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People Top 5
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- October 26, 1998
- Vol. 50
- No. 15
Through Beloved, Kimberly Elise Forges Her Future—and Comes to Terms with Her Past
And proud of it. Oprah Winfrey, who portrays an ex-slave in Jonathan Demme's screen adaptation of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, needed just one look. Explains Winfrey, who plays Elise's mother in the film: "I saw a photo of her and believed she could be my daughter." For her part, Elise—who made her film debut in 1996's Set It Off—felt "it was my destiny" to play her character, Denver. Like Denver, Elise—-one of four children of Marvin Trammel, owner of an executive search firm, and Erma, a third-grade teacher—felt isolated outside her home. "It wasn't like kids said, 'Let's leave her out,' " she says. "They didn't see me to begin with."
But the graduate of L.A.'s renowned American Film Institute is not one to feel self-pity. Expecting her second child with her husband, photographer Maurice Oldham, this month, the mother of Aja, 8, feels even more emboldened by Beloved. "If I come from a people who can escape slavery pregnant and barefoot," she says, "then what can I not do?"
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