Vivica A. Fox is grateful she didn’t have to endure sexual harassment just to make it in Hollywood.
The 54-year-old, who has successfully made her mark in film and television since the late ‘80s, told Fox News she was never a victim of sexual assault in her journey to stardom.
“I’ve been fortunate that it hasn’t happened in my career,” she explained. “I can’t say I haven’t been hit on. … I just tried to make better choices. ... But I respect those that speak out and I’m all about women’s empowerment… and not being taken advantage of.
"And it doesn’t happen just in show business," she added. "It happens in a lot of different genres. … If someone is offering you a shortcut, don’t do it.”
Fox is aware of the #MeToo movement that has taken over the entertainment industry after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault, rape and abuse by several actresses and models in late 2017.
And while she fully supports calling out and punishing male sexual transgressions, she also believes false accusations made on others could be harmful, especially to those proven to be innocent later on.
“I’m happy about the #MeToo movement for the simple fact that it brought exposure to those who were abusing their power,” she said. “However, I’m not happy with those who are using the #MeToo movement to be an excuse to take down people… It takes two to tango.”
Fox stressed the secret behind her own success has simply been putting in the work, even if that means skipping any shortcuts along the way.
“You’ve got to do the work,” said Fox. “If someone is trying to offer you an opportunity through the casting couch, don’t do it!”
Now Fox is hoping to help others in need. After some convincing from Dr. Phil, the star is hosting a new talk show called “Face the Truth" where guests reveal their problems to a panel of experts hoping to receive constructive criticism. The studio audience will also get the chance to weigh in.
Fox doesn’t mind if strangers are willing to air out their dirty laundry in front of cameras. In fact, she said it’s exactly what American audiences are eager to see.
“[People] want to see real folks with real problems,” she explained. “They’re tired of the celebrity fluff. … I’m helping others. It’s good for me, especially coming from the world of being a selfish actress when it’s always about me. It’s a good time to give back.”
Fox admitted she was hesitant to take on daytime TV after a decades-long career appearing on the big screen. However, Dr. Phil, a TV psychologist she considers a friend, wasn’t having it.
“Phil gave me the advice of, if I wanted to be successful in the daytime genre, then I had to be prepared to work hard,” she said. “It takes time to build a show. I’ve kind of gotten a little spoiled. Being a film actress, I get immediate results. You know whether or not your film was great or if it tanks.
"In the daytime genre, it takes time to build. So he said, ‘You’re gonna have to work hard. You either find your audience [or] build your audience and he’s absolutely correct.”
And Fox isn’t afraid of a challenge. She knows stars of Hollywood’s yesteryear would have easily been given the boot after age 30. However, she insisted it’s never been a better time to be a woman over 50 in Hollywood.
“It’s a beautiful time to be a woman over 50, to be a mature woman in Hollywood, to be very honest with you,” she said. “… You’re seeing women [who] are mothers over 40. From Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Uma Thurman — you’re seeing a lot of my co-stars, believe it or not, that are entering into new chapters of their lives and they’re still looking great and taking care of themselves."
“It’s a good time. Women are taking care of themselves. And finally, we’re being respected for that. And I also believe we’re seeing more wonderful programming and movies and opportunities for mature women. ... I’m a very proud woman to be in my 50s who’s having an amazing resurgence in her career.”
So Fox has zero plans to slow down. She’s returning to the hit series “Empire” as Cookie’s oldest sister, Candace. She originally made several guest appearances from 2015-17.
“Empire” tells the story of a hip-hop mogul and his family as they battle for control over his multimillion dollar company. It stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyons.
Fox revealed that while the two are friends off-camera, the 48-year-old Henson has happily taken on a new role personally.
“Right now she’s in her nesting place happily engaged [with] a new puppy,” said Fox.
As Fox’s career continues to thrive, she hopes to be an inspiration to other women.
“I planted a lot of seeds in the last couple of years that are all blossoming,” she said. “I’m really fortunate for them. People always tell me I’m always working. Well, you got to do the work to be successful. I hope that I’m a good role model… and let others know that you can go through different chapters of your career and be happy and successful.”