For Vivica A. Fox, becoming an overnight sensation was never an option: she learned at an early age to take the reins of her own career, meticulously laying the foundation for a lasting presence in Hollywood with self-admitted, type-A determination and an unwavering commitment to responsibility.
“Now, instead of going out in the club to get turnt up, I’m going home to go to sleep,” she says with a chuckle. And as the faded trajectories of many a past Hollywood success story prove, it’s far too easy to get burned in the movie business, but as a steadfast actress and producer, Fox wants you to know that, even when you think you’ve seen the last of her, she’ll rise from the slumber ashes again and again.
“I’m kind of like a Phoenix,” she tells EW of her resilience, on full display as she recounts her illustrious career in film (Kill Bill, Independence Day) and television (Empire) within the pages of her first book, Every Day I’m Hustling, due out May 15, 2018. “Just when they’ve counted me out, it’s like, boom, she’s back!”
Now, she’s charting every step of that journey in the hopes of empowering others to write the next chapter of their own narrative with the same confidence she’s used put hers to paper.
“Success isn’t going to come knocking at your door — you have to go knocking on success’ door. You have to make good choices and make things happen for yourself. Especially in today’s society, everything’s so instant. You can swipe this and swipe that. [Younger people] believe that if you become a reality star, you’re going to be famous [forever]. They have no idea how temporary that can be… I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I’ve seen many people come and go,” she explains. “Get ready, y’all, because [singing] every day I’m hustling. So, come along and hustle with me.”
Pre-order Every Day I’m Hustling here, and check out EW’s exclusive cover reveal for the book above. Read on for our full Q&A with Fox, in which she discusses adding another hyphenate to her roster of talents, why women need to work differently to make it in Hollywood, her (now squashed) feud with 50 Cent, working with Harvey Weinstein on Ella Enchanted, and the future of the Kill Bill franchise.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re a well-known actress and a producer, so what made now the right time to add “author” to that list?
VIVICA A. FOX: When I was approached about the idea of writing a book, I was like, “I still have a little more living to do.” [The publisher] was like, “No, you’re a woman in your 50s and this will have a universal message for everyone, to go into the new chapters of life and to not be afraid of exploring new horizons.” My whole career, that’s basically what I’ve done, so [writing about it now] was a perfect fit.
Because the book is about taking the reins of your own success, do you recommend young people starting out in Hollywood follow your lead in that regard?
I do a lot of motivational speeches for women and young girls, and I always impart on my ladies that success isn’t going to come knocking at your door — you have to go knocking on success’ door. You have to make good choices and make things happen for yourself. Especially in today’s society, everything’s so instant. You can swipe this and swipe that. [Younger people] believe that if you become a reality star, you’re going to be famous [forever]. They have no idea how temporary that can be.
It’s a quick-fix society! People want things as quickly as they can, and there’s no area of society that mentality doesn’t touch.
[They] just Google it! [Laughs] I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I’ve seen many people come and go. I’ve always looked at other talented people… and those who’ve made excellent choices inspire me: Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé — look how they go into their new chapters. I’ve never been a hater, I’ve always been a congratulator! It’s like, okay, I see y’all. So now, instead of going out in the club to get turnt up, I’m going home to go to sleep.
How do women have to work differently for their success?
Never let your mistakes define you. I believe because women are emotional creatures… if someone gives them constructive criticism, they take it so personal. You’ve got to get thick skin. [You also] have to use your head. Looks are only going to get you so far. Trust me, there’s going to be a new batch of cute girls coming up in a few years, too. Also, have patience and know that it takes time to build a career… You have to learn those politics of how to play the game, how to initiate, and how to fall back. [And this book is] not just for women, because I give advice on relationships and careers that men and women can both enjoy and learn from.
One of those relationships you discuss is with 50 Cent. You told Wendy Williams the beef you had with him is over now, right?
Yes. As a matter of fact, I’m going to be on 50 Cent’s new show on BET, 50 Central, [tonight]. I’m making an appearance in this hilarious skit about us going to couple’s therapy. I know everyone’s freaking out about it. They’re like, what, you’re in the same room? It just goes to show how… in the end, you can be friends! I will always have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’ll always have a special place in my heart [but] I don’t want you to get that twisted: He’s not my entire book. It’s about going through relationships, and one of my relationships is with him. I’m not [writing] the 50 Cent/Vivica Fox Love Story.
There’s plenty of other interesting things about your career.
Thank you! But people are fascinated by it. Trust me, they are.
It’s crazy some things people pay attention to. But, here we are.
Honey, imagine going to interviews 11 years later [still talking about it]. I’m like, really? But, we captured magic in a bottle. It doesn’t happen that often.
The description also says you’ll talk about your experiences on set, particularly Kill Bill. What was your experience working with Miramax and Harvey Weinstein on that film?
I don’t want this to be taken as I’m coming out in defense of him, but I did not have a bad experience with him. When we were doing Ella Enchanted, he was nice, he took Heidi Klum and I out to dinner. As a matter of fact, he asked [the producers] to make my part bigger. I didn’t have a bad experience with him, but I don’t want in any way for it to get out that I’m defensive of his behavior…. It’s sad and I pray for him. I hope he gets help and can take a serious look in the mirror at the chaos he’s created, but when I worked with him, he was an absolute gentleman.
Have you come across that issue?
Me? No. I’ve never had the casting couch [experience]. I earned my roles fair and square; I did the work… cheaters never win. But it does exist, not just in show business, sweetheart! Hopefully this is a lesson for men who have power to not abuse their power.
Speaking of Kill Bill, have you heard anything the third movie?
It has been a rumor. The only thing I’ve heard is that they were waiting for [Vernita’s daughter] to grow up, and I just want to be a vision [in that story]. I want to come through and be like: “Watch out! Don’t do the cereal box trick! Mama lost doing that! Watch her! She got that knife, she quick with that knife!” [Laughs]