Queen Latifah started rapping as a teenager and was already a famous musician before she hit the age of 20. With a long, diverse and award-winning career according to her IMDB bio — she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her turn in Chicago and won a Screen Actors Guild award in 2016 for Bessie among a slew of other honors — she’s had plenty of opportunity to reflect upon fame.
In a new interview with Glamour, Queen Latifah revealed those around her changed as she started to find some success. She also noted the loss of anonymity that accompanies being famous, meaning life is often lived under a microscope. It’s part of the double-edged sword that goes with making it in entertainment.
“If I had to think way back, losing your anonymity is one of the most difficult [things].
“You can get in clubs for free and get discounts on stuff, but you can’t experiment with things or get drunk somewhere and pass out like a normal kid at college can do because everyone wants to take a picture of you doing it. You’re trying to figure out life, but you’ve got camera lenses on you. Most people don’t have to experience life in such a microscopic way for the world to see.”
In the new Fox drama Star, Queen Latifah plays a mentor to young singers trying to make it in the business. Created by Lee Daniels, the man behind Empire, the new show has gotten mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter singled out Queen Latifah for praise, however, comparing her character to Empire’s Cookie but still staying distinct from Taraji P. Henson’s dynamic role.
Daniels, who directed Queen Latifah in the 2009 hit Precious, told the Los Angeles Times that he wrote the role of Carlotta on Star for her. The character is a working woman who has experienced some tough times. To Latifah’s delight, she’s also been required to wear some wigs — a bit of a departure from her normal hairstyles.
“I’ve been living out my fantasies with these wigs because you know you get this polished, pulled [back] hair, Queen Latifah all the time, or you go straight-up ponytail. I can’t cut my hair. When the hell will it grow back? But with these wigs I’m living my dream in a way.
“Cookie wishes she had these wigs.”
Carlotta, according to a Chicago Tribune review, is a religious woman who sings in church after abandoning her own career as a singer. Appropriate for a woman who wears many wigs, she now runs a beauty salon. The girls trying to make it as singers help out in her shop, trying to make a name for themselves in entertainment while dealing with their own challenging personal histories.
Queen Latifah uses her substantial singing talent on Star, belting out tunes she doesn’t often bring to the stage. She told the Los Angeles Times that she enjoys that aspect of the role, admitting it does bring a different side of her talent to the small screen.
“It was scary in a way. The type of songs that I’m singing in this, you don’t typically hear me sing — the gospel stuff. I sing them at home, maybe. But not like, for real, in front of people.”
While the Hollywood Reporter praised Queen Latifah for her portrayal in Star, Variety reserves its compliments for Benjamin Bratt. The actor plays the group’s manager, a man past his prime in the music business looking for another shot. The show also features guest spots for Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell.
Star returns to Fox on January 4, 2017.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]