Interview with Daphne Maxwell Reid
Everyone remembers Daphne Maxwell Reid as an iconic TV mom of the 1990s, from her three seasons as Aunt Vivian on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” These days Reid is a Renaissance woman, respected artist and designer, and education activist. Working from her home in Virginia, and still happily married to pioneering television actor/producer/writer/director Tim Reid (“WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Frank’s Place”), Daphne Maxwell Reid is living proof that a passion for creativity and a dedication to hard work can ensure a lifetime’s worth of success.
Breaking new barriers is nothing new to Reid, who decades ago became the first African-American homecoming queen at Northwestern University and shortly thereafter one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Glamour magazine. But many fans of her modeling and acting career probably don’t know that Reid is a lifelong shutterbug, a hobby passed down by her father that has now become a focal point of her career. With five books and 5 annual calendars already published, Reid specializes in fine art photography that features doors and doorways from around the world, including Cuba, Venice, France, China, Germany, and Belgium. Now she’s added to her publishing resume with her first cookbook, “Grace + Soul & Motherwit,” which offers her favorite recipes spiced with personal memories and reflections from her life and travels.
Reid has also been a seamstress for much of her life, creating many of her own outfits and costumes as a young actress and model, and has now developed those skills into an exclusive, custom clothing line called Daphne Style, making Chinese silk brocade jackets that are wearable works of art. She also keeps busy as the Host of Virginia Currents (PBS), and as a spokesperson for Virginia State University, a historically black college/university (HBCU), doing outreach, public relations, and speaking engagements that allow her to preach the importance of education and career prep for students of color.
A thoughtful, inspiring, and fascinating professional with over five decades of experience, Daphne Maxwell Reid continues to demonstrate that mastering a new skill is always possible for an artist with a generous spirit and self-determination.