Though she’s the daughter of two of Hollywood’s most prominent stars, Zoe Kravitz reveals to fans that she has a mind of her own while rising above the standard of the film industry for young Black actresses.
“That’s actually what keeps me going, representing all of the girls who aren’t being represented,” she said to “I-D.”
Kravitz, 26, shared how she felt growing up as the child of famous parents — musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonét — and the mundane feeling of being Black matriculating through a predominantly white school.
“It’s been a journey for me to be comfortable in my own skin,” she reflected to I-D. “Growing up, everyone feels awkward. You feel different, that there’s something’s wrong with you. You’re not tall enough or blonde enough or skinny enough.”
It was perhaps this feeling of inadequacy that led to her develop an eating disorder during her teenage years.
Since unrealistic self-images consume today’s Hollywood, viewers often develop a false sense of reality. Kravitz explained that it’s not uncommon for someone in the industry to gain a false sense of identity to fit into “Hollywood’s standard.” For Black actors/actresses, the task is more difficult.
For years, Blacks have received unfair treatment in the film industry, as they were often only given demeaning and stereotypical roles such as mammies, servants, Uncle Toms and satirical “coon” roles. Black stars such as Spike Lee have begun to address the racism issue. Lee recently boycotted the 88th Academy Awards along with director Michael Moore, George Clooney and Jada Pinkett Smith.
According to the “Horns News,” Lee suggested a boycott because there hasn’t been a single Black actor or actress nominated for an Oscar in the past two years. Lee deemed this a systematic form of racism within a Hollywood that favors non-Blacks.
Kravitz expressed to “I-D” how she’s selective in choosing roles that portray her brand in a positive light. She has a plethora of small indie movies attached to her name, such as “X-Men: First Class,” the “Divergent” series, last year’s “Dope,” and George Miller’s epic remake of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” in which she played one of Immortan Joe’s captive wives.
She refuses roles that revolve around her race; she won’t settle for being the main girl’s best friend or the token Black girl, which is what made her role of Chloe in “The Brave One,” so significant, as it was originally written for a white Russian girl.
She recalled not getting an audition for a small part in “The Dark Knight Rises,” because she was deemed too “urban.”
“It’s upsetting,” she explained. “There’s so much racism in the world. It’s kind of interesting, though. I’m sure there are lots of young, Black women who interview for a job but don’t get it because of the color of their skin, but they’ll never know why. Within the entertainment industry people are just brutally honest. Women in film always end up as accessories to men, especially with men directing it. You never see a full, thought out character that isn’t just a vagina.”
Kravitz said she has made a conscious decision to accept herself.
“I just got so tired of the self hatred, of comparing myself to something that I’m not, something that I don’t even want to be,” she said. “I’m not here to be the best or the coolest or the prettiest. I’m just here.”