Queen Latifah has learned from her mistakes. In the January issue of Good Housekeeping, the 43-year-old actress recalls using alcohol in the past to ease her pain after tragedy. She now says she focuses on “accentuating the positive” in her life.
Though she appears joyful on the cover, wearing a bright red dress and a big smile, Latifah opens up to the magazine about some of her darkest moments.
In 1995, the talk show host was the victim of a violent carjacking in which her passenger friend was shot and nearly died. Latifah said she didn’t cope with the shock of the incident well. “Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself,” she recalled. “Every day I would be faded, like a painting that’s just not vibrant, whose edges are dull. I wasn’t living my full life.”
The Grammy-winning singer’s life was also “rocked to to the core” when her older brother, Lancelot Jr., was killed in a crash in 1992. The accident occurred while he was riding the motorcycle Latifah gave him as a gift. Rather than swear off riding, Latifah got back on her motorcycle about a month after the tragic loss. “Riding was one of the things Lance and I did together a lot,” she explained. “I had to get back on. It was like a [healing] potion.”
Latifah has consistently worked hard throughout her life and career to focus on the positive.
“I think I got to that place by not being happy with the other side — hating your body and criticizing yourself all the time. When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself. And I decided to love myself,” Latifah said. “That changed a lot of things.”
She also fought to make it in Hollywood without changing her appearance.
“For a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do in life, I haven’t looked typical,” the Joyful Noise star said. “I was not born a size 2. I’m not skinny, period. I’m not willing to sleep with the director or step on somebody else’s neck to get the job.”