Donned in a gorgeous sequined gown with a keyhole neckline and fur on the sleeves, the 51-year-old actress is named Essence’s 2022 Black Woman in Hollywood honoree where she opened up to the magazine about her artistry and working in Hollywood, explaining that she’s often struggled in roles when her voice was ignored and she felt unprotected as an actor. “I was told what I was supposed to do, and that was very uncomfortable for me, because I’m not a robot,” she explained to the magazine. “I’m actually portraying a woman, a Black woman, a character, a story—and if I can’t have the space to make wrong choices or correct choices in the process, then it’s not worth doing.”
She then explained that she often took on roles as a simple means of survival. “I worked a lot,” she revealed. I remember coming home just tired. A lot. I missed parties. I missed friendships…I worked, and I worked, and I worked, and I worked. And it was a blessing, because I was able to help my mother buy her first condo in LA. I was able to take care of myself.”
But for Long, she truly understands the importance of having a perspective when it comes to her work, explaining that “to truly make an impact and to be true to the art, an artist needs to be heard. Because I come to the table having really studied what I’m doing, not just showing up.”
And when it comes to the best parts of her journey, the Best Man actress said that it’s the contributions she’s made to the industry. “I didn’t realize the contributions I was making as the contributions were being made, right?” she said. “The greatest part of my journey has been that I’ve been able to maintain my authenticity.”
Check out the full interview here.