HBO "Vice Principals" star on shattering casting categories

Kimberly Hébert Gregory explains how creating categories across race and gender lines is better for us all


Rachel Leah
September 26, 2017 10:59PM (UTC)

"The industry has created these categories," actor Kimberly Hébert Gregory told Salon's Drew Lowther on "Salon Talks, speaking about casting in the TV industry. "I'm just hoping that as women, as women of color, and just women in general, we're able to take ourselves out of the categories and say: 'I'm not going to be the blonde lead, I'm going to be the strong woman.'"

Hébert Gregory currently stars in HBO's "Vice Principals," which will return later this year for its second and final season. She will also star in a new ABC drama titled "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World" alongside Jason Ritter, and premiering in October. Hébert Gregory's TV appearances have been expansive—"Grey's Anatomy," "Shameless," "The Big Bang Theory"— but as a black women in Hollywood, she knows intimately the challenges and limitations that race and gender often prescribe. But as she said on Salon Talks: "I want a seat at the table."

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"I want to be able to play the vixen," Hébert Gregory says of opening up space in casting. "I want to be able to play soft, but I want people to know that the artistry is there."

Certainly, Hébert Gregory sees Emmy wins from black actors like Sterling K. Brown and Donald Glover as "changing the conversation," she said. "I'm a big humanist, so I really believe we all benefit from hearing from everyone. Once we can all get to that point, where there are more seats at the table, there are more women at the table, there are more people of color at the time, there are more LGBTQIA people, we're better for that."

As marginalization and discrimination are front and center in our political and cultural spheres, Hébert Gregory is hopeful that "we can reprogram our minds to be open about women, gender, transgender and race," she said. "I think that's something that we're all working on as a country and so our industry will ultimately have to reflect that."

Watch our full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook.

Tune into Salon's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon and on Facebook.


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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