Oprah: There's nothing like knowing you're going to get kicked out of a $28-a-night hotel.
Charlize: There's nothing more powerful than a vulnerable woman. I knew my power. What I didn't know is that I was auditioning for a guy who would end up being my manager. On the way out, the man who'd helped gave me his card. [He was John Crosby, who represented John Hurt and Rene Russo.] He said, "If you're interested, I'll represent you."
Oprah: Why do you think that happened?
Charlize: I'd be unbelievably wrong to say there isn't such a thing as the right place, right time—luck. If I hadn't met John, I don't know what I would have done next. I had no idea how to get a manager. If I hadn't been in the bank that day, I honestly don't think I'd be here right now. There are so many talented actors who don't ever get the chance.
Oprah: Why did you?
Charlize: I don't know, but I go down on my knees in extreme gratitude. I don't take it for granted. I know all these actors who are probably more talented than I am. I've taken the chance and done my best with it.
Oprah: I don't believe in luck.
Charlize: I think I was lucky. Can you imagine if I had just walked into some agency with the really, really heavy South African accent? My accent wasn't French-sexy or Spanish-sexy. It was some crazy accent nobody had ever heard, and I had never acted in my entire life. "Can you represent me?" Please! I was definitely lucky.
Oprah: Don't you think your looks had something to do with it?
Charlize: I'm sure. He's a guy, right? But at the end of the day, I was also aware that looks can only get you so much.
Oprah: Let's talk about your beauty for a moment. When I first walked in, I thought, "You are as beautiful as beauty gets."
Oprah: You just are.
Charlize: That was never emphasized in the house I was raised in. I don't think my mom ever said, "Isn't she a pretty girl?" She'd say, "You should hear her sing. You should read this poem she wrote." The praise was always about what I'd done, not how I looked.
Oprah: You were fortunate.
Charlize: What most people don't realize is that no matter how others see you, you have to wake up to yourself every morning. And I really love myself. I'm comfortable in my skin. But there are some mornings when I look in the mirror and go, "Not so good." Then other times when I get my hair and makeup done, I stand at the mirror and go, "I like it. It's hot." And I think all women do that.