Conversation with . . . Jada Pinkett Smith

16 06 2009

Pinkett Smith, Jada

Married to one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and raising several children that are also in the business would make most mothers smile – but Jada Pinkett Smith is definitely not most women. Patricia Sheridan sat down with the talented actress/producer to discuss her new series, “HawthoRNe.”

She is a singer, a songwriter, a producer and an actor, but Jada Pinkett Smith is also known as the wife of actor Will Smith. A real red carpet power couple, they have something rare in Hollywood: a marriage that has lasted more than a decade — 11 years and counting.

They have a son, Jaden, 10, and a daughter, Willow, 8. Pinkett Smith’s “Matrix” movies made her a star in her own right. Pinkett Smith, 37, also produced the 2008 film “The Secret Life of Bees” and is starring in TNT’s new nursing drama “HawthoRNe,” which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. She plays Christina Hawthorne, a head nurse in a city hospital who is dealing with the death of her husband and raising a teenage daughter alone.

Did you base some of the character of Nurse Hawthorne on your grandmother or mother?

Jada Pinkett Smith: You know, my mother was an R.N. and also a single mother. I wouldn’t say I based it on either of them, but I definitely did get a lot of pointers from my mom just in dealing with the politics nurses face within the hospital and just kind of getting her advice on certain situations and asking her about certain medical terms or how you do certain things technically. My mother was really helpful in that way.

But as far as the sort of determined, strong-minded, self-confident personality of the character and you, what inspired that?

JPS: I would say for the character, the type of determination that she has is probably a version of Jada. She kind of goes over and beyond. I’m the type of person that goes over and beyond as well, but not in the way that Christina does. Christina really steps on people’s toes without consideration of what they might be dealing with or what might be happening. She’s an uber caretaker, which most of the time gets her into a lot of trouble. I would say a lot of my confidence definitely came from my upbringing with my grandmother and my mother for sure.

You said in other interviews that fathers are very important to a girl’s self-esteem. Where did you get such a strong sense of self?

JPS: I think that’s the whole beauty of having parents. It’s very important I believe, my own personal opinion, and it might differ with other people, but I believe having those two energies is really important for the balance of a human being. And, you can get it at different times in your life. I got my balance a little later in life, but ultimately the masculine and the feminine energies are energies a child definitely needs in their development.

You have a lasting Hollywood marriage with all the attention that attracts. Is there a kind of pressure to continue to be “the married couple”?

JPS: [Laughing.] No, we never have pressure to be the married couple. It’s great that people look at our marriage and see nice qualities, but at the end of the day our marriage has to be based on the needs that we have for our union and not necessarily for what it looks like. We just really focus on those needs. We have to get outside, beyond our own self-absorbed needs and ideas and really focus on the needs of each other and the needs of the union itself. There’s a lot of things that Jada would do differently if it was all just Jada [laughing]. But it’s not just about me, so that is one of the keys that Will and I learned about our relationship. It’s really funny because your partner will really compensate and recognize the things you need and fill that for you, while you are filling for him his needs, so it works out well in the dynamic that we have.

Click here to read the rest Sheridan’s interview with Pinkett Smith.

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