Photography & Editorial By Ramón Rik Singley II
Gillian White is a woman with many angles and is proving again in her versatility on screen. From music video maven to well-known sitcom roles and now she plays a deadly terrorist in “Sudden Death,” scheduled to be released June 2020.
As we bask in the incessant vibes of Palihouse Hotel in West Hollywood for our photo production and interview for L.A. Style Magazine, it’s become evident Michael Jai White and his wife, Gillian White, are on the same page. Literally! What can be better than matrimony to not only your soul mate but also to the person who can match you and level the playing field of work? Michael Jai and Gillian are besties. They’ve been married for 7 years and now have the rare opportunity to work together as partners in life and partners on the silver screen, something rarely if ever achieved in Hollywood. As we take this time to focus on women’s empowerment, life as Hollywood actors and more, it’s very evident that life and career are on the upswing with many more bright days ahead.
I started out starring in major music videos in 1994, but I’ve been acting in television and film since 1996: ‘Martin,’ ‘Xena: Warrior Princess,’ ‘How To Be A Player,’ ‘Days of Our Lives,’ and many other sitcoms and dramas. As a woman in this business, I’ve been given ‘opportunities’ to do bigger roles or bigger films by dating a director or producer or by kissing up to people. However, I chose a long time ago to never lower myself and take the easy route. The path I chose for my career has taken longer and had a few more bumps in the road, but I am totally okay with that.
As an African American actress, roles are limited; every actress is competing for these limited parts. If you have a name for yourself, you are given more opportunities. We are all still fighting, but I believe there are more opportunities now for Black actors and actresses in general because there are now more Black and/or female showrunners, directors, writers and producers. In the past, those positions were filled mainly by White men.
I am an incredibly lucky woman! Many have lost faith in relationships and marriage, and I totally understand. My first marriage was–how can I say it nicely–extremely substandard. I honestly thought that after it ended, I was done with relationships.
Michael and I have known each other for 23 years. We dated back in 1997 and then went our separate ways (for no bad reasons). We always remained friends, and we came back together in 2012. We have been on Cloud 9 ever since. We have the best relationship; no one ever believes us, but in all the time we have known each other, we have only had three disagreements. Our marriage requires no work. We are best friends, and every day we enjoy each other and our life together.
We always communicate our feelings, and we are honest with each other. We share everything: the good, the bad and uncomfortable. Marriages fall apart when you can’t be honest with yourself and your partner. There are no egos in our relationship.
We are a team, not competitors. Our careers in Hollywood are secondary. It has no effect on our marriage because we both know that what we have together is like finding a leprechaun riding a unicorn under a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end of it. It’s unbelievable! The world sees how much we love and support each other. My husband is extremely supportive of my career. We are supportive of each other. If I have an audition, he’ll read lines with me, give me direction and work with me until it’s perfect. I do the same for him. He is a great actor but sometimes I can give him a different way to say a line or how I see it from my angle and he’ll take that direction and thank me. We’re a team.
Women’s empowerment is very relevant today – it’s our time to show the world our strength, our intellect, our power and our worth because we are worth so damn much. It’s our time to tear down the four sides of this box we have been put into for so long.
I was and still am supportive of the #MeToo movement. For so long, women (and some men) have been subjected to powerful men sexually harassing without repercussions due to their top tier positions and the victims’ fears of losing their careers. I, thankfully, have never had anything like that happen to me. No one should have to feel afraid to speak up and confront someone for their foul actions. These perpetrators have gotten away with it for so long and the #MeToo platform has given victims a voice to be heard and the support to stand strong against them. I love how social media has made these platforms even stronger and bigger. The speed that justice happens is so gratifying!