Vivica Fox: Straight Up


Fox has a lot of reasons to be happy with her life. A thriving career in film, television and

stage is just the start of it.

She started off

with appearances on a number of television series in the early ‘90s including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Beverly Hills 90210 and Family

Matters. She had a breakout year in 1996 with roles in the all-female

gangster flick Set It Off, the heroic

Independence Day opposite Will Smith,

and the Wayans brothers’ comedy Don’t Be A

Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.

Vivica elevated

her dramatic roles with a co-lead in the feature film Soul Food, and polished her tougher side as Vernita Green in the Kill Bill movies. She is also delved

into work behind the scenes, and to date has been involved in the production of

seven films and a TV series, with more in the works.

While she

enjoys the diversity of roles she’s taken, Vivica expresses utmost concern in

balancing her career with meaningful choices. Her latest thriller Cover touches upon the controversial

subject of “down low” brothers. Directed by Bill Duke, the film features

appearances from Louis Gossett Jr., Leon, Patti LaBelle and Mya.

Unfortunately, with

consistent work in Hollywood comes rumor and speculation. Fortunately for

Vivica, she’s succeeded in staying a cut above the rest. We spoke with the adventurous

actress about her controversial new movie, her love for the Hip-Hop community and her sometimes controversial


Tell us a little about your new movie Cover.

Vivica Fox: The

reason I got involved with Cover was

because of Bill Duke. He directed an episode of [the TV series] Missing and I just enjoyed working with

him. He's such a wonderful actor/director. He got me the script, I read it and

loved it.

When he broke

down the steps about 70% of new cases of HIV that are reported every year in

the African-American community are African-American women, and how 7 out of 10

men in the Washington, D.C. area are infected with HIV, I said, “These are

messages that are informative and affecting my community and I need to be in a

project to enlighten, inspire and inform.” That was a no-brainer for me. You

have a disclaimer on the front of your website that you're not starring in a

play, [Whatever She Wants]. You had

somebody saying [falsely] that you were starring in a play?

Vivica Fox: Whatever She Wants is a

play that at the time was written for Vivica Fox. It was written for me, I was

out on the road with it for 14 weeks. The producers decided to go back out

without me because of professional differences, and they weren't informative.

They were still using my voice on the radio ads, and I just thought that it was


I just wanted to

make sure that they didn't go there, because I always hate when you go to a

play or to see a production and you think a certain individual is gonna be

there, you spend your hard earned money to see that certain individual and

they're not there. I don't ever want to misdirect my fans or let them down, I

always try to be as honest and truthful with them as possible. I just felt that

[the producers] kind of deceived them. I just wanted to make sure they knew

that when they got there that I wasn't going to be there. What [has] been most challenging for you in your career?

Vivica Fox: [What's been the most challenging] is to [try not to] complain

about my career and keep breathing. Everybody wants to say, "Well, what

haven't you done?" I've done so much and been so blessed. I've done

comedies, dramas, worked with the best… so I can't really complain. When you look at something as emotional as Set It Off and as fierce as Kill

Bill, have you had to really develop your acting skills. What's harder, being

emotional or being [serious]?

Vivica Fox: Comedy's actually the hardest to be honest with you. Being

emotional for me is a breeze, because I'm an emotional specimen. To cry and

feel drama... people have no idea, they just think I've lived the charmed life.

But I've been a fighter and on my own since I was 17 years old.

Comedy's the

hardest because if it ain’t funny, trust me, it falls flat on its butt. Drama

sometimes will give you a little grace, and you're able to save yourself with

that one. Comedy's hard, for real. It either works or doesn’t, because

sometimes people don't get your humor.

Like I learned

with [the HBO series] Curb Your Enthusiasm, that humor was a whole different

type of humor that I had to get used to. Then you do your comedy where your

brothers and sisters love your over-the-top, in-your-face type of humor. Then

you have sitcom humor, which is very scripted. Comedy is hard. With dramas,

that material is usually there and as an actor you bring it. Comedy sometimes

is a little more physical and harder. People say that you're so hard and serious about everything,

especially on the Hip-Hop side. Obviously they know you as an actress, but then

they hear your name said in rap songs and rumors about you, and you'll come [behind it] and say, "That is not true" - obviously [you ’ve been] upset, as

anyone would be if there's something said that's not true.

Vivica Fox: I wish my life was as scandalous as what people think of me!

[laughs] I really do. I don't get why I turned into such a scandalous one, but

it's all good. You’ve gotta learn to laugh at life. Scandal and sex sells

nowadays, or always has, to be honest with you. So you’ve gotta learn to get

thick skin about that.

Another thing I want to tell people is, I'm one of the silliest, fun-loving

people that could ever be your friend. I love to shop, go to the spa, bowl - I

love life. But I don't like people talking s**t about me, and for that, I will

stand up for myself. How does it make you feel that Hip-Hop has embraced you to such

a degree that rappers are saying your name, and they've made you a staple

[actress within the culture]?

Vivica Fox: Hip-Hop has been really good to me, it really has. That goes back

before 50 [Cent] - Biggie was one of the first rappers to put me in a song - "Watch me set it off like Vivica."

People forget that I've been involved with Hip-Hop from Tupac, he was a very

good friend of mine. I was in his video back in the day.

It's not just

Curtis who took me to [where I am now]. For that, it was just because somebody

was dating me, it was like, "Oh my God, she likes thugs too." That

was kind of surprising [for fans] when I was supposed to be this little red

carpet glamorous princess. Princesses like bad boys too, but you get over that

when you get a little bit older. But they can be fun. It was a wonderful

adventure, and I had a great time.

I just love the

Hip-Hop community, because with dating Curtis, it introduced me to a whole new

generation. So it's been good to me, I look at it as a double edged sword.

Patti LaBelle told me a long time ago, "Baby when they stop talking about

you, that's when you worry." Do you see yourself going further into television now that

you've gotten a good taste of it?

Vivica Fox: Well you know, I do what's next. I go with what's happening, what's

hot and the projects that are available to me. But I also try to make sure that

I'm not afraid to go and look for my

project, which is next for me to produce myself.

I've produced

seven films and a television show. I was Executive Producer of my show on

Lifetime. I've got a pilot right now that I just shot with VH-1, where I was Executive

Producer as well with that. So I'm always looking for what's next for Vivica.