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Halle Berry opens up about beauty, boxing and survival

Academy Award-winning actor Halle Berry was a beauty queen before she became one of Hollywood's most sought-after stars. As a child, though, rather than finding escape in the arts, she found her solace in boxing, she tells Kelefa Sanneh in an interview for "CBS Sunday Morning," to be broadcast on CBS November 14 and streamed on Paramount+.

"Watching boxing on the weekends was my favorite pastime," she told Sanneh. "I would imagine that these men like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, and [Marvin] Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard … like they were my family.

"In my room, imagining these men were my fathers, or my husbands, but more my fathers," Berry said. "And I just loved the spirit of boxing. I loved everything it represented." 

For Berry, that love of the sport turned into her directorial debut, "Bruised," in which she stars as a disgraced MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter who must face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant re-enters her life. 

In real life, Berry has spent years training in kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other martial arts. In the fighting world, Berry said, women fight to get their power back, and to heal.

Sanneh asked, "A lot of fighters talk about 'they fight because they have to.' With you it seems like you're doing this because you want to?"

"Because I have to. I have to, too; I have to survive," she replied. "I had to make a way for myself. I've had to support myself. I've had to create a career for myself, a way out of  'no way.' 'No' has never been an answer for me. Getting hurt and stopping? Never what I do. Questioning? Never what I do. Taking chances? Always what I do, because I have to."

To watch a preview clip click on the video player below: 

Berry said she believes all women should know how to fight and understand its power, including her 13-year-old daughter.  

"You know what it says to her? She can do anything she wants. And as a little girl, a little Black girl, a woman – a girl of color – she needs to see these images, she needs to realize that her mom can do anything she sets her mind to doing. She needs to, she needs to understand that … what she will have to do, and I'm going to require this, is she will have to learn some form of martial arts. Like, I'm adamant about especially women learning how to protect themselves. I think that's key." 

To watch a trailer for "Bruised" click on the video player below: 

Bruised | Halle Berry | Official Trailer | Netflix by Netflix on YouTube

The Emmy Award-winning "Sunday Morning" is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. ET. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN [beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET] and Paramount+, and is available on and

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For more info:

  • "Bruised" streams on Netflix beginning November 24
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