“I give 100 percent, whether it’s singing or acting,” says Jennifer Hudson. “I hope I never have to choose between the two.” Fortunately, it’s doubtful she’ll ever have to: After a stint as an American Idol finalist in 2004, the Chicago native’s biggest asset — her canyon-size voice — helped her leap onto the big screen. In her debut film role, as singer Effie White in 2006’s Dreamgirls, she stole the spotlight from fellow double threats Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx and nabbed an Oscar for best supporting actress. Now, after three albums (including last year’s JHUD), more big-screen gets (Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees), a new single with Iggy Azalea (“Trouble”) and a recent appearance on hit Fox show Empire, Hudson, 33, ventures into new territory this fall: her Broadway debut, as Shug Avery in a revival of The Color Purple.
Nailed It On The First Try
“I had never even thought of acting, to be honest. It was actually my mom who was like, ‘Jenny, I think you could act.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, whatever, Mama.’ Then I turned around and won an Academy Award on my first film. The only other acting experience that I had was [when I performed] on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.”
She Knows Her Roots
“Music is in every element of what I do. Even if I’m not singing, music is what’s guiding my emotions.”
One Thing At A Time
“I don’t want to have too many irons in the fire because something suffers. I like to focus on whatever it is I’m doing at the time. If it’s film, I don’t want to sing at all. If it’s singing, I don’t want to do film at all. Music was always first for me, it’s my love and passion. But I’m a tree with many branches, and there’s so much more to express.”
The Road To Egot Starts With A Puppy
“I have three dogs named Dream, Oscar and Grammy. I got Oscar before I won my Oscar; I got Grammy before I won my Grammy. So I want to get a dog and name it Emmy and name another one Tony, then hopefully …”
– She has landed 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
– In 2006, Hudson won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls.
– She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.