Kim Fields Talks Motherhood, Hair, and Finding Balance
by Sharlyn Pierre
Tootie or Regine may be the first thing you think of when you hear the name Kim Fields, but we think enlightened soul, then funny. In between her delicious quotables and the gaggle of laughs, we were able to ask this noteworthy New Yorker about her natural hair journey, motherhood, and how she feels about reality television shows.
TM: How long have you been natural?
KF: Somewhere around the time I started doing “Living Single.” There were occasions where I would have braids, but somewhere in the early 90s I stopped perming my hair. I hadn't had a bad experience or anything like that and it wasn't a socially conscious choice. I just did. I had been rocking weaves towards the end of college and that was back when they would have to braid your whole head and sew it in and was such a process and I was like "Ugh, I can't do this anymore!" [laughs] And so with wearing wigs on the show, it really was a matter of I didn't want to do my hair or have my hair done week after week filming a TV show. So somewhere in that timeframe is where I started being natural I guess by definition. Sometimes I wore braids sometimes I wore the ponytail. And then right before my 30th birthday, like in my late 20s, I started locking. Then on my 30th birthday I went bold and blonde.
TM: Were you natural on the Facts of Life?
KF: During the end of “Facts of Life,” I was doing curly weaves, that sort of thing, But when I was a kid, we would press my hair and put them in the infamous ponytails and the big ol' bang, and the mushroom [laughs] We were just trying to make it manageable.
TM: How do you feel about so many women going natural?
In regards to what other women do with their hair, I don't really have an opinion one way or the other. I always get a very happy for any person, male, female or otherwise that starts to find what ever is it they tap into to start to become comfortable in their skin. Because I know that journey very well and they can take a long time. It can be painful, and so when you find that and you start hitting your stride, I think that's extraordinary. For some people it's when they have a declaration of "I'm changing my look” or "I'm not tapping into certain perceptions that don't work for me anymore" and those kinds of things. I get happy for people when they have those realizations and however they express themselves in that, or however it manifests itself and each individual, that's on you.
TM: What is the funniest thing a fan has ever asked or told you?
KF: Well, I've had several people argue me down that I am Janet Jackson. And I mean argue me DOWN like, "you're trying to be incognito, okay fine!” But I think the funniest thing was I overheard someone say to another person that I looked like a light-skinned version of Kim Fields.
TM: Did you say anything?
KF: No, I laughed and laughed. I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was so funny that I actually put it in a script. It was a show where I made a cameo appearance and had the characters say it.
TM: What do you think of reality television?
KF: Ohh, That's a hard one. I mean honestly, I'm not a fan in a few different ways. Number one: I know that it isn't real, it’s very manufactured so I think it's very hypocritical to call it reality TV when there is very little that's real about it. The other thing I think is that I wish that it would all have one particular space to go and play in so that it unclogs some of the airways for scripted programming and therefore returning opportunities to talented writers, actors, directors and producers and set designers and getting us back to that place. So I don't wish it away, I just wish it would go play in one sandbox [laughs]. And let's return to some really good, strong, quality programming that's got integrity and imagination and creativity. Now, I will say this: there are some shows, we refer to them as follow-docs, like you're following someone's life in a documentary style, and there are certain shows that can be an inspiring. For example, The Locator,
I really appreciate that kind of the show. So, overall I think that there are some that can entertain and inspire and be helpful or useful and that sort of thing but the others? At this point it should be called airing your dirty laundry TV. And I'm from the school that says you don't air your dirty laundry.
TM: How have the rules changed in Hollywood for up-and-coming black actresses and actors?
KF: The way that it's changed in Hollywood is that you have several entities no longer looking to Hollywood as the be-all end-all stop for success. You got so many different outlets. From of course, first and foremost the Internet and with that web series, also Google TV, Netflix, direct to DVD. So now you’ve got so many different outlets, that I think that's the biggest way that Hollywood is changing.
TM: How do you find balance between motherhood and work?
KF: Well thank you, because that assumes that I'm balanced. [laughs] The idea of balance I think is a misnomer and that it doesn't always mean 50-50. For me, balance is what ever the ratio or percentages in your life that work for you where you're not overdoing it in any one area. So right now, for example, I'm in a season where I don't report to a sound stage every day and film a TV show. So that gives me more time to work on other projects but also work with my son Sebastian more. That's not always the case though. My schedule will shift occasionally. So, at some point it may become a thing where I'm at a studio every day, and all I can do is my morning routine and my nighttime routine with him. So balance is really, to me, making sure that there's no excess in one area, especially for a prolonged period of time. Like last Friday, my body just wouldn't move. I had been exercising, and doing stuff for Sebastian, doing stuff at home, and laundry... after a while, it was just like "them dishes are gonna be dirty a few more days" and being okay with that, and not beating myself up about it. But knowing I've done a lot, I'm good. I gave myself that day, or two days to rest. I also think of not subscribing to the idea of someone else's concept of balance. It's almost like when people are talking about marriage "Oh you know it's supposed to be 50-50!" That's a lie from the pit of hell. Because at any moment it's going to shift. He's going to give a little more; she's going to give a little more or what ever it may be for circumstances or situations. But, it will be that this particular ratio keeps balance in our home.
I will always be eternally grateful to Carol's Daughter for having been the exclusive distributor for my first CD many moons ago!
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