Ava DuVernay: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me (‘I Didn’t Pick Up a Film Camera Until the Age of 32’)

Ava DuVernay: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me
Ava DuVernay Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Ava DuVernay, director of hit movies A Wrinkle in Time and Selma, gives Us Weekly a behind-the-scenes look at her life. Read on to learn about the 46-year-old’s favorite musician, the celebrities she’s been stuck in elevators with and more.

1. Without glasses or contact lenses, I can’t see detail of any kind more than an arm’s length away.

2. I didn’t pick up a film camera until the age of 32.

3. I made my first narrative feature film using savings for a house.

4. In spring 2018 — with my salary from A Wrinkle in Time — I bought three buildings near Echo Park in Los Angeles and built a creative campus centered on images made by women and people of color.

5. I love Le Labo candles.

6. I’ve seen U2 in concert 29 times.

7. My mother [Darlene’s] nickname is Doll — and she is one.

8. I’m the oldest of five siblings.

9. I have two brothers: One was born on Christmas Eve, and the other on the anniversary of the Los Angeles rebellion.

10. I started a public relations company at age 27.

11. My favorite job in college was as a waitress at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in Los Angeles. Every Sunday afternoon, Little Richard would come for brunch and tip me a cool $100

12. I used to play the drums.

13. I’ve seen every episode of The Twilight Zone ever made — even the rare ones — and have cross-referenced each with my trusty Twilight Zone Companion workbook [by Marc Scott Zicree].

14. I’ve been stuck on elevators with Tom Cruise, André Leon Talley and Bruce Willis — all at different times.

15. My first fender bender occurred as I happened to be passing the house of the boy I liked. Note to younger self: Keep your eyes on the road even when the object of your desire is watering his lawn [in a tank top].

16. I can’t chew gum because I always bite the inside of my mouth.

17. I like to read poetry.

18. I remember the moment I fell in love with film. It was the first time I saw [1961’s] West Side Story at my Aunt Denise’s apartment, circa 1982. “I just met a girl named Ma-riiiii-a!”

19. I meditate every morning.

20. I like to hike.

21. I haven’t picked up a hair brush since March 2004.

22. Oprah taught me that bad things aren’t happening to you; they’re happening for you.

23. I love to have breakfast at night.

24. My first job was scooping frozen yogurt. I had a perfect swirl.

25. I love to read magazines. I recently guest-edited Time magazine’s Art of Optimism issue.

VH1’s Trailblazer Honors will pay tribute to DuVernay on March 8 (International Women’s Day) at 9 p.m. to kick off Women’s History Month.

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