How does a 17 year-old with one credit as an extra end up in the audition room for the lead of one of the most seminal movies of its decade? And perhaps more importantly, how does an introspective not highly social student deal with the surreal experience of having her privacy go away overnight? For Jennifer Beals, feeling like a equal opportunity outsider due to her mixed race and the one-two punch of losing her dad and discovering her family was shockingly poor at age 9 may have provided the best if uninvited coping mechanisms. As humble as she is beautiful, the actress who said she would never make it on So You Think You Can Dance? shares the blow by blow experience of her Flashdance audition, which was the breakthrough role she came very close to turning down. She also talks about dealing with the boys club that was Hollywood filmmaking in the 80s and returning to school at Yale immediately afterward. Given that she has continued to take on roles portraying strong independent women and often using them to integrate acting with activism, it’s surprising to learn that she’s often happiest retreating back to the rich solitary realm of her imagination. But when she tastes a role she wants watch out, she’s ready to come out swinging. Talking to Jennifer Beals is inspiring in so many ways but perhaps most so because after decades of work in what could be a challenging business and tough for women in particular, she still feels joy at the the thrill of jumping in. So pick up a chair and listen in.
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