Exclusive Interviews

Pam Grier Thought She Would Be A Camera Operator, 55 Years Later She's Still Stealing The Show On-Screen

The name Pam Grier has rang bells in the entertainment for over five decades. Her iconic name is undeniably recognizable in any room from here to Tokyo. The beloved Foxy Brown is a timeless treasure that turned 50 this year. Fast forward to the present and Pam is still captivating audiences with her latest role as Athena in Them: The Scare, but would you believe me if I told you it all happened by chance?

(L-R) Pam Grier, Joshua J. Williams, Deborah Ayorinde and Luke James attend a special Los Angeles screening of 'Them: The Scare'Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Pam Grier started her career in her early 20s after moving to Los Angeles to work for a production company as a switchboard operator in the late 1960s. That gig didn't last long, as she was discovered and cast in her first film four years later in 1971's The Big Doll House. Pam reflected on her early beginnings, telling xoNecole in an exclusive interview that she actually never sought to be an actor. "When I started out, I was a novice—a student. I had no intention of becoming an actor," she explained. "I was working five jobs, living in a garage. I thought I'd be a camera person. Never an actor because I was in fear." Pam continued, "I had fear of emotion. Fear of being attacked, fear of fighting, fear of being injured or injuring someone else. I had a lot of issues I had to grow into and grow out of."

"When I started out, I was a novice—a student. I had no intention of becoming an actor. I was working five jobs, living in a garage. I thought I'd be a camera person."

She quickly learned that the fear was only holding her back and after her on-screen debut—her career quickly took off. The following year, in 1972, she appeared in four films and the success continued through 1973 when she landed one of her most popular films to date, Scream Blacula Scream. Looking back, it's safe to say Pam Grier is one of the originators of the Black horror film genre. "To see from 50 years ago to now, the technology and the innovation—and the IN YO FACE action, stories, and narratives," she recalled. "Back then you had to prepare your audience to see a genre of horror and you had to build your audience to see a woman doing martial arts."

Actress Pam Grier in 'Scream, Blacula, Scream.'Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1974, she landed the role of Foxy Brown and the rest is history.

According to Pam, the early years had a big impact on her trajectory and taught her many valuable lessons including that fortune is on the other side of fear. Pam's epiphany is one that she stills holds close to her heart and it even partly inspired her latest character in some ways. "Athena in many ways encompasses a lot of the characters I've portrayed and [my] experiences because in theater and in this particular body of work—the first cut is the deepest. Take 1, that's it. There's no more you're done. You did it. You got there."

It is amazing to witness her iconic talent on-screen as Athena. It's had to believe that Pam Grier will celebrate her 75th birthday later this month. She has taught us many things as a Black woman with an unapologetic presence on-screen through generations and this should be yet another lesson: Fear just might be holding you back from your destiny!

Watch the full interview below.

Pam Grier Thought She Would Be A Camera Operator, 55 Years Later She's Still Stealing the Showyoutu.be

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Featured image by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images




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