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[BLANK_AUDIO] I'm Lance Gross, and a value that means a lot to me is courage. Courage is just getting it done, no matter what's in the way, no matter what obstacle you have, what fear you have. To me, fear is nothing, but false evidence appearing real. So courage. [MUSIC] Is getting it done, making it happen, that's what courage is for me. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Simone. Lance. [LAUGH] Simone, thank you for joining me here today. Thank you for having me. So with this project, I had a wish Wish list of celebrities that I wanted to shoot. Along with that, I picked values that were important to me. So for you, I chose courage. What does courage mean to you? For me, it's faith. Yeah. I think that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to trust in something that's greater than yourself. Yeah. She can't see or feel. And for people who aren't spiritual, it is really just self-belief. Yeah. Believing that those things that you put out and that you want you can actually achieve. What do they say, it takes seven years to make a success. Right? Well, I say 12. [LAUGH] Well, I should have been listening to you. [LAUGH] l Because I had seven stuck in my head, and I had a number, I had an age in my head when I thought I was gonna be successful. I was like, Gabrielle Union got "Bring it On" at 28, I'm gonna be 28 and it's all just gonna come together. [LAUGH] Had it all calculated- Had it all calculated. I'm planned out. And when that 28th birthday came and went, I was like, okay God, what's happening? How did you get the courage to throw your head in the pot for such a beloved character in the Marvel world? I think it all goes back to faith again. [LAUGH] Okay. I did not actually know what I was auditioning for. So the day of my audition, I go into the room and I have the worst Cold. Summer cold, I almost lost my voice. I was doing a play in LA and I called up my manager, I was like Stephanie you have to push this back. I don't even think I'll be able to talk. So I go in and I literally just prayed to God for ten minutes, just ten minutes that was all I needed and I went in there Probably the most confident and calm person I've ever been because I was high on Dayquil. [LAUGH] And it really just came from the belief that if this is mine, it's mine. And there's nothing anyone can do to take it from me. And there's nothing I can do to take it away from myself. And there is that thought, because there were so many people who wanted this role There is that thought of, will it come out and people say, they should have went with such and such? That feeling of, are you not enough? I just had to keep reminding myself that I was placed here for this, and no one, it could have been no one else. [MUSIC] I wish I did. I came in the room the way I was, with my hair naturally curly. And I put myself on tape that way and I wanna say it was the first time I had ever done that. Because, again, you often think, okay, does this character have curly hair or straight hair? Okay, if she has curly hair, do I really want them touching my hair? Because that's a big thing. Are they gonna burn my hair off, break my hair off? And for this audition, I was like, I'm just gonna do a twist out, and just do it. And I had no idea that she had an afro or anything like that. And my manager, Stephanie, called me up, and she was like that was amazing, and your hair looks amazing. And I was like, thanks, Steph, okay. But then also [UNKNOWN] the creator of the show. His wife has natural hair and he was adamant that Misty was going to have that natural hair, so I think again it all came from me just stepping in into that position, as I was in my full self and they accepted it, it was great. I think it's awesome, because it's little girls everywhere watching TV, like mom Her hair is like mine, you know, it's great to see. I know, it's grown women saying, man my hair is like hers because it's hard, it's so hard. I think, you know, you look at tv and you do not see yourself represented often, or if you do it's not in a way that you feel is representative of who you are. And I feel like, you know Misty having naturally curly hair makes people go okay that can be professional. Yeah, how does it feel to know that you guys broke Netflix? I know, right? How does that feel, what kinda feeling do you get when that happens? You get this feeling of yes, my squad is the best. [LAUGH] Yeah. But I think On a cultural level, you often hear, people don't wanna see black people overseas. Art isn't worthy in China, or Europe, or wherever. Yeah. nobody wants to buy into those stories. And I think that us breaking Netflix really just broke that lie that gets told. You know, I think that that was a little [SOUND] to all those people who are trying to keep all this magic down. So what is your black girl Magic. I think my black girl magic is being me, and recognizing that nobody else can be me, and enjoying that. I spent a lot of time in LA, trying to fit into this box of what I thought people wanted me to be. It's like, when I moved here, I was like, I gotta get a weave and wear the Hollywood uniform. And I tried to take away all the things that were unique when it came to my art as well. It was like okay what do they want me to be? And thank god I met my husband. Yeah. Because he would just say, bring you to it, you are enough. It was that constant reinforcement that made me recognize, yeah, I mean the fact that I'm a little goofy and I'm not trying to be serious all the time, and I have this deep voice that nobody else has, all of those things make me special. And make me unique. And I think that that's my black girl magic. Just recognizing that I'm boss. All by myself. Now, how much of you did you bring to your character? I would say a good 30%. 30%. 30%. I think a lot of Missy"s humor comes from me. The sarcasm. But you know she's a much more altruistic person than I am. It's hard to believe in a system like that where you see men and women being unjustly thrown in prison every day, and locked up for the rest of their lives. And you recognize that it's a system built on money. Misty believes in that system. She believes she has the ability to change that system. I'm a person that stands outside of it. And recognizes that in the voice that I have and the body that I have, and the gift that I have been given, I can speak to that in that ways. Well Simone, I appreciate you, coming to my studio, allowing me to turn my camera on you. I wish you all the success in the world. Thank you. You, Howard alum. Yes! So I am always rooting for you. Bison got to root for you. Always. And you too. [MUSIC]

On this week’s episode of I Turn My Camera On, Lance Gross brings “Luke Cage” leading lady Simone Missick to his studio for a photo session and discussion centered around the meaning of courage.

“Courage is just getting it done, no matter what’s in the way or what obstacle you have or what fear you have,” Lance says. “To me, fear is nothing but False Evidence Appearing Real. So, courage is getting it done, making it happen.”

Weighing in with her definition of courage, Simone shared that having faith or belief in yourself beyond what seems possible is a hugh part of truly embracing the concept of being courageous.

“For me, [courage] is faith,” she says. “I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage to trust in something that’s greater than yourself, that you can’t see or feel. And for people who aren’t spiritual, it’s really just self-belief and believing that those things that you put out and that you want, you can actually achieve.”

As the conversation continues, the actress also opens up about deciding to wear a natural hairstyle to her audition for her “Luke Cage” character Misty Knight and whether or not that influenced the character having natural hair on screen. 

“I came in the room the way I was, with my hair naturally curly and I put myself on tape that way. I want to say it was the first time I’d ever done that,” Simone continues. “Because, again, you often think, ‘Ok does the character have curly hair or straight hair? Ok, if she has curly hair, do I really want them touching my hair?’ Because, that’s a big thing. You know, are they going to burn my hair off, break my hair off? And for this audition, I was like, ‘I’m just gonna do a twist out.’ And I had no idea that she had an afro or anything like that. But then also, the creator of the show, his wife has natural hair and he was adamant that Misty was going to have natural hair. So, I think it all came from me just stepping into that position as I was and in my full self and they accepted it.”

Simone also shares the backstory behind how she landed the coveted role of Misty Knight, some of the things she did to try to fit in in Hollywood and how her husband ultimately helped her realize that authenticity was the key to her success. Check out the episode in full above and visit the official website HERE to view all episodes.

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