Suburbicon actress Karimah Westbrook was born and raised in Chicago, and made the leap to Los Angeles thanks to none other than Whoopi Goldberg. “At the time, she was like the black woman who looked like me,” Westbrook tells us. “She had natural hair, was a leading lady and she was funny. She did so many films and I just—it kind of took me out of my world.” Thanks to Whoopi (don’t we all she was our good luck charm?) and Westbrook’s undeniable talent, the actress went on to appear in projects like The Rum Diary, Mad Men and Shameless. Now, Westbrook’s shine continues to grow thanks to George Clooney’s latest directorial project: Suburbicon.
The film, also starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, follows the Mayers, a black family that moves into a suburban Pennsylvania community in the 1950s and faces harassment and violence from their white neighbors. “We always thought it was good to remind ourselves that these are not new elements,” Clooney told The Atlantic about the film’s relevance to today. And to Westbrook, who portrays the matriarch of the Mayer family, the film’s historical significance is just as important. “This is a very important part of black history,” she says of the Mayers’ real-life story, “and a lot of people really aren’t aware of how they made changes within the housing institution as far as integration in that regard. They basically broke the color barrier during that time.”
The actress also says her audition process was a little unorthodox: Clooney called her in for a meeting, asked about her career thus far, and basically offered the job on the spot. So, it seems, Westbrook’s L.A. luck is far from running out.
Below, see where you can find the actress on her time off in Hollywood.
Cup of Joe: My favorite coffee shop is Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop in Van Nuys.
Power Lunch: My favorite lunch spot is Tocaya Organica on Sunset Blvd. I love their Venice Beach bowl.
Cocktail Hour: I wish I had a suggestion but I don’t drink!
Retail Therapy: My favorite place to shop is the clothing trading store Crossroads.
Field Trip: My favorite place to visit is Catalina Island.
Date Night: My favorite dinner spot is Maria’s Italian Kitchen, they have the best vegetarian lasagna.
Don’t Miss: Venice beach.
Hidden Gem: The Magic Castle.
Main Image: Photo by Storm Santos, Styled by Tracie May