That Halle Berry kick-started her career in beauty pageants (she was the first runner-up in the 1986 Miss USA pageant) is no surprise; the actress has had plenty of magazine real estate over the years devoted to discussions of her staggeringly gorgeous looks. So it’s notable that her first significant film role was not earned by her appearance at all: She played a crack addict in Spike Lee’s seminal Jungle Fever. And over the course of her career Berry has continued to cherry-pick roles that are similarly challenging. She played a drug-addicted mother in Losing Isaiah, stepped into some very famous shoes in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and earned a best actress Academy Award (the first ever for an African-American) for her role as the wife of an executed murderer in Monster’s Ball.
Berry has always been just as savvy about her style choices, gravitating to simple, body-conscious dresses that show off her famously fit physique.