Regina Hall got a great write up in the New York Times Magazine recently. Regina has been working steadily since the early 90s but she’s just been reintroduced to the younger generation with her TV work on Black-ish and Insecure and her movies like Girls Trip and Support the Girls. Regina is currently starring with Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells on Showtime’s Black Monday. Although Regina has firmly cemented her place in Hollywood, she almost took a very different path – to the nunnery. But, much like Hollywood, she’d aged out before she got her shot.
On Hollywood’s fickleness: “Girls Trip” made a lot of money, which matters, and then the critics were so responsive to “Support the Girls.” It’s weird. I’ve always had steady work, but I guess there are lists in Hollywood. I was on the top of one before; now I’m on the bottom of a more difficult one.
On not being given the same shot as white actresses: There are certain films with predominantly black casts. The list of who’s considered for parts in those is a whole different one than the list of who’s considered for films with roles that could be played by anybody. I remember there was a script that I read that I loved, and my agent told me, “They went after Amy Adams, and she’s not doing it.” And I said, “I’ll do it!” And he was like, “They love you, but they’re going to Natalie Portman.” “Oh, right.” There’s always another.
On whether Tiffany Haddish was telling the truth about Sanaa Lathan biting Beyoncé: Let me tell you something: I could tap your leg with my foot and Tiffany would retell it as me kicking you. She’s a comedian. She can make a story, know what I mean? That whole thing took on a life of its own.
On wanting to become a nun: That was eight years ago. And I wanted to be a nun when I was a little girl too.
I never thought about walking away from anything. I thought of walking to something. Think of Mother Teresa. I’m not like, “Oh, Mother Teresa never got to have sex.” When I was thinking about becoming a nun, I had gone through a breakup. I wasn’t having sex anyway. I thought being a nun would be peaceful.
On being too old to be a nun: Yeah, the group I was interested in had an age limit for joining. There were a couple things in my way. I could’ve lied about them, but I didn’t want to start off as a nun like that.
Regina said in the interview that she wasn’t Catholic but went to Catholic schools so I wonder if the order she was considering was Catholic or not. I’m getting tripped up on an order having an age-limit. Perhaps someone who knows much more than me could explain the reasoning for that. As for Regina’s reasoning, I totally get it, it really does seem like it would be so peaceful. I couldn’t begin to entertain the idea when I was young, but I fantasize about it all the time now. Although, I was an Episcopalian, so I was jumping to conclusions that our nuns relaxed the rules as much as the rest of our religion.
I found her comments about the “lists” interesting, mainly because she describes how hard it is for a WOC in the industry so well. I mean, I accept that white actresses have challenges they face and I’m sure they are very frustrating. However, if a white actress wants us seriously their tale of how hard they worked seriously, they must, in some way, acknowledge that they started on the First List. Whereas women as talented as Regina work just as hard only to have to start over. I hope that changes. I hope we all support measures to make that change, with what we watch and spend our movie dollars on. And I hope Regina finds peace without taking vows, because I’d miss her.
Photo credit: WENN/Avalon
I’m happy to hear more about Regina’s journey as an actor, I wish that Woc could receive the attention they deserve in the industry.
There are a number of nuns in my family. None of their orders has an age limit that I know. There are new nuns who join in their thirties, forties and fifties. So I don’t know what order Regina was interested in, but age is not usually a problem – especially since in most orders women in their sixties are the “younger ones”.
I get the nun thing. I thought about it in my teen years, and 20 years later I sometimes daydream about the idea- there’s a small cloistered nunnery near me, it’s this cute little cottage with a very small number of community members. No one ever sees them. it does seem peaceful, and I have an idealistic idea of what it would be to be a cloistered nun there with a little garden to work in, and a retreat from the world. In reality though, I would find the waking up at 5 am to pray every day to be brutal, and I’m afraid I’d have some kind of mental breakdown if I was in a prolonged place where I was physically unable to leave without permission. I like that she talked about the daydream of it, though. I think a lot of women, Catholic or not, think about it at least once in there life. There’s something very romantic in the idea of being sheltered from the world and being a lover of Jesus.
