Behind every success story lies an individual who has struggled with their past and faced whatever their life threw head-on. Some of the most vibrant folk in society seem to all have an inspiring story. For example, TV talk show host Queen Latifah (real name Dana Owens). In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping, the 43-year-old Jersey-bred talent opens up about just how dim her light once was. Peep a few excerpts where she chats about her painful past (being molested at 5 years-old), how she handled the loss of her brother and almost losing a friend in a dangerous carjacking, along with how instrumental Jada Pinkett Smith was in her seeking therapy.
On making the decision to love herself:
I think I got to that place by not being happy with the other side — hating your body and criticizing yourself all the time. When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself. And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.
On feeling broken after her brother’s death:
My life was rocked to the core…I felt guilty, because I was angry at God. ‘Lance was not there for me to share it with, And I was thinking, Well, I don’t need this. I’d rather have my brother back.’
On abusing alcohol after tragedies:
Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself. Every day I would be faded, like a painting that’s just not vibrant, whose edges are dull, I wasn’t living my full life.
On what she learned from therapy (suggested by Jada Pinkett-Smith):
We ignore our feelings a lot, I realize. Many of us have to…until they really bite us in the butt. What set me free was looking at it from a different perspective, I was 5, manipulated and afraid. You have to say something. The power of those who perpetrate the abuse is your fear and your shame…and that’s unacceptable.
On remaining faithful through her trials:
I was continuously praying, I realized that wasn’t helping me or my brother. I learned that God was going to provide comfort; I know He is always listening and guiding…I got this little message in my head that I feel was from God. It was as clear as day, like a voice that said to me, ‘Dana, don’t let it all go, because you’re gonna get through this.’ Nobody is perfect. I know that I’m not a saint, but God’s love is there for me. I know that I need help to make it through every day, so I pray to God to help me do the best I can, to lift me up when I am tired and help me develop into the person He wants me to be…I am always surrounded by His love, and He is always there.
Her positive outlook on life:
The world is going to keep turning whether I’m here or not. Taking the worry of the world on my shoulders is not right. My New Year’s resolution is to stay humble and be joyous, whether that’s spending time with family, hiking, driving around, listening to music, or playing with my dog. It’s so important to take care of ourselves that way.