While glammed up style has always been her signature, Mary J. Blige went in a totally new direction for her recent role in the Dee Rees film Mudbound.
Blige went makeup-free for her role as Florence in the dramatic picture — which she admits was a big challenge.
“Florence came at a time when I was really low, feeling super insecure, not sure of my life, not sure of even who I was. I didn’t really realize that I was hanging onto so many things of the world that made me feel beautiful,” Blige revealed, in an interview with Variety.
Rees convinced Blige to fully inhabit her role as Florence by going barefaced, though Blige initially resisted.
“I was fighting to keep lashes. I was fighting for fingernails, and fighting for wigs and things like that. And I just didn’t wanna strip down, because I just was afraid,” she says.
“Once I trusted [Rees] and let Florence live, she really liberated me,” Blige admits. “She really opened me up to my own inner beauty for real. Not what I thought I’d learn, but really truly who I am. And that none of this matters, you know?”
Set in the post WWII south, Mudbound centers around black soldiers returning home after war and dealing with racism.
The role marks a major career shift for Blige, whose film credits are mostly comprised of soundtracks, comedic roles, and lighter fare.