Actress Vivica A. Fox is definitely a grown woman. An avid believer in truthspeak, Vivica doesn’t hold her tongue when she needs to get her point across. Feisty, fabulous, and fiercely feminist, the accomplished performer, producer, entrepreneur and now author has written a motivational memoir, Everyday I’m Hustling, and it is truly an encouraging piece of insight.
In the book, Vivica lets us in on how she handled the tough times, to make it to the good times. She inspires readers to push boundaries to see just what they’re capable of doing. Vivica is a hustler; she is smart, level-headed, passionate, and has rarely taken a moment to just woosah.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Vivica’s motivation was born out of her mother’s strong work ethic. Instead of moping about the occasional lulls in her earlier career and boohooing about her once dwindling bank account, Vivica found ways to reinvent herself. She rolled up her sleeves and just kept at it which is why she landed such memorable and diversified roles in films like Independence Day, Set It Off, Kill Bill and as of late in the TV hit drama, Empire. Vivica’s grind just does not stop! “I get up to fight for my place in Hollywood,” says the fiery actress.
The “Ghetto Barbie,” a nickname given to her by her sisterfriends has come to realize that she has to be her biggest cheerleader and that the “Lord loves a scrappy girl!” She has learned to get out of her own way and to not block the blessings. Vivica dreams big, makes them happen and she works hard for her coins. Again, hard work is the operative term here and hustling is what she does every day of her life.
Vivica shares gems on how to make struggles pay off. She offers advice on beauty, business, recipes, style and even love. And yes, she does manage to dish a little about her former lover, rapper 50 Cent. Don’t get it twisted, however, she doesn’t dwell on the relationship that was entertainment news fodder some 14 years ago but lets us in on some private hurts that are probably still in need of salve every now and then.
Vivica is vivacious, the kind of ride or die sisterfriend we’d all love to have in our corner. She chatted with 50BOLD about her journey to here.
Fox: It was time for me to write a book, to share… And I’m so grateful to St. Martin’s Press. Grateful that they allowed me to write this motivational memoir. We talked about it, they listened and understood what I wanted to do with this book. The main thing that I wanted this book to be was motivating. I wanted this book to be about empowerment, enlightenment, and encouragement. So thank you for letting me know that we nailed it.
50BOLD: When did you finally realize that you had made it?
Fox: The realization of “making it” for me happened in my 40’s which is when I actually began embracing me and really looking in the mirror at myself. I would ask myself…Why am I involving myself in certain types of relationships? Why am I getting certain results? How am I contributing to my happiness? I knew the woman I really and truly wanted to become and so I had to deal with myself honestly. I had to take that hard look in the mirror.
50BOLD: You must talk about your fabulous wig collection! How did you create such a successful line?
Fox: My successful line was created because I have an excellent team! I discuss in my book all about building your dream squad, your dream team. You have got to surround yourself with people who back you up and pull for you. People who inspire you.
Like I tell everybody at the beginning of the year, write down your goals. For me, it was… I want to do this kind of movie. I want to do this kind of TV show. I see myself doing this. So with my team, I always share my vision and they say, “OK, let me see how we can make that happen.” So I surround myself with people who are on the same level. We have the same goals and they see me for me. They are honest with me.
When I started in the hair business, I will never forget there was a blog that stated…the checks stopped coming in and now, she’s selling wigs. They didn’t know I had done my homework. My business partner, Lita Richardson, who is a lawyer had done her homework too. And we found out that the hair industry was a billion dollar a year business. So Lita advised me that the hair industry would be good for me because I was doing movies, television. And it took time to accomplish this goal; it didn’t happen overnight. And now, everyone is wearing wigs! As a matter of fact, I am wearing my Whitney wig. So fast forward, the idea worked but it took time. I had to have a strong belief in myself.
50BOLD: I hate to bring up your 50 Cent relationship but with all that has been mentioned on social media, I want you to set the record straight. People seem to think that your book is all about your relationship with 50 Cent!
Fox: The book is called Every day I’m Hustling. The book is about Vivica A. Fox, it’s my book, it’s my story. 50 Cent is a part of my history, he was a part of my journey towards becoming the woman that I am. There were a lot of misconceptions floating out there about our relationship. I just wanted to make sure that now there’s clarity. I just wanted to make sure you all heard my side. I don’t want to have to go back and forth and argue with him about our relationship. I’ve always been there for him. I’ve hardly ever spoken negatively about him. The only time I did was when he was messing with my Empire family, that’s when I got him. I had to stop, however, because I realized that what I was doing was bad. But he’s somebody who has a very special place in my heart, always will….
