, then you’ve got to prepare for it. You have to plan. Instead of eating the whole thing, just eat some of it.”
6. Give back:
“So many people need help. Sponsor a child instead of giving a gift, or donate to an organization on someone’s behalf. Or take your [old] clothes to the Goodwill or Salvation Army. When you give, you can’t imagine how it’s going to come back to you. It always does.”