‘9-1-1’ Star Angela Bassett Says She’s ‘Never Been Motivated by Money or Fame’

by Liz Holland

“9-1-1” star Angela Bassett has been killing it lately. The 63 year old actress broke records last year as the highest-paid actress of color on television, earning $450,000 per episode for the Fox series. Despite her monetary success, Bassett said in an interview with InStyle that she’s “never been motivated solely by money or fame.” In the interview, Bassett also shares that her intention behind becoming an actress was simple: to fulfill her dreams. 

“I’ve never been motivated solely by money or fame,” she explains. For me, it’s always and only been for the joy of following my dreams. That’s what makes me feel alive,” she said. The actress added that she’s happy to see younger actors and actresses and their open-mindedness surrounding self-expression, as well as being more aware of their self-worth than previous generations. 

Bassett also shares her desire to change the perception surrounding individuals who are people of color through her work. It’s something the performer has been passionate about since early on in her acting career. “Thirty and 40 years ago when I started out, Black characters were weighted too heavily in the negative,” she says. 

The actress continues, “I was always mindful of those images. What are you saying about me and who I represent as a woman of color? There’s a complexity to us… Beauty to us. There’s strength to us. There’s compassion to us. There are so many wonderful things.”

Angela Bassett’s Career Has Come With Challenges

Angela Bassett did face some challenges as an African-American actress during the early days of her career, she says. “We all have that experience of trying to prove ourselves and show our worth,” Bassett relates. She elaborates, adding, “But dealing with the additional layer of being a woman and also a Black woman, it’s a journey and a constant battle. It was incredibly powerful in building my self-esteem early on when I would get on those stages and receive the response that I wanted from the audiences and my peers.”

The star makes a point to acknowledge the fact that her main inspiration for her acting career as a woman of color stems from the fellow females in her family. Bassett says, ‘It’s the women in my family who have influenced my roles. Growing up without every convenience and then seeing my mother who persevered…she still had grace.”

Chasing Her Dreams With No Blueprint To Follow

Seeing that kind of perseverance growing up certainly paid off for Bassett, who also says the most bad*** thing she’s done is chase after her dreams without instructions from anyone else. “I had to figure a lot of it out for myself,” the actress reflects. “I look up to every single woman who has the courage to follow her heart. Any woman in any discipline who’s doing her thing. It takes courage and bravery to do it anyway when you’re unsure,” Bassett says. 

Overall, Angela Bassett is happy she can be in a position to support other creatives in their endeavors. ‘It’s wonderful to be in a position to provide an opportunity to the marketplace and to the screen, large and small…as you continue and get stronger with experience, you take the opportunities, and you’re grateful,” the actress shares.