That describes the Smart Talk lecture with Phylicia Rashad.
My friend Tracy and I had the opportunity to see Phylicia Rashad (you know....Mrs. Huxtable from the Cosby Show?) speak at Orchestra Hall as part of the Smart Talk lecture series.
First and foremost, I must tell you. Phylicia Rashad is stunning. I swear to you and all the his Holy that when I get to be her age, I hope I look half as good as she does. And I loved her trousers. Wide leg trouser pants made of free flowing fabric....heaven.
What was amazing to me was her story. Here are the highlights--that may surprise you!
- She grew up in Texas where her mother was a homemaker & published poet and her father was a dentist
- She loved adventure
- She excelled in academics--which was guided by her mother
- Her parents divorced when she was 6 (in 1954).
- She got her first taste of acting as the MC of a production when she was a young child.
- She graduated from Howard University--with honors
- She moved to New York City to pursue acting shortly after college.
- She lived at the YWCA when she first moved to New York.
- She had her first child, but divorced soon after. While pregnant with her first baby, she was offered the role of Benita in the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. She gave up that role, and her sister, Debbi Allen, got the part.
- She was the understudy for the lead role in the Broadway show, Dreamgirls. When the lead was given to someone else, she quit because, as she told the director, "I'm a leading lady." He agreed, and she was gone. (could you imagine if she stayed?)
- She was given the opportunity to audition for 3 shows. She received parts in all 3. She picked one, and was let go before it even started.
- Because she was let go--she had to collect unemployment
- She decided while in the unemployment line one day that this visit would be the last. The next day she was offered the opportunity to audition for the soap opera One Life to Live.
- Soon, another show came her way--The Cosby Show.
- She is really is fluent in Spanish!
What is amazing to me about her story is that she came from a home where her mother and father were very accomplished & affluent. Her story is not rags to riches, like you hear of so many other celebrities. She is your every day, American girl with a dream. Someone who, as she put it, always came in first in every competition or contest. While pursuing her acting, she now had to prove it--because she was amongst others who were always first.
Too often we look at celebrities and see people who always get what they want. Not Ms. Rashad! Girlfriend had to work hard to get where she was today. Not once did I get a sense of "entitlement" from her. I got a sense of hard work and dedication to her career choice and where life is taking her.
I left the lecture last night inspired. Why? Because she still loves what she does. Through all the hard times--unemployment, divorce, death of her father--she was able to keep going. Which you would hope would happen, right? But in today's economy, it's tough! As she said to us, "...there is always something good, if we take a moment to see it."
I hope you find your "something good".