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ELLE's 2023 Women in Hollywood December/January Issue

Source: Adrienne Raquel / for Elle Magazine

Fantasia Barrino Taylor, Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks have more in common than just starring in the upcoming remake of the beloved classic The Color Purple. They all have compelling success stories rooted in the Hollywood dream and the strife they’ve overcome to achieve it. And better yet, maintain it. Fantasia, Taraji and Danielle cover Elle’s Women In Hollywood December/January issue alongside Jennifer Lopez, Jodie Foster, America Ferrera, Lily Gladstone, Eva Longoria and Greta Lee.

Fantasia, The Color Purple

Fantasia, whose star we watched rise from her beginning days on American Idol, is opening up about the pitfalls she endured during her career, including going broke thanks to diabolical management and past partners. “I gigged for 20 years straight. Can you imagine being onstage just about every day the way I perform? Why is it that I ended up broke, twice, with nothing? They took it all, they took it all,” she revealed in her Elle cover story penned by Danielle James. “And I was taking care of my whole family.”

For Fantasia, life imitates art in The Color Purple. “I was out here vulnerable, thinking that every man that says they love me, loved me. I’m in abusive relationships, getting my ass whooped. I’ve been spit on. My life is so much like Celie’s,” she explained.

ELLE's 2023 Women in Hollywood December/January Issue

Source: Adrienne Raquel / for Elle Magazine

Filming The Color Purple was a career-high for Taraji. P. Henson, who brings to life Suge Avery. While discussing the film in her Elle cover story, the TPH founder reflected on what it was like being on set.

“I remember being on a set and looking around like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never seen Black people look so beautiful.’ [The director Blitz Bazawule] took such great care and he allowed us to bring what we had to it. It wasn’t about trying to reinvent the wheel or trying to do what Oprah and [the original cast] did before us. He really allowed us to just make it our own. And that’s a scary thing to do because we’ve got big shoes to fill. I just think everyone came and showed up and understood how important this piece of literature is to our culture. We brought our hearts and our souls. We just left it on the set every day on this film, everybody. It was such a beautiful moment of my career.”

ELLE's 2023 Women in Hollywood December/January Issue

Source: Adrienne Raquel / for Elle Magazine

If you didn’t have the pleasure of seeing Danielle Brooks’ scene-stealing performance in the Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple, you’re in for a treat because critics are raving about her performance in the remake. Brooks got candid about struggling with imposter syndrome in her cover story.

“It was my first Broadway show. But, it brought a lot of pressure for me. I had this imposter syndrome and did not understand how, in my first Broadway show, I’m Tony-nominated. All of these things started creeping up of, ‘I don’t deserve this.’ But getting to sing ‘Hell No,’ the song that Sofia sings every night, and say hell no to my fears, say hell no to this voice that is putting doubt [in me] and saying that I’m not worth it—really was healing for me.”

Brooks received life-changing advice from Oprah, who told her she has “everything I need within me, and that the ancestors are with me on my journey. They truly have been.” She added, “This role has called for a lot physically, mentally sacrificing, being away from my family for so long. So to know that I’m surrounded by love and support, not only from my earthly family, but from my spiritual family that have passed on—they’re with me. She reminded me that in moments where I felt like, ‘I do not know how I’m going to do this scene again.’ She was there picking up the phone, just available to me. So not only was I taught that lesson, but I also was taught to pass that on to someone as well. When it’s my time, and I’m in a position similar to hers, to make sure to give that same amount of grace, love and support that she gave me.” 

Read the Elle cover stories, here.


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Fantasia Opens Up About Going Broke And Healing Through ‘The Color Purple’  was originally published on