Photo: from personal archive
I had the opportunity to talk to Whoopi Goldberg and sit next to her while she shared behind-the-scenes secrets of working on The Color Purple. Let me tell you how it happened.
It was in 2012 when I was on a promotional trip with UK songstress Rebecca Ferguson. We were preparing for a performance on "The View" with a full band.
While getting ready backstage, I heard that Whoopi Goldberg were about to get their makeup done. Normally I prefer to do my own makeup. However, on this particular day, I decided to have my makeup done by a professional. As I sat in the makeup room, Whoopi Goldberg entered and sat beside me.
I noticed that Whoopi Goldberg doesn't wear a lot of makeup, just a little light powder. As she had her makeup done, I was struck by how surreal the moment was. She shared never before heard secrets about how Steven Spielberg directed The Color Purple. It amazed me how young she was and how new everything was for her during the filming of the movie.
What stood out to me was that she never mentioned lacking confidence. It seemed natural for her to play the role in The Color Purple. While most of what she shared in that room disappeared behind the surrealism of the moment, I couldn't help but admire her authenticity and fearlessness.
Whoopi Goldberg has always been fiercely herself and has never tried to conform to Hollywood's beauty standards. She has said that she doesn't want eyebrows and shaves them off, yet she continues to be booked and cast in various projects. She holds a senior position on The View. I respect the space she has created for herself and her refusal to conform.
Being 100% yourself and having the courage to look the way you want takes a lot of confidence. Whoopi Goldberg's example shows that integrity is more important than conforming to societal expectations. It takes strength of mind to cast aside those expectations and say, "I will not conform to Hollywood's beauty standards in order to be cast for jobs."
This brings me to an important point about confidence. It requires detaching from other people's opinions and unhooking from how they see you. As a powerful public speaker or communicator, your confidence relies on not letting others' opinions have power over your sense of self. This is what creates icons and legends.
To have the freedom to speak your truth without editing or filtering, even if it polarizes your audience, requires being okay with people unsubscribing or unfollowing you. It's about attracting the people who resonate with your message and standing firm in your beliefs. Confidence comes from within, not from seeking approval or agreement from others.
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