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Halle Berry Studied Journalism and Was a Model before Fame — Look inside Her Early Years

Cathrine Mabvudza
Dec 06, 2020
08:40 A.M.

Halle Berry's performance in "Monster's Ball" earned her an Academy Award and made her one of Hollywood's most sought-after stars. Here's a look at Halle Berry's life before the fame.


Halle Berry earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2007. Her talent and passion for film have been evident in her movies and her fight against discrimination in the film industry.

Perhaps her most memorable performance was in "Monster's Ball," which made her the first Black woman to win an Oscar for best actress. Here is a look at her journey to superstardom.

Halle Berry at the 2019 Pirelli Calendar launch gala at HangarBicocca on December 5, 2018 in Milan, Italy | Source: Getty Images

Halle Berry at the 2019 Pirelli Calendar launch gala at HangarBicocca on December 5, 2018 in Milan, Italy | Source: Getty Images


Berry was born on August 14, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Judy and Jerome Berry. Her father was physically abusive towards her mother, which severely affected her. She started therapy when she was 10 years old to deal with the trauma.


Jerome and Judy divorced when the actress was four years old, and her mother raised her and her older sister, Heidi, alone.

During her early years living in a predominantly white suburb, Berry attended a school that had very few African Americans. She experienced racial discrimination, which made her highly insecure.



Berry, who craved popularity in high school, held positions in various clubs such as head cheerleader, class president, and newspaper editor.

It was then that the "Die Another Day" actress first stepped on the stage as a pageant queen, working her way from Miss Teen Ohio to Miss U.S.A., where she was awarded the first runner-up title in 1985.



Before pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, Berry studied broadcast journalism at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.

She didn't stay in college very long before she packed up and left for New York City. There, the young Berry started working as a catalog model.



Berry's first time on the silver screen was on the sitcom, "Living Dolls" which aired in 1989. Her role in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" gave her the big break she'd been waiting for.

In 1996 Berry finally starred in the lead role of the crime thriller, "Executive Decision." Her passion project, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," earned her an Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award.



As Berry became a household name, she accepted more blockbuster roles, such as her portrayal of Storm in four of the Marvel "X-men" movies.

In 2001, she starred opposite Billy Bob Thornton in "Monster's Ball," for which she won an Oscar. Her acceptance speech made headlines when she thanked the African American actresses who inspired her.


Berry may have enjoyed a slew of good reviews from her movies, but she is not perfect and her appearance in the 2004 DC Comics adaptation of "Catwoman" was not well received by critics and fans alike.

The "Cloud Atlas" actress revived her career and became one of the top-earning actresses in Hollywood, appearing in Oprah Winfrey's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" in 2005.



Berry, who has been named on numerous lists for her beauty and sexy body, has been unlucky in love, having been married three times.

Her last marriage to actor Olivier Martinez lasted only three years. The couple shared a son, Maceo-Robert Martinez, who is Berry's second child. Her first child is Nahla Ariela Aubry, whom she shares with her ex-boyfriend and model Gabriel Aubry.


Besides acting, Berry has pursued other interests. In 2014, she invested in "Scandale," an 80-year-old Pariesen luxury lingerie label which launched at Target in 2014.

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