How Halle Berry Felt ‘Empowered’ in Her Catwoman Costume: ‘People Were Afraid to Approach Me’

Many see 2004’s Catwoman as a blotch on Halle Berry’s career. The film underperformed in the box office and earned Halle Berry an infamous Razzie award. However, there was some good that came out of the movie for Berry. For one, the Oscar-winner found some much-needed strength when she donned the Catwoman outfit.

Why Halle Berry once revealed that she needed ‘Catwoman’

Halle berry posing in a blue dress
Halle Berry | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Catwoman may have been poorly received by critics, but Berry once admitted that the film was necessary to her life. According to New York Post, Berry was just getting out of a marriage with r & b singer Eric Benet after his affairs. Berry initially learned of Benet’s infidelity while reading an article, where Benet was accused of cheating with an old fling. She then discovered that Benet slept with not just one woman, but multiple.

The Gothika star eventually separated from Benet not long after shooting Catwoman. Berry credited the film for initially helping her through such difficult times.

“I so needed to be Catwoman at that moment,” Berry said. “I needed to take control of my life and to make some tough life decisions for myself.”

To Berry, “Putting on that suit made it a whole lot easier.”

How Halle Berry felt empowered in her Catwoman costume

In addition to offering Berry a break from her personal issues, she revealed that the costume made her feel powerful. In an interview with Blackfilm, Berry went into detail about the effects becoming Catwoman had on her.

“I felt really confident and more than how I felt,” the John Wick star revealed.

This was partially because of how everyone treated her while she was in the costume.

“I felt a difference because everybody reacted to me differently. That made me feel different. Everybody stood back. People were afraid to approach me when they did and they did it with the utmost respect and kindness,” Berry said. “They measured their words and they were really different around me when I had the catsuit on. It made me act and feel empowered and more powerful. It was fun.”

Berry then shared how Catwoman could be seen as a role model for women everywhere.

“I’ve been taught since I was knee-high to a bullfrog to be subservient to men, to look for a man to rescue me and to be my Prince Charming and that I was not complete without a man,” Berry said. “Catwoman represents the total opposite that we are OK and complete and full all by ourselves, that we can do what we want to do, when we want to do it, how we want to do it.”

Halle Berry experienced several Janet Jackson moments in the Catwoman costume

Despite her pride in Catwoman’s wardrobe, the outfit came with a few setbacks. Because of the way the suit was designed, it wasn’t too conducive for stunts. Berry would find the costume slipping off of her and tearing several times while performing.

“You’re in a suit like that, and you’re doing backflips and cartwheels…things are bound to happen,” Berry said. “I can’t tell you how many times my pants split right open. I was having lots of Janet Jackson moments.”

Halle Berry burned her Razzie Award for ‘Catwoman’

Not many shared Berry’s respect and enthusiasm for the DC movie. Critics harped on this extreme interpretation of Catwoman, so much so that she was awarded a Razzie for the movie. But Berry didn’t take the criticism too personally and explained to VanityFair why she attended the ceremony.

“Well, I went to the Razzies because I feel like we take ourselves so seriously. If we get an award, if we get the Oscar, we somehow are made to feel like we’re somehow better than everybody else but we’re really not,” Berry said. “You were just chosen that year by your peers and you were acknowledged for doing what they considered stellar work.”

Because of this, Berry accepted the Razzie as a means to not take herself seriously.

“If I can show up to collect an Oscar when you’re honoring me, I can certainly show up to collect a Razzie when you say, ‘Good try, but do better,’” Berry confided.

However, Berry didn’t keep the award.

“So, I went there, made fun of myself, I had a great time. And then I set that thing on fire,” she noted.

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