We all know singer/actress Mary J. Blige is one to be always glammed up from head-to-toe. And can we blame her? She is absolutely fab!
But when cast for the role of Florence Jackson in the Netflix film Mudbound, released in November, she had to step out of her comfort zone — and bare all of her natural features.
The role is a true test of her vulnerability and who she is as an actress and individual. “Seriously, I had to leave a lot of myself behind, a lot of Mary J. Blige, behind. A lot of wigs, a lot of lashes, a lot of makeup, a lot of nails, you know the whole thing,” Mary J. Blige said in her acceptance speech for the Breakthrough Performance Award at the 29th Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in California on Tuesday evening.
Mudbound portrays two Mississippi families — one Black, one white — confront the brutal realities of prejudice, farming and friendship in a divided World War II era. In the role of Florence Jackson, Mary J. Blige embodied a troubled matriarch living in Mississippi Delta poverty before and after World War II.
With a lot of the relationship drama, false accusations and emotional pain caused by soon-to-be ex-husband Kendu Issacs, the role of “playing Florence was so therapeutic for me and I poured a lot of my personal pain into her. And she healed me. She healed parts of me that I didn’t even realize were broken,” the actress said at the film festival. “[It] was a heavy experience for me. But I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to walk through this strong woman’s shoes,” Mary said.