Vanessa Bell Calloway sat down with EBONY to discuss her how she built her more than 30 year-long résumé since appearing in Coming to America. The actor gave credit to her work ethic and learning the power of the word, “no.”
When asked about how she is able to still get gigs, Calloway said, “I have a good work ethic. I know how hard I work and I know I’m professional.” She revealed that early on in her career she learned “that you accept a job because you want to be there.”
“What you don’t get to do is accept a job and then get mad when you get on set and then make everybody else miserable,” the 66-year-old asserted.
Calloway used an example from her time on the set of the cult classic film starring Eddie Murphy. She wanted to play the leading lady, a role that went to Shari Headley but was cast in the role of Princess Imani.
“Even in that, I went and I made Princess Imani the best Princess Imani I could make. I didn’t have a right to come there and be a b**ch [or] mad because I could have said, ‘No, thank you.'”
Calloway is currently the star of the one-woman show, Letters from Zora, about the author Zora Neale Hurston. She also has a recurring role on Showtime’s hit series, Shameless.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.