Jennifer Beals Talks Acting, A Jacket, And The “Power of the Mind”

Jennifer Beals, an actress who’s done extensive work on both film and television, plays Special Deputy Director of National Intelligence Christina Hart in Taken. During our interview with Beals and Clive Standen (he plays Bryan Mills, the role played by Liam Neeson in the films), the actress gave a memorable account of a pivotal event that fueled her acting passions.

Jennifer Beals - Taken
NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS — NBC New York Midseason Press Day, March 2017 — Pictured: Jennifer Beals “Taken” on NBC — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal)

“Everything, no matter what you are doing, is an opportunity,” said Beals in an interview with Forbes. That mindful and driven attitude are probably aspects that have led to her success as an actress, and though losing a loved one and financially struggling could understandably place someone in a deep depression, Beals moved forward:

“I remember really clearly my father had passed and we didn’t have any money and I was walking dogs so that I could pay for riding lessons. There was going to be a horse show and I got to compete in the horse show. The instructor told us we needed a white shirt, breeches, and high boots.

I talked to the woman who – I was walking her dogs – and I told her what I was doing that weekend and she said, ‘Oh I used to ride and I have a beautiful white shirt if you want, I never use it.’ We got that and my mom splurged – she got me this $50 pair of faux leather riding boots.

I got to the competition and I was competing in the intermediate category and every other rider had a jacket. And I didn’t have a jacket. The event before mine were the advanced riders. This girl named Laura won the event and she was coming back in the stable with her horse and I was in line to go into the ring. She looked at me and she said, ‘You don’t have a jacket’ and I said ‘No, I don’t have a jacket.’ So she took her jacket off and she gave it to me.

I put the jacket on and I became her. I rode the event and to make a long story short, I won.

I realized the power of the mind and certainly the power of a wardrobe and costume (laughs). But that thing where you can transform and like Clive (said) it wasn’t trying to be the center, it was trying to kind of get away from that and go more deeply into who you are, which is the most universal of all.” – Jennifer Beals

****I apologize for the audio in the following video – my Zoom H4N did not record – so the audio’s coming from my Zoom Video Recorder. Still it’s a great story and I wanted to at least share the vid:

 

You MUST go see the exhibition Generation Wealth at the #Annenberg. My friend #LaurenGreenfield’s work is monumental. Generation Wealth takes us down the yellow brick road where we are able to see who we, as a collective are becoming. Like Studs Terkel with a camera, Greenfield’s lens allows us to watch the transmogrification of the American Dream of success through hard work, modesty and discipline turn into a nightmare of conspicuous wealth, excess and addiction. Lauren Greenfield’s work is so extraordinary not only in its breadth but in its exactitude of observation. Whether the photographs are humorous, heart-wrenching or both we never feel judgement, just observation and that observation gives us room to know we are all complicit in varying degrees. Generation Wealth is a masterpiece. What Family of Man was to a previous generation, Generation Wealth is to ours. #photography #art #humanity #yourewelcome

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