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What about lashes?: Mary J. Blige talks vanity and self-acceptance


Carrie Mae WeemsMary J. Blige says that she “didn’t realize how vain” she was until filming the role of Florence Jackson in Dee Rees‘ upcoming Netflix drama, Mudbound

In conversation with MacArthur Fellowship awarded artist Carrie Mae Weems for W magazine, Mary says, “Once I saw how my character, Florence, lived [in a shack on a farm in Mississippi], I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really a vain person.'” 

She continues, “When I went to the movie set to do the first day of fittings, I was Mary J. Blige: I had just done a tour and a show, so I was all, you know, I had wigs and weaves and all sorts of things going on, and Dee Rees was like, ‘No! We want to see you. You can’t have a perm, you’re going to have minimal, minimal makeup.'” 

I was like, ‘What about lashes?’ And she said no, and I was like, ‘Really? Florence doesn’t have lashes?'” 

“That part was a lot! A lot!” 

Still, Mary tackled the role, and having to do without wearing false lashes, for Rees’ film, adding that playing Florence gave her “a little more confidence” and “liberated” her. 

The “Thick of It” singer also tells Weems that she’s currently going through an “ongoing process” of self-acceptance since filing for divorce from estranged husband, Kendu Isaacs

“Every single day I’m working on that, and it’s been hard ever since this challenge I’m having with this divorce. It was such a terrible thing.” 

She says, “It was like, I can’t stay, but it really let me see, Mary, you are better than that. You have to continue to grow.” 

Mudbound makes it debut on Netflix November 17. 

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