Monday, July 9, 2012

"I Got This".....Jennifer Hudson's story

I've struggled. I've been an unknown trying to make it. I've been overweight. I could easily live without the fame and the fortune---but the one thing I could never give up is how healthy I feel now that I have lost what was weighing me down."

- Jennifer Hudson

Her book, "I Got This", is truly an underdog success story.  Not only because she came out of nowhere to achieve Hollywood standing, but because she rose above tragedy to regain her physical and emotional strength.

For those who don't know her story, here's the short version:

Jennifer Who?

A singer from Chicago, performed at weddings, cruise ships and talent shows. In 2004 she was a finalist on American Idol.

In her FIRST movie role ever in 2006, she gave an amazing performance as "Effie" in Dream Girls. This won her 29 awards, the most significant was the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, proving that talent lies with relative unknowns as much as the famous.

In 2008 suffered an unimaginable tragedy when her mother, brother and nephew were murdered by her sister's ex husband.

Currently, she has a little boy, a fiance' and has maintained a stratospheric career.

Her book is a great read, and inspiring. However, it is surprising in one way. She never directly discusses or gives any attention or details to the murder of her mother, nephew and brother. I don't know why but am guessing it's either because it is too painful, too private, or because she doesn't want to give any extra attention to a murder and the darkness surrounding it. Interesting and rare.

I have worked as a rehearsal actor on a couple of shows where Jennifer performed. To say her voice and emotion affect people is an understatement. Her rendition of "Believe" for Brooks and Dunn: The Last Rodeo, their final tribute, had the MGM Garden Arena fellow entertainers and crew mesmerized...these are Hollywood pros, used to seeing the best of the best. The chill that went through the room was palpable when she sang the first line.

Just a few months ago she closed the "Smith Center for the Performing Arts Opening Gala Concert" with "Bless This House". (See my post 3/30).....I was finishing up for the day as a stand in and my husband came to pick me up. I brought him in the theatre for a few minutes. He noticed everyone was just standing there, sort of stopped in their tracks, not doing anything. I told him, Jennifer Hudson is singing....she tends to have that effect on people.

Her manager and life long best friend, Walter, borrowed my cell phone earlier in the day to call her backstage since his battery died. And yes, I told him I'd erase her number....and did. What a friendly and unassuming guy he is...
I notice that Jennifer does not emit any energy while waiting to rehearse. She's so quiet and introverted I literally walk by her and feel nothing. Maybe it's because she is saving it all up for her performance, whether it be a rehearsal or not.  She just goes "inside herself".

Surprise! Jennifer has a guest starring role as Veronica Moore on one of my favorite shows, "Smash". Look for her in the 2013 season.    "I Got This"   Jennifer Hudson

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