Monday, September 22, 2008
Earlier this month, journalist Jawn Murray interviewed the newly engaged 27-year-old at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Canada where she was doing promotional work for her forthcoming film, 'The Secret Life of Bees.' [Comes out Oct. 17]
In part-one of this exclusive interview, the still-humble star talks candidly about seeing her 'dreams' come true and her excitement about finally releasing her debut self-titled CD.
Does this all still feel like a dream?
It feels like a dream! It hasn't slowed down since the moment I got the call saying, 'Jennifer, you're Effie White.' Every day it's another surprise and something else. Is this really my life? When you're this blessed, you can't help but to think that everybody says, 'all good things come to an end,' but it's not gonna end yet is it? At the same time I like to try to enjoy every single thing and every single moment because I don't take it lightly and it could have easily been someone else. But it's me! It's like I have to appreciate these things. It's a blessing.
What aspect of it do you appreciate the most?
I love it all! Is that greedy? I don't know what I love the most.
So many veteran artists like Shirley Murdock, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin really love and appreciate what you do. How does that make you feel?
It's been an unbelievable blessing because when I met Whitney Houston she was like, 'Oh my God, you're the one.' This is Whitney and I couldn't even move. She was sitting there cheering me on. Aretha and I sat down and had lunch together. I'm doing a tribute to Patti and Gladys Knight and all of them see me as their baby. If you get it from them, what else do you need? That's just an honor because I looked up and still look up to all of them.
You are conquering music and acting. What else would you like to do?
I really want to get back into writing music. That's my next goal. I'm also into photography now. I love taking photos and I love taking photos. I love being in front and behind the camera.
The big girls love that you represent them well. How does it feel to be a poster-child for full-figured women?
I always wanted to be that person. It's like, wait a minute...every time I would look at the TV and the big girl never 'makes it' I don't think it was that nobody wanted to receive them, but they weren't backed up the right way or maybe they didn't even believe in themselves the right way. I was like, somebody needs to come out and represent them the right way. I don't mind being that person at all! I love it!
Both Queen Latifah and Jill Scott have clothing lines geared towards the plus-sized woman. Is that something you've considered?
I am about to launch my own fashion line and we're in the early, early stages of it. It was just presented to me so we're definitely going to come out with that because I want the skinny girl trying to be the big girl.
You really haven't changed Jennifer! Are people surprised by how normal and how friendly you are when they meet you?
People are very surprised at how normal I am. Every time I get on the plane and the flight attendant is like, 'you're so nice. You're not like any of the other celebrities.' I wonder what do they do and how are you supposed to be. To me, this is my job just like anyone else's job is their job. I like being normal and I've been normal for so long that it's hard to be anything else and I don't want to be.
I know you have to have an Oprah Winfrey story. Everyone who has met her or been on her show does. Tell me yours.
I've been on her show about three times now and she was always like, 'you can come anytime that you want.' Nobody takes people up on those offers unless they want something. I saw her recently because her show is not too far from my house in Chicago . I wanted to see Oprah and say hello. It's not too many people in the industry who do that. She thought it was something wrong with me so she asked me if I was okay and if I needed any money. I told her I just wanted to come say hello and see how she was doing. I forgot when that was, but it wasn't that long ago. I just wanted to stop in and see how she was doing. She's definitely a huge supporter and somebody that I clearly admire.
Stay tuned for part two of Jawn's exclusive interview with Jennifer Hudson where she talks about working on 'The Secret Life of Bees,' the major award that she can't find and the day she got called the n-word! Check out AOL Black Voices.