Jada Pinkett Smith discuss her hit series “Hawthorne” and music in motown – her daughter is slated to hit the stage very soon but Jada has a few words for ya’all!
ON HER HIT MEDICAL DRAMA HAWTHORNE AND MUSIC IN MOTOWN
Most known for her roles in blockbuster films like The Matrix: Reloaded, The Matrix: Revolutions, The Nutty Professor, Set It Off and The Women, Jada Pinkett Smith has built a rather hefty portfolio as an actress, director, producer, singer, songwriter and philanthropist. Proving that great things come in small packages, the petite Hollywood heavyweight continues to challenge herself in all aspects of her career, all the while raising her children, Jaden (11) and Willow (9) with her mega star husband, Will Smith.
While on set of TNT’s hit medical drama HawthoRNe, Ambassador caught up with Jada Pinkett Smith to discuss her career, family life and fashion.
As the executive producer of HawthoRNe you also play the lead role of nurse Christina Hawthorne. How is it working on both sides of the camera?
Trying to be on camera, and at the same time, produce can be very difficult. One of the things I’ve realized since working in television is that you have to have a strong team all the way around. From cast to crew, the entire team really steps up and makes it all a little easier.
Your character Christina Hawthorne has been dubbed as a tough-as-nails workaholic, who deep down, has a heart of gold. What drew you to play this character?
I was drawn to the character because she reminded me a whole lot of my mother. My mother was a nurse, and she was a single parent. She worked as the head nurse at a women’s clinic in Baltimore, which was not such a great neighborhood at the time, and she felt responsible for every single woman who came into that clinic. She worked with great passion and would pretty much stick her neck out for any of the women who worked there.
Do you share any similarities with the character?
I’m definitely a person who likes to try to help people and fix problems. It’s very hard for me to hear that somebody is having a hard time with something and not do anything about it. I think that’s how Christina is.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about the medical field since working on the set of HawthoRNe?
I have learned that it’s a very serious job. You are constantly dealing with life and death situations. Patients walk in with a willingness to put their life in another person’s hands, and as a nurse or doctor, you have to be extremely competent.
In addition to being a wife, mother, producer, and actress, you also added musician to your résumé. What motivated you to pursue music?
I have always had a love for music, always, always, and always. I probably started to pursue it a little late in life. But it was always a passion of mine. I had always been too afraid to venture into music, but I decided when I was about 30 to just go for it. I started a metal band called Wicked Wisdom. I toured and I loved it. But soon after, my kids’ careers started taking off, so I sacrificed it. I am pleased to say my daughter, Willow, will be putting out an album soon and I look forward to enjoying music through her creations. So I am excited about that, and she’s pretty awesome. She will be better at it then I ever could be anyway! (Laughs)
Who are your favorite music artists?
I love a wide range of music, from Metal to R and B to Classical and Jazz. I love everything, and I can even get down to some country music!
Who is your favorite Motown musician?
Oh I would have to say Marvin Gaye! Marvin was just a classic artist. His voice is legendary.
Along with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, you and your husband are the producers of the Broadway musical Fela!, a provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical theatre. How did you get involved with the show?
Fela Anikulapo–Kuti is a musician who I have been quite passionate about since my teenage years. I have admired him greatly and I thought this was a great opportunity to bring his story and his music to another venue. When the opportunity presented itself, Will and I just jumped right on it. The show is just a fabulous production all the way around and really gives African Americans another opportunity to celebrate our culture.
Your son Jaden has quite the acting career and recently starred in the movie The Karate Kid (2010). What was your experience like executive producing the film and working with your son?
That experience was quite unique, and that was probably one of the most difficult projects I have worked on because this was my son’s first starring role, and it was for such a classic movie. He was working in China away from his friends and family. Even though we brought family out there from time to time, it was still long hours. Not only did he have to shoot but he also had to practice during lunchtime and weekends. He really had no downtime for about four months. It wasn’t an easy thing to do or to watch. But the reward is knowing that he is so proud of the product. As a parent, it was amazing to see my child understand the fruits of hard work, and he sees that from what was produced just with his own talents. I also think that this was really the first time Will and I worked together at that capacity on such a project like The Karate Kid (2010). Like I said, it was hard, but I’m really proud of the product we were able to create as a family. I’m extremely proud, and I’m sure we will be doing a lot more of that.
What are your thoughts on your children’s blossoming careers in film and music? How do you keep them grounded?
It’s not about me keeping them grounded. It’s just in how we live our life. Really, we are regular folks. It just so happens that our family is in the entertainment business; that’s really the only difference from the majority of the people they meet.
Between your incredible work schedule and raising a family, how do you find balance in your life?
Just remembering to take time out for myself and to take time out to do the things that I really love. And just remembering that acting and producing is a business, and it’s not my whole life. So that really keeps me balanced.
You are often mentioned among the names of Hollywood’s best dressed. Who is your style icon?
I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. I just think she was really clean and classic. I think it’s just that the classic look is never outdated.
How do you stay in such great shape?
Just my diet, I try to put foods in my body that are energy foods. I don’t really eat for taste anymore. I eat for what my body needs to function. Diet is everything. If you keep a good diet, you would be surprised by the results; you could probably stay out of the gym for a year!
What is the one thing you could not live without?
You know I would have to say I’m not one who’s attached to things or possessions. Just give me my family. If I have my family, I will be just fine. – Rian English