*From “Facts of Life” to “Living Single,” Kim Fields opens up about the highs and lows in her life and avoiding the “child-star curse” in her new memoir: “Blessed Life: My Surprising Journey of Joy, Tears, and Tales From Harlem to Hollywood.”
“At this point, celebrating 40 years in the industry, it felt very much like a milestone. Not at all that I’m ready to be done, but just a ‘Let’s look back on some things, and let’s talk about some things that we haven’t talked about.’ So, it felt like a time to look at God’s highlight reel when it comes to me,” Fields says.
On her moments of self-discovery while writing the book, she adds:
“What did I learn? Sometimes when you look back over a long stretch of your life, you look to see are there any patterns, are there any things I want to do better for the next set of decades? Different experiences taught me that I’m far more resilient when I look back in hindsight. It’s not because I’m strong, but God’s strength in me and his power in me.”
Fields credits her mother’s advice as one of her sources of direction.
“The truth of the matter is, I made sure that I learned my craft because I didn’t want to be a has-been at 17. A gem of wisdom I share in the book, and my mom shared with me at my first audition. I was very intimidated. I was at an audition for Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and I didn’t think I belonged there,” she recalls. “Janet Jackson was there and I just felt like, ‘Oh my God. What am I doing here?’ Mom took me to the bathroom and she said, ‘Never let anything or anyone intimidate you, even yourself.’ I use that to this very day.”
Fields chopped it up with The Root about her career ambitions, “Living Single,” and more…below are excerpts from the interview.
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On seeing the impact her career has had on fans:
I had one person on social media who told me that they learned so much about themselves reading this book. I think one of the biggest compliments though is people who know me have said, “I thought I knew you,” or “I didn’t know this about you,” or “I still learn something about you”—and my manager who’s known me for decades says that. Those are the touching things when people have told me that because of my transparency in dealing with really difficult and challenging times in my life that they have connected or reconnected in a different way, spiritually, in their faith.
On how she learned to get out of her own way:
There are times we try to act like, oh, we’re in our 30s and 40s and we’ve conquered insecurity, or we’re comfortable in our skin. That’s a crock. You might have that an hour a month, and the rest of the time, you’re actually working on that along with everything else. Whenever I have a big meeting, a red carpet, and I’m feeling a little insecure and not as confident and as comfortable in my own skin, I remember my mom saying, “Don’t let anything or anyone intimidate you, including yourself.” Most of the time it’s not from external forces, it’s an energy that we’re putting in ourselves that generates from us. We get in our own head, we get in our own way and then got the nerve to put it on other people. No, that’s you, boo-boo.
On what she aspires to do next in her career:
There are tons of characters that are still inside of me that I haven’t done. There are tons of scripts and stories to tell, both as a director and an actor. For me, it just becomes, “What haven’t I done?” It’s still a long list; even though I’ve been blessed to be in the industry for a long time, many of those years were playing one character. My two series, that’s 14 years of comedy, so, being able to do drama is wonderful like A Question of Faith. I would love to do sci-fi, I would love to do graphic novels, do more voice-overs, all sorts of things.
On the impact of Living Single nearly 25 years later:
It’s very surreal and an indescribable blessing. The chemistry that we had and the relationship that we had, and it’s still intact to this very day. We have a text thread between just the six of us. It’s just like we still work together. Then when Hulu announced that they were going to be streaming the show, the response to that! I thought they were going to break social media. I was so blown away. That’s why I’m always saying to the fans, “I love how you love us.” It feels fantastic.
On her favorite episode and guest star:
One of my favorite guest stars was Grant Hill. He was so hilarious. It was so unexpected with his humor. My finale is definitely one of my favorites: the proposal [from Dexter].
On her thoughts about where Regine could be in a possible Living Single reboot:
You know, I have none! [Laughter.] I have no idea, and only because [Living Single creator] Yvette Lee Bowser is so brilliant. I wouldn’t dream of trying to put into the universe where Regine would be and who she would be. I know she’s somewhere being fabulous. That much we all know; that’s part a no-brainer. Even if she’s completely unfabulous and her world is falling apart, in her mind, she’s still fabulous.