Performing in four Broadway shows, appearing in 68 movies, and over 450 episodic television shows, while touring in concerts all over the world.
The St. Louis Native and Kinloch-bred actress didn’t hold back in discussing life in this interview. Jenifer Lewis talked about growing up in Kinloch and how she grew up with bipolar disorder “It worked for me and it worked against me. The mania served me on stage, but the depression rarely served me. So yes I have given up many times in my career and life. But I didn’t quit and that’s why I am where I am today.”
When asked about the two books she published Jenifer stated “My first book, ‘The Mother of Black Hollywood’. I gave all my secrets. I have no secrets.
That’s why I go where I want, I do what I want, and say what I want. I’m free. My 2nd book is titled ‘Walking In My Joy In These Streets’ and it’s just that. It’s about coming through the rage and challenges of life you have to go through. It’s the only way to learn. There are no shortcuts to greatness. and greatness is telling the truth. happiness and wholeness will not exist for you unless you tell the truth.”
Jenifer is now working on her 3rd book. She is currently throwing ideas around in her head but she will confess more things that she hasn’t shared with the world. I asked Ms. Lewis how she felt after receiving her star on the Hollywood walk of fame. “That was just fantastic. It was a perfect day. All my family and friends were there. It was a delicious day.”
One of Jenifer’s greatest challenges is that the industry changed. “It went from a person that must have talent to becoming able to just sleep with someone and then you’re famous. The world that I wanted to be a star in doesn’t exist anymore.
You had to be the best back then there was a code of standard. Now all you have to do is do your brows and lashes and take a selfie. That’s what the world has come to.”
Jenifer Lewis’s greatest accomplishment is when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because she went and took care of herself. And now she can enjoy the fruits of her labor without being manic or depressed.
When asked when it’s all said and done and she is long gone from this earth, what is it that she wants the people to know about her? She simply stated. “That I cared. and I did something about it. I got to do what I love to do. and I did it well.“