I now have clarity about my relationship with him and I’ve been able to move on. I would never put another Black man down… I’m happy for his success and wish him happiness. But my book is my story and so you all will have clarity about the relationship. My book is a five-part motivational memoir with 19 lessons and he just happens to be a part of one lesson about relationships.
50BOLD: Ok, so the rumors and erroneous assumptions about you two ends here? Can I drop the mic on the chapter?
Fox: Absolutely, I tell readers how not to make the same mistakes I made.
50BOLD: What is your most film favorite role?
FOX: Can I give you my top five? The first one would definitely be Two Can Play That Game, which was my first starring role. It was the night I stepped out of a limousine and saw my name as the star of a film…starring Vivica A. Fox! On that night, I thought to myself…”Yes, I’ve made it!”
My role in the film Soul Food is another favorite. It was one of the first positive African American family movies and it is still a classic that can be watched time and time again!
Set It Off, oh my gosh, the film has become such a classic. At first, audiences thought they’d be laughing, and that the film would be a comedy. Instead, when they saw the film, they were surprised by it but thought it was all that and a bag of chips!
For the film Kill Bill, I trained six months for that role, worked my ass off and when I look back at it, I love that I was a kick-ass chick!
Finally, the Independence Day film was actually the one that opened doors for me and led to my having a film career.
50BOLD: Now what about a favorite TV role?
Fox: Empire is definitely my number one favorite TV role. I love being on the show. I love playing Candace because it opened me up to play a new type of character. I’m kind of like the today’s version of Diane Carroll’s role in the 80’s TV primetime soap, Dynasty when she played the bougie character, Dominique Deveraux.
50BOLD: The MeToo movement is a hot-button issue right now. You are a beautiful woman. Have you ever experienced harassment in Hollywood? You didn’t mention anything about this in the book but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. How has the movement affected you?
Fox: Well I’m definitely very supportive of the MeToo Movement. I’m glad that women who have been harassed, not only in Hollywood but in any business, now have a platform to speak up and that they’re not afraid to do so. I’ve been fortunate in my career that this hasn’t happened to me. I mean, I believe that the MeToo movement can teach both men and women that there are no real shortcuts to success. People must do the work. I believe that if someone is trying to offer you a shortcut it’s usually going to backfire.
50BOLD: Now that you’re in your 50’s, what would you tell your younger self?
Fox: I would tell my younger self that it’s OK to make mistakes. Don’t focus on what you’re doing wrong. Focus on what you’re doing right. For the longest time when I first began acting, I used to just beat myself up and look at all the things I did wrong. It’s OK to fall down but then, pick yourself back up and learn the lesson. There is always a lesson to learn and you must be open to it.
50BOLD: You mention dating in the book. Are you dating and can you offer any tips for dating after 50? Would you want to get married again?
Fox: Of course I want to date again. I mean I’m very happily single right now because I’m kind of dating myself and my career. I’m a little bit happier, to be honest with you. But yeah I’d like to meet Mr. Right again. I just tell women, in particular, to not be afraid to be alone. If you want to meet a nice guy then put yourself in situations where you will meet that type of man. Like I mention in the book, go to different places where the type of man you’re attracted to can be found. He’s not going to come knocking at your door. You’ve got to do a little bit of searching yourself, go to the right places and put yourself in the right situations.
50BOLD: You’re known for your beauty and you offer some really great tips in the book. What are some of your favorite beauty tips?
Fox: My favorite beauty tip is that you’ve got to make sure your canvas is good. And when I say this I mean, you’ve got to take care of yourself girlfriend! You’ve got to go to the spa. Get your massages, get in some workouts, take good care of yourself and more importantly take good care of your skin, hair, and spirituality—all these things help make your canvas good.
50BOLD: What is your fashion go-to item that you use all the time.
Fox: Yes, my black Céline bag. I was introduced to the world of Céline. I always like to get one good quality bag. Like with me, I know every day, I kind of always wear black and silver so my black bag works for me. But don’t get me wrong. Every once in a while I do bring it down a notch. Everything does not have to be super expensive. Honey, I can take a cheap dress and accessorize it with some hot pumps, jewelry, and hey, I make it do, what it do, okaaay!
50BOLD: What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to remember about you?
Fox: I want people to remember that Vivica A. Fox as an excellent actress who did the work. She earned all of her awards, stood up for her community, and was kind. She went very far in life but never, ever left us.