While plenty of actresses consent to bare all for a shot at big-screen success, Halle Berry
has never been one of them. In fact, she had never doffed her duds onscreen before going topless in Swordfish
a technothriller co-starring John Travolta
and Hugh Jackman
that opens June 8. Having kept her assets hidden for so long, why is the beauty deigning to give audiences an eyeful now?
"I did it because I could," Berry declares. "So much of my life, I was afraid to, but I finally feel very adult now. With the success of my [HBO biopic, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge] and the critical acclaim that that brought me" including an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award "I finally felt like I didn't have to prove myself anymore. And I wanted to do that first."
Boldly, the actress adds: "I'm finally feeling very comfortable with my own sexuality and I think that will show in the kinds of roles that I choose from now on. I didn't always feel comfortable with myself and my own sexuality, and I do now."
What brought about Berry's sudden surge in self-esteem? "Winning the awards made me feel confident in my work," she says, "[and being] happy in my personal life, happy within myself. A lot of hard lessons I've learned in the last couple of years made me realize that this is not a dress rehearsal, this is real life. That I'm only going around once, and to get over all those fears that were limiting me and holding me down. It stifled me from doing so many wonderful projects because scripts would come across my desk, and if it had any nudity, I wouldn't even read it. So now, I'm open to all kinds of things, if [they] move me and inspire me. It's sort of freeing."
Now, Berry's hardly just lounging poolside in her movie star sunglasses, passively reading all the scripts that come her way. Inspired by her triumph with Dandridge, she's actively generating her own projects. "It's important for me to keep doing that," she smiles, "because if I sat around and waited for good, meaty parts for black women, I could miss my whole career!"