It's so weird to turn on a switch and be the role model for all women, for all African-Americans. That doesn't happen that easily. It just doesn't. And so I don't act up in public and I don't do anything weird - because my sisters are watching me, not because the world is watching me.
I've grown up with girls that are like Precious. I've grown up with people that are like everyone that I read about in that book. And so years later, when I was given the role, I just felt a huge responsibility to show the reality of that situation and to show that we're not making it up.
One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn't have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.
One of my favorite - well, my favorite, favorite, absolute favorite event to go to is Alfre Woodard has a party that I call the blacktress party. It's, like, black actresses that either have been nominated for an Oscar or should have been, and it sort of is just a night where we all get in a room and we get to celebrate each other.
Well, I'm certainly glad that I was nominated for an Oscar. There is certainly a respect that comes with that nod. Also, a compliment that comes with it, too. Not that I really know what I'm doing. In a lot of ways I feel like some child on set, or like a kid that snuck in the back door.
I certainly used to wish that I was skinny, lighter-skinned, with long, pretty hair. But only because I used to get made fun of for being the absolute opposite. I didn't see all of that stuff as the American Dream. I just wanted to look normal. Now that I'm older, I really do feel like I am a beautiful girl.