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Daphne Maxwell Reid: Homecoming Queen, Glamour Magazine, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Frank’s Place and More…

Exclusive interview by Karen Beishuizen

Daphne Maxwell Reid is a familiar face on television. She played Vivian Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” from 1993-1996. She also is an accomplished photographer, interior and fashion designer and writes books too. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Tim Reid.

KB: You are best known as Vivian Banks in ” The Fresh Prince of Bel Air “, a role you took over from Janet Hubert: How did you get the role and how difficult is it to make the role your own when someone else played it before you?

I was offered the role after auditioning with about 200 other women. I had no problem bringing what I have of me to that role, never intending to try to be like Janet. That was never a requirement. The writers found a classy and clever way to note the difference in my first episode.

KB: Are you still in touch with the cast and there was a reunion?

Always. We are a family. You can watch the reunion on HBO Max, September 2020. Check it out.

KB: You were named the first African American Homecoming Queen at North-western University? When was this and what was the reaction from people? You must have been proud.

The experience was not a pleasant one. I had no idea what a Homecoming Queen was, but the University population did not receive me well, in addition to not including me in the yearbook with the excuse “it wasn’t important this year”. It took the University 40 years to apologize to me for their actions.

KB: At university, you signed up with the Eileen Ford Modelling Agency and became the first black woman on the cover of Glamour Magazine: This must have been a proud moment and what was your reaction and that from the people around you?

It was a wonderful adventure that was totally unexpected. It still seems to be an impressive thing with the public. To me, it was just another modelling job with a great legacy.

KB: You are an accomplished photographer, interior and fashion designer: You designed face masks during the pandemic? And you have your own designer line called Daphne Style? Where can people buy these masks and clothes?

They are all now custom orders that can be acquired by going to my website.

KB: You wrote a cookbook “Grace + Soul & Mother Wit,”: what are the recipes like and what else is in the book?

The book is a mini memoir filled with photos, recipes, and stories about my growing up and the people I met on my journeys throughout my careers. It is also written for people who have never cooked before, with term explanations, hints, and detailed instructions, and fun stories accompanying each recipe.

KB: You photographed doors all over the world which are now put on tote bags? Why your interest in doors? Where can people buy these tote bags?

Doors represent a metaphor for life, adventure, curiosity, opportunity. I am attracted to the craftsmanship, colors, and textures that I see in doors around the world. Through my photographs and books, I try to encourage people to notice the details in their lives that make the journey to their goal a richer experience. The limited edition (24) tote bags are handmade (by me) with a fabric I designed of a myriad of my favorite doors from around the world. They can be purchased on my website.

KB: Frank’s place was on TV in Holland back in the late 80s. I loved that show where you play opposite your husband Tim Reid: How was it playing with your husband in the same show? How different is it from The Fresh Prince where James Avery played your on-screen husband?

Frank’s Place is my favorite show. I have starred in several series with my husband over the 40 years we’ve been together. He has also been my director on several projects. Working with him is gratifying, knowing he has my back and I have his. Working with James Avery was also a wonderful experience. I learned a lot from both.

KB: You also did a talk show together: The Tim and Daphne Show?

We did 72 episodes of the talk show, which was shot in Baltimore, MD. The experience was memorable for all the fun we had interacting with a wide range of guests.

KB: Are there any current actors/actresses/directors that you would like to work with? What kind of role would be interested in you to play?

I am looking forward to working on any project with a group of people that want to produce good content. Any role that does not impinge on my integrity as a human being, is one I want to play.

KB: We can see you in a new movie called ” Trophy Wife ” where you play Brenda? Tell us a bit more about your role and what the movie is about?

Trophy Wife is the story of the estrangement of two people and the consequences of bad behavior. I play the main female character’s grandmother who is very interested in the welfare of her granddaughter…. far more interested than she should be??

Here is Daphne’s website where you can have a look at the clothes, bags, and masks: HERE