How Daphne Maxwell Reid Turned Her Passions Into A Lifelong Career Of Fulfillment

by Ellyce Ferguson

May 9, 2018

Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

You probably know Daphne Maxwell Reid, as “Aunt Viv” from the iconic 90s TV Show, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, or Hanna Griffin from Frank’s Place.

THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR — “I Done: Part 1 & 2” Episode 23 & 24 — Pictured: (l-r) Ross Bagley as Nicky Banks, Daphne Reid as Vivian Banks, Will Smith as William ‘Will’ Smith — Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

What you may not know, however, is that she is a trailblazing activist, clothing designer, entrepreneur, and artist who is making significant strides on a daily basis to help improve the community. She hasn’t let up since her earlier acting days and is still boldly pursuing her passions!

Let’s start from the beginning, though. Before you knew her as your favorite TV auntie, she was already making black history as the first African-American homecoming queen of her alma mater, Northwestern University – and her platform did not go to waste.

On May 3, 1968 students of the Illinois school staged the first major sit-in in the Bursar’s Office to fight for everything from scholarships, housing, counseling and facilities, and enhanced service and support for Black students in all of these areas. They were able to negotiate with faculty and provide better accommodations as a result!

Reid was a part of the peaceful 36-hour protest that has been turned into a movie to celebrate its 50-year-anniversary. The film premiered over the weekend at the Swissôtel in Chicago. The actress was honored and interviewed about her participation, and her thriving career.

Just a year after the occupation, the actress achieved another major accomplishment by becoming one of the first African-American women to grace the cover of Glamour Magazine in 1969.

Did you know that the model and actress’ talents don’t end there? She is also a fashion designer, with her own wearable art clothing line called Daphne Style. The artist’s creations are not limited to clothing, however. The 69-year-old is also a talented photographer who specializes in taking photographs that feature doors and doorways around the world.

DENVER,CO–November 20Th, 2009–Actress/photographer, Daphne Maxwell Reid, hangs one of her pictures at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library Saturday evening. Reid was in town for her photographic exhibit entitled, “Stepping Into the Future,” showcasing her Doors collection. Andy Cross, The Denver Post (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The photographer has taken this talent with her to Cuba, Venice, France, China, Germany, and Belgium. Reid already has five books and five annual calendars published – and she is just getting started.

This is how you take your passion, ambitions, and creativity and turn it into a fulfilling lifetime career. While she’s created a thriving career for herself, she’s also maintained a successful marriage to fellow TV pioneer, producer, writer, and director Tim Reid – who she’s been married to since 1982.

THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR — “100th Episode Party” — Pictured: (l-r) Tim Reid, Daphne Reid as Vivian Banks — Photo by Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

“It’s so exciting to be married to someone who dreams as big as he does,” she says in her bio obtained from Don411.  “I’m proud of being his spouse and proud of the energy he gives me to follow my dreams.”

We can all learn something from the Daphne who has displayed that self-determination can take you a very long way, and cultivate a lifetime of prosperity!

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