Later this month, Octavia Spencer will bring the inspirational story of Madam C.J. Walker, one of the first black female millionaires in America, to Netflix in the limited-series Self Made. Below, the Oscar-winning actress answers Marie Claire's questionnaire, championing women to do whatever they please.
1. Best career advice I’ve gotten: To thine own self be true.
2. The three qualities that got me where I am today: Work ethic, perseverance, and gratitude.
3. Moment I felt I made it: When I received my first paycheck to act.
4. Most agonizing career decision I’ve ever made: Leaving a well-paid production gig behind to pursue acting.
5. Kind of work I’d do for free: Babysitting.
6. Favorite perk of the job: Traveling.
7. Worst pitfall of the job: Traveling.
8. How did you make your first dollar? I worked as a waitress.
9. Who do you admire and why? People who make an effort.
10. Last things I binge-watched: The Politician and Game of Thrones.
11. Book that left a lasting impression on me: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou.
12. Movie with the greatest ending: Avengers: Endgame.
13. First album I bought: Tina Turner’s Private Dancer.
14. If I could live abroad, it would be in: Taormina, Italy.
15. What every woman should try once in her lifetime: Anything she damn well pleases.
16. My perfect day would begin: Watching the sun rise.
17. My perfect day would end: Watching the sun set.
18. One thing I’m epically bad at: Cooking.
19. Superhero power I’d want to have: Flight.
20. How I clear my mind after a crappy day: A hot bath and an hour of TV.
21. If I could compete in an Olympic sport, I’d like it to be: Figure skating.
22. The last time I felt beautiful was: Today.
23. My first kiss: First grade.
24. Relationship advice to my younger self: You’re a catch!
Clarification: The print version of this story referred to the name of Spencer's new show as Madame C.J. Walker. In the time since we went to press the title of the show was updated to Self Made.
This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Marie Claire.