Saturday, July 15, 2017

Halle Berry On Taking Risks & Getting Paid What You're Worth

FORBES: I was excited to interview actress, producer, philanthropist and mother Halle Berry when IPG brought her to the Girls' Lounge Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. She has won numerous awards, from an Academy Award for Best Actress for Monster’s Ball (to date she is the only black woman to have won this award) to a Golden Globe Award for Their Eyes Were Watching God to a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

I knew she was a very talented actress but what really struck me when sitting down with her was how much she is a leader who wants to activate change for women. Her passion was completely transparent, and she shared many lessons that can be applied to the issues women often face when trying to rise up in the messy middle, from advice on mothering to asking for equal pay to how to make your voice heard. You can watch the Facebook Live video to listen to all of her smart insights. Here are some highlights:

On How To Know When It’s Okay to Ask and Fight For Equal Pay:
"I think when you believe you’re worth it, that’s when you’ll fight for it…When you know that the work you’re providing is worth more than they’re willing to pay you, then you’ll ask for it. That’s when you’ll be willing to walk away from it if they say no. But you have to be willing to walk away...We have to own our worth and know our worth."

On Authenticity and Taking Risks:
"When [Monster’s Ball] came to me, I thought, okay, I’m getting no money to do this movie and it could either catapult my career or it could end it instantly. The sexual component to that movie was so risky and…I was so worried about being exploited and having people feel like I was being exploited, but at the end of the day, at my soul, I’m an artist.

I connected to that character and to that woman’s struggle and that interracial relationship, which is so much a part of who I am, being of a white mother and a black father, that it kept calling me to tell that story, to put some light on that dark subject…I risked that this is the end of my career but this is how I’d want to go out, doing something that I believed in wholeheartedly.

Then the opposite actually happened. That just confirmed to me that life is about being authentic and doing what we believe in and not worrying about the outcome. If you’re doing something for the right reasons, then that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do and you have to have a knowingness about this. It’s largely why I’m sitting here…and why I’m able to influence people at all is because of those risks."

On Advice She Gives Her Daughter:
"She’ll ask me sometimes, “Mommy, should I do this?” I’ll say, “Check in with you. Do you want to do that? Does it make sense for you?”"

On Being A Change Agent:
"It’s about daring to do the right thing and daring to live awake. I think many people are not living in an awake way…We have to use our power for good and start being change agents. We have to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk…What little thing have you done to start moving the energy in that direction?"

On Vulnerability:
I’m here at Cannes Lions and this is the first time I’ve ever been here…and I worry…am I asking the right questions and am I getting out of it what I came here for?...I also tell myself, “You’re here to learn, and so what if you don’t know? Ask the questions! That is what life is…find out while you’re here!”

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