Wigs, Welfare Checks And Friendships: Regina Hall Had Us Laughing To Tears

Ahead of the release of 'Girls Trip' the actress talked to us about her early career, failures and girl clique.
The brilliance of Regina Hall is how everyday stories —through her voice— can be crafted into hilarious adventures. “I couldn’t act and do my thesis—my first thesis was on welfare fraud, which I came up with, because I committed it,” Hall shares about her days in grad school for broadcast journalism. “During the time of unemployment, I told my friend, ‘Oh we can just go and get on welfare.’ Because my [other] friend said the crab leg place across the street takes food stamps. [chuckles] We went to get the food stamps and we’d been sitting for three hours —I’ll never forget— I was like, ‘These people are taking lunch and we’ve been sitting here.’ They looked at me.. And I was like, ‘I’m a filmmaker and I’m going to do a story on this, if there’s not some attention paid!'” Adding, “They denied me the food stamps. And I had to get a job. But it did make me do welfare fraud [as my thesis]… It was about the need and what was going on.” Ahead of the release of Girls Trip (7/21), the actress stopped by the Yes, Girl! podcast studio to talk about everything from losing her father while in college to her 28-year friendship with Sanaa Lathan. “It’s good to have friends in the business because they know what you’re going through,” she said about her close circle that includes Lathan and Melissa De Sousa. “The great thing is, too, you don’t really talk about the business. Unless you’re going through something.” Nabbing her first role in The Best Man right after graduate school —in a role originally offered to Maya Campbell— Hall continued to ascend in Hollywood booking franchise films, independent projects and television. In her latest role in Girls Trip, she plays Ryan Pierce, a woman who’s recently suffered a loss and is in need of a vacation with old friends. “I felt like this film celebrated how supportive we are of one another, how much we look out for one another and how brilliant we are at motherhood, at our jobs, as journalists,” Hall said. “I felt like being able to show us do some crazy stuff, we are that, and much more. We are Black women who are not perfect, but beautifully and humanly flawed.” Listen to Regina Hall’s entire ESSENCE Fest discussion on the Yes, Girl! podcast subscribe (for free).