Former teen beauty queen Halle Berry turned 49 last week and has never looked better. She made history in 2002 as the first — and still only — woman of color to win a lead actress Oscar, for her performance in "Monster's Ball." Berry became a Comic-Con favorite in a platinum wig for the role of Storm in the hit "X-Men" films.
For CBS' "Extant," a futuristic sci-fi mystery that raises provocative questions about technology, privacy and prejudice, Berry teamed with Steven Spielberg. She stars as astronaut Molly Woods, a loving mother in an intriguing blended family: Her son Ethan is a "Humanich," a lifelike android that can think and reason and has the capacity for love; her other son, Adhu, is a hybrid — part human, part alien. "Extant" captures the fight-to-the-death class warfare of "Hunger Games" and the covert government actions of Netflix's "House of Cards."
Now in Season 2, "Extant" has shifted its focus to Berry's character and the betrayals of her philandering husband, his vindictive mistress and her boss. The show's new character, JD Richter, is a ruggedly handsome investigator played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. According to Berry, JD and Molly will become close as they investigate her husband's murder and eventually give in to their sexual desire for each other.
You have long days on set. How do you keep your energy up?
I love going to work and playing a character that excites me. I love working with great people. The hardest part is missing my family because I'm working so many hours. … I have a little boy who is about to turn 2, so since I started this show I haven't gotten much sleep. Last year, I was nursing him and up every two hours at night. … I am not a napper. I wish I could nap. … Adding vegetable protein to a shake sustains my energy throughout the day.
What do you do to stay in shape?
It's a lot harder than it used to be [she laughs]. As I get older, I am more conscious of what I eat. I have never worked out with a lot of weights unless I had to for a film role. Left to my own devices, I just do cardio. I do exercises that involve my own body weight, because I never want to get too muscly. I am diabetic, so exercising has always been a part of managing my disease and keeping my sugars under control.
Do you ever work out with a trainer?
When my work schedule permits, sometimes I work out with a female trainer. No matter what, every day I exercise for at least 30 minutes.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with diabetes?
I was 19. I became much healthier as I learned how to manage it. It took a couple of years, and some scary situations, to accept that it was a lifestyle change and not a diet I could stop in six months. It meant learning to eat healthy and understanding that carbs break down to sugar quickly. I cut [most] processed sugar from my diet. … That's not to say I won't have a glass of red wine occasionally — it's my guilty pleasure. [If I do], I make sure the rest of my meals that day are clean and healthy: lots of vegetables; no breads … and lots of water.
In 2013, you testified before California lawmakers, advocating for privacy protection for children of public figures. How is the new law working?
Life with my kids has changed dramatically. We can go out. They [paparazzi] no longer sit in front of my house, lying in wait. They can't follow us throughout the day. They are more respectful and keep a healthy distance. They are not frightening my children or shouting inappropriate things.