Alfre Woodard, 2014


MIRROR, MIRROR: Truth be told, Alfre Woodard knew Badgley Mischka before she met Mark Badgley and James Mischka. Sizing herself up as “ample at the top, and not tall,” the Oscar-nominated actress said she started wearing the label years ago. “Whenever you are out and about for eight to 10 hours at events, you want to feel at your best,” she said before the lights went down at Tuesday morning’s runway show.

The film, stage and TV actress got to know the design duo through the equestrian circuit, where her daughter and Badgley compete. “My daughter is an equestrian, so I have watched Mark ride. I didn’t even go introduce myself. I was already wearing their clothes. I thought, ‘Oh my God, there he is with the horse,'” she said.

In regards to her own pursuits, Woodard is shooting the second season of the Netflix series “Luke Cage” and her latest movie “So B. It” premieres early next month. The independent film also features Talitha Bateman in the lead role. As for the role the arts play in helping with race relations, Woodard said, “Well, not just race. What art does, the creation of it, the exploration of it, the sharing and the beauty of it is that it changes the human being. It refines us as human beings and it refines us collectively. We’re the only animals that can create so what it does is bring us into our natural air of reaching for an ideal. We get to think about it. It’s a thing that’s civilizing.”

She continued, “Not only do artists have the possibilities of doing those things, they have the great responsibility, the joyous responsibility, of holding up the mirror to society so that the tribe, the society, can see itself and reflect, understand and move toward a more perfect union. In our perspective, you’re not doing your job as an artist whether you are blowing glass, creating clothes for people to live and express themselves in, creating a symphony or telling a story, you haven’t finished your work or haven’t really begun it until you care about and act for the people you are creating for.”

As for what people need to do in their everyday lives beyond discussing race relations, Woodard said, “It needs to not be theoretical. Nobody is going to say, ‘Do you hate other people because of the way they look, because of the way they pray or who they love?’ Most thinking people say, ‘Oh, I’m OK with it.’ But they don’t know the insidious ways it sneaks in. Like on the elevator just when people get on, your mind goes, ‘Hold your purse.’ When you stop and ask yourself, ‘Why am I assuming that?’ You do the work on yourself. It is not in big ways; it is in small ways because what we want to distinguish is that it’s in all of us. That’s like saying, ‘I don’t breathe the bad air.’ If you’re a human being, the air is there. It’s what you do about it to counter it that makes you an effective and good person.”

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