Willow Smith Told Oprah Winfrey She Wanted to Be an Actor Like Will Smith When She Was Just 5 Years Old

The Smiths are talked about more than ever thanks to Red Table Talk. Now, we’re taking a look back at when Jaden and Willow Smith were just children — and it seems their plans as kids certainly differ from their dreams as adults.

Back in 2006, Willow, Jaden, and Will Smith all appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. And Willow told Oprah Winfrey she wanted to be an actor like her famous dad.

Willow told Oprah Winfrey she wanted to be like her dad when she was a child

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Jaden got his first big break when he played a huge role in The Pursuit of Happyness alongside Will. And it seems Will was also hoping to bring Willow Smith into the spotlight. The little girl appeared on Winfrey’s talk show in 2006 alongside her brother and father, and she talked about what she thought of the movie and her own dreams.

“Have you seen your brother in the movie yet?” Winfrey asked 5-year-old Willow.

“Yeah!” she exclaimed.

“Do you think he did a good job?” Winfrey continued.

“Yeah,” Willow added. “I felt really like, I felt like the movie was connected to me.” And the audience, as well as Winfrey seemed stunned by her eloquence.

“You felt it was connected to you? OK, children!” Winfrey exclaimed. Then, the host asked the child if she also wanted to be an actor like Will.

“Yeah,” Willow stated affirmatively with a nod and a laugh from the audience.

Willow Smith felt a lot of pressure to become a star thanks to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith

Willow Smith
Willow Smith attends the Environmental Media Association 2nd Annual Honors Benefit Gala | Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Environmental Media Association

While Willow wanted to be like Jaden, Will, and Jada when she was 5, a lot changed after the success she found with her hit song, “Whip My Hair,” in 2010. Willow wasn’t so sure about all the attention she got after the song took her to new levels of fame. But it seems Will encouraged her to remain in the spotlight despite what she truly desired.

“I definitely had to forgive you [Jada] and Daddy for that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing,” Willow revealed on Red Table Talk. She then added that Will was “so harsh at times.”

According to Insider, Will felt slightly powerless when Willow decided she didn’t want to continue on with the fame that “Whip My Hair” brought her. “She really tested me,” Will explained. “She was like, no she didn’t want to. She was done with ‘Whip My Hair.’ She was done with performing, and as a protest, she shaved her head bald. That was really the first time that I realized that my family wasn’t happy with the direction that I was taking them.”

She’s now engaging with meaningful performance art

Paris Hilton and Willow Smith onstage during Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2
Paris Hilton and Willow Smith onstage during Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video

It doesn’t look like fans should expect Willow to star in any Hollywood films in the future despite what she may have said she wanted at 5 years old. While Willow still makes music and art, she’s not interested in commercial fame. Instead, she wants to create work that has real meaning.

Back in March 2020, USA Today reported Willow and musician Tyler Cole created a performance art piece for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The piece, titled “The Anxiety, ” had both Willow and Cole in a box surrounded by canvas walls. The two stars spent three hours in eight different emotional stages of anxiety.

“We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be so interesting if we could personify this experience? Starting from being scared and feeling alone and moving to a place of acceptance and joy?'” Willo explained to the LA Times.

While Willow is making compelling art in 2020, we’re excited to see where she goes from here and what she’ll be up to next.

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