Sue Monk Kidd’s best-selling 2002 novel, The Secret Life of Bees, hits the big screen in October. Sophie Okonedo, who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar in 2004 for her role in Hotel Rwanda, plays May, the tenderhearted sister of three strong Southerners who take in a young girl (Dakota Fanning). Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys costar in the drama, making for a very musical atmosphere offscreen. But Okonedo, 39, left the singing to the professionals. “I just played the tambourine in the
background,” she says.
ON MAY: “May’s feelings—they’re sort of much more pumped up than mine,” says the actress. “The grief and sadness and joy and all those human feelings.”
FASHION PHILOSOPHY: The London-born and -based actress doesn’t use a stylist for redcarpet events. Instead, she often pulls clothes from her favorites, like Vivienne Westwood and Giorgio Armani, adding, “I have no problem wearing a dress again. I just think this consumerist world we live in, I don’t need to add to it by demanding new jackets and dresses every time I go out.”
UP NEXT: Skin, the true story of Sandra Laing, a South African woman in the Sixties who was born black to two apartheid-supporting white parents. “I do love stories about Average Joes who overcome,” Okonedo says. “But I definitely need to do a comedy.”