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On the heels of the second season premiere of her hit WGN show Underground (returning March 8th,) Jurnee Smollett-Bell is serving up some fierce, retro glamour realness on the cover of Ebony magazine’s March issue.

To celebrate the annual Women’s History Month this March, Ebony magazine has selected Smollett-Bell as its cover girl. Set against a soft pink background recalling the presence of spring, she’s clad in a blue jumpsuit and a retro, faux bob hairstyle.

In an exclusive, in-depth interview, she opens up about being a former child star, her hit TV series, activism and more in the issue that’s on newsstands now.

There are many gems dropped by Smollett-Bell in the interview, as she shows a refreshingly candid side. Here are some of the highlights:

On being a child star

“I wouldn’t even call myself a former child star. I was a child actor; there’s a difference,” she explains. “People look at you and they think they know you. They think they can place you in a certain category by what they think they know about you. But there’s so much more to all of us than what we know and what we see at face value.”

Smollett-Bell as Rosalee on Underground


On ‘Underground’:

“I think we had seen the occupation so much, we wanted to see the revolution and that is what ‘Underground’ is,” says the actress, who plays Rosalee on the show. “It was the story of the uprising. It was the story of those of us who fought back, who attempted to fight for their freedom,” she explains. “That was a side of the story we were hungry to see in order to understand our whole history.”

On being underestimated in the industry: 

“Rosalee was underestimated, and I think that’s one of the [ways] I can relate to her. That’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life—people underestimating me,” the actress explains. “But also there’s a fire inside of her that sometimes she doesn’t even understand. There’s this inner strength that she has and in season 2; it’s almost like a manic strength, another superwoman strength.”

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Jurnee Smollett-Bell Is Retro Glam On ‘Ebony’ Cover  was originally published on