Queen of Our Kingdom: Regina King Is Killing Us Softly in Marie Claire's 'Ambition Issue'

Illustration for article titled Queen of Our Kingdom: Regina King Is Killing Us Softly in Marie Claire's 'Ambition Issue'
Screenshot: Thomas Whiteside (Marie Claire)

That face. That body. That presence. That talent. That longevity. Regina King is giving it all in Marie Claire’s November issue, appropriately titled the “Ambition Issue.” On the verge of her superhero moment in HBO’s Watchmen, King is reminding us that she’s more than built for the role, in a sleek spread for the magazine, photographed by Thomas Whiteside.


Inside the issue, we’re reminded that King’s moment has been three decades long—if not widely recognized until her recent successes. (And fun fact: she once aspired to be a dentist.)

As the magazine notes:

It’s easy to underestimate what it has taken for King to thrive—as a black woman, actor, director, and producer—in Hollywood. It’s human nature to try to condense an unwieldy 34 years of acting talent and endurance into a media-friendly “moment.” That’s 34 years of stealing the screen (large and small), of never playing any role the same way twice, of doing voice-overs for two characters in the same show (The Boondocks), of winning no major awards for the large majority of those years and then suddenly earning them in rapid succession: Emmys in 2015 and 2016 for ABC’s American Crime, another Emmy in 2018 for Netflix’s Seven Seconds, a 2019 Academy Award and Golden Globe for If Beale Street Could Talk.

“[T]he fact of the matter,” Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof tells the magazine, “is that Regina King is not having a moment. Regina King is here to stay, in the way that Meryl Streep was having a moment when Kramer vs. Kramer came out, and 30 years later she’s still having a moment in Big Little Lies. Regina King is one of if not the greatest living actor. And we have only just begun to see what she is capable of.”

As for King, she’s acutely aware that despite her lasting and still-growing status in Hollywood—including her upcoming feature film directorial debut with One Night in Miami—as a black woman she’s still expected to do everything twice as well, and twice as fast as her white counterparts. You know, like instantly making good on that Golden Globes promise to staff her productions with 50 percent women.

“Have you seen an announcement of me producing something yet?” she asks. “That speech was six months ago. Goddamn...I’m held to account. Not having as many of the opportunities or resources as a white man or a white woman in the industry, but now that I’m the one that’s decided to say that I’m going to use what I’ve been given to do more, it needs to have been done yesterday?”


And like “Sister Night,” the superhero she plays in Watchmen, King says she’s more than ready to check her naysayers and combatants, if necessary.

“Turn the other cheek? I don’t quite believe that. I do believe that sometimes you’re supposed to turn the other cheek, sometimes they’re supposed to get smacked back, sometimes they’re supposed to get knocked the fuck out, you know? And taking that moment to assess the situation will help you.”

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Mama don’t play!

I am so glad that she is getting the recognition that she so richly deserves. She has been working on her craft and career for so many years that most people mistakenly think she is an overnight sensation (30+ years in the making).