Actress, director, producer, author, wife, and mother Kim Fields is a veteran in the entertainment industry at the young age of 41. After decades of playing characters in front of the camera, Fields has taken to working her magic behind the camera. Now she is adding something new to her repertoire: host. Fields will appear every Sunday evening on BET’s and Centric’s Lens on Talent: A Johnson & Johnson Filmmakers Challenge, a one-hour, short film showcase on emerging African American filmmakers competing to win an opportunity to produce a short film that will air on BET and Centric. Here, in this exclusive interview with BlackEnterprise.com, Fields talks about her life then and now working in the entertainment world.
BlackEnterprise.com: Lots of people know you from your characters on Living Single and Facts of Life. However, your career expands far beyond that. Tell us, what is Kim Fields up to now?
Kim Fields: God is good in that I’m still working and in the entertainment industry. I’ve been directing quite a bit, and working on House of Payne and Meet the Browns at Tyler Perry Studios. I’m the producer of a new show that is slightly different from the Tyler Perry brand. I also direct a show called Let’s Stay Together, a BET original scripted show. Now I’m hosting a filmmaker show called Lens on Talent.
What have some of the influential moments in your career been, and how have they affected and influenced what you’re doing now?
The most influential moment in my career was the first moment I was introduced to this whole world of entertainment. I was five or six. My Mother was on tour with Pearl Bailey in Hello Dolly. I can remember being backstage and seeing costumes on racks, make up, the crew–all that went into putting on a show. Ms. Bailey would talk to lil’ ol’ me from the stage. I remember thinking, ‘I like this world. I like this environment.’ I was never a performer as a little girl, however it resonates in a five or six-year-old’s mind. It was a defining moment for me. Every day I’ve been working–whether Facts of Life, Living Single, TV movies, independent films–any day on set helps to redefine who I am as an actor, filmmaker, story teller.
What advice can you give other entrepreneurs?
Understand that when you have disappointing moments–‘cause you’ll have them–don’t let them swallow you up. Part of the entrepreneur spirit is that spirit to triumph. Sometimes that may get squelched to the littlest flicker as opposed to the big, bright, burning torch that you usually feel. [One minute you feel] on top of the world–[the next] you get slammed with disappointing deals that don’t happen or somebody betrays you. [There are] so many different elements when you’re dealing with finances and contracts, so many things can be excruciatingly painful and very difficult. Even in the creative world that I’m in. Honestly, you can’t let it swallow you up. I say that from experience because I let something swallow me up. I let all that [negativity] fuel me to where it affected my health, affected me emotionally, and it took me a long time to climb back.
The other thing I would say, too, in terms of advice is you’re never too old to try something. You know what I mean? It’s people who say ‘Aw, I’m in my 40s, 50s–I don’t want to start over. I’ve been doing this …’ It’s never too late to try something. It’s better to try than be bitter because you didn’t try.
Check back next week for Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Kim Fields.
Shannon Lanier contributed to the production of this article.