As someone who went to an all girl RC school run by Nuns for thirteen years, peaceful isn’t a word I’d use to describe any of the dozens I’ve met.
Okay, so the age limit for some Orders is a thing, yes. A reason for this is that most Orders are working orders – meaning they work to provide a service or care for a community or cause. At sixty, how much longer are you going to be able to work/serve? When you retire from a religious order, they continue to take care of you. There are entire retirement communities set up for religious orders to retire to, and your medical needs are covered, etc. That is a huge financial investment on the part of that Order and it is not feasible to have people in their twilight years join, only to promptly retire. So… yeah, there’s an age limit for SOME Orders. Not all.
Yes, like Regina I once considered this. There is an age limit to ENTER for many of the Catholic orders. At the time (the 90’s) the maximum age limit to enter most of them was around 45 years old. What I also found out is that some would take woman who were divorced or who had children you just couldn’t have the responsibility of raising the children when applied to enter the Order. I met a woman who was just waiting for her son to finish school so that she could enter and there were many middle aged women who joined but again yes there was an age limit to most of them. There was also big cluster retreats where around 10 to 20 different Orders would get together and try to recruit. They would hand out information which also listed the age limit so that’s how I know at the time many did have a cutoff. It’s quite similar to anything else, if you really want to enter and that Order has an age limit women just keep researching until they find an Order that has what they’re looking for (no age limit, keep most of your own money etct.) and then they join.
Thanks – this is explains it.
I thought about becoming a nun. I totally understand what she meant! I went to two retreats for a week each (at different points in my life, the last one being 4 years ago) to see if it was for me. There is a huge draw to that lifestyle of peace, servitude, and prayer. But in the end, I really couldn’t part with the idea that I wouldn’t be able to have kids and a husband. And when I measured that against the things that drew me towards wanting to join a convent, I realized I just truly deeply would like to become a mother and wife more than anything. That’s why I went back again the second time a few years later. I wanted to make sure. I think about being a mother on a daily basis. Deep down, my desire for that is bigger. Even though I am and have been pretty single, I couldn’t bring myself to give up the CHANCE that I could meet someone and have a family. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, to be honest.
Regarding that casting situation she described:
If that movie she was interested in went from casting Amy Adams to Natalie Portman it must have been one bland movie! Bahaha….
I don’t have anything against Amy Adams, but I don’t know what it is, I just cannot muster up any excitement to see her in anything. Like, if she never makes movies again, still wouldn’t care. I think I’ve only seen her in one movie and it was an ensemble movie. She doesn’t inspire anticipation. Natalie Portman is lucky she started out young in the industry, giving her history and an edge with being known to some degree because I think she is boring and extremely overrated. Her acting is meh at best. Amy Adams is a much better actress and she still makes me snooze. Natalie Portman puts me in a coma. Regina Hall could best them any day–and it has everything to do with the combination of charisma and acting chops on-screen. Take Julia Roberts for example. Is she technically the best actress ever? No. Easily, Nicole Kidman and a few other of her peers are technically better actors. However, does she have a ton of personality and charisma on the screen (and off), making the audience anticipate watching her? Sure thing! In order not to be perceived by the audience as “meh”, you have to have 40% skill and 60% personality and charisma. If you don’t have that full 60%, you are always going to be a snooze.
I love Regina, I hope she continues to have a long career so we can all enjoy everything she does!
I was raised by nuns. There was something peaceful about their order. But yet something strong and fierce. Because of them, I am the woman I am today. I am a doctor because they encouraged me. And yes, some orders have a limit to what age you can join. I was told that part of it was because some are working orders, but it’s also because as you get older, you become more set it your ways and the transition to communal life becomes more difficult.