Mary J. Blige has only just realized she is “vain.”
The 46-year-old star went make-up free for her role as beleaguered matriarch Florence Jackson in Mudbound and she admitted it wasn’t “easy” for her to dramatically change her appearance.
Speaking as she accepted the Breakthrough Performance Award at the 9th Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in California on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, she said, “Playing Florence was a heavy experience for me. But I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to walk through this strong woman’s shoes.
“It wasn’t easy at first to find this character because I didn’t realize how vain I was until I had to play a character like Florence.
“Seriously I had to leave a lot of myself behind, a lot of Mary J. Blige behind. A lot of wigs, a lot of lashes, a lot of makeup, a lot of nails, you know the whole thing.”
Last year, Mary split from her husband Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, and working on the movie helped her cope with her heartbreak.
She added, “Playing Florence was so therapeutic for me and I poured a lot of my personal pain into her. And she healed me. She healed parts of me that I didn’t even realize were broken.
“So connecting with her was a blessing for me personally. I know she was aside me the whole time because my whole family is Southern. And when were kids, my mom would send us to Georgia in the summers. My grandmother and my aunts are this woman, Florence.
“They’re strong and they knew how to move their husbands without saying a word. She was in my DNA so I knew I walk like a Southern woman, speak like a Southern woman. I guess I am a Southern woman at heart.
“I know being a part of ‘Mudbound’ changed my life and I think the story that it tells can change other lives. There’s a negativity in the world right now. So we need more films like this to remind us that we are all connected and that history is truly shared.”