LEVEL UP

Upscale Magazine|June 2020

LEVEL UP
After years in Hollywood, Regina Hall is poised for another breakout year, both on-screen and behind the camera. Still as down to earth and relatable as ever, Hall dishes on what’s really up with diversity in Hollywood, why it’s important to learn to let go and what excites her these days.
JACINTA HOWARD

Regina Hall isn’t very good at online Spades, and she’s a little upset about it. “I got my ass beat real bad and got embarrassed,” she deadpans, a laugh lurking just beyond her peeved tone. “But I am good!” she insists. “Online, it just feels a little different, so I’m gonna practice before the next game.”

Like the rest of America, on this afternoon in late April, Hall is “sheltering in place” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, it means she had to take her ordinarily impressive Spades skills online. She’s also had to adjust to a new normal, following a loose schedule of sorts, to maintain some semblance of normalcy, while practicing social distancing. “I don’t know if it’s a routine, but I do the same sh-t every day,” she laughs when asked about how she’s been structuring her days. “I guess it’s a routine. I go for walks. I do a little reading, a little writing. I FaceTime friends. I have been organizing more—certain closets when I get to them. Cleaning. I do like to pull weeds...it’s very soothing,” she adds with a laugh, seeming almost surprised by her own admission.”

Just a week prior, Hall co-hosted a BET special, Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, which raised more than $16 million to support African American communities impacted by COVID-19. During the special, Hall was her typical self, funny and relatable, even showing up makeup-free with a messy ponytail in one comical bit with her friend, comedian Kevin Hart. But that’s always been part of Hall’s charm—she comes off as someone you’ve known forever and can’t wait to hang out with again. She’s beautiful, but she doesn’t lean into that as her only source of appeal. She’s sweet but also sharp and witty. And when you least expect it, she’s thoughtful and wise. That energy has translated on screen in her 20 years in the business.

The D.C. native didn’t break into Hollywood until she was 26. Following undergrad, she still didn’t have a job, and after a bit of pressure from her parents to figure out what she wanted to do, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. But her dad had a stroke during her first semester. Shocked by his sudden passing, Hall found herself reevaluating her life. It didn’t take too long for her to earnestly pursue acting, and in 1997, she landed her first gig in a McDonald’s commercial. A couple years later, in 1999, she made her big film debut as a surprisingly insightful stripper named Candy in The Best Man. That’s the set where she also met her longtime bestie-sister, actress Sanaa Lathan.

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June 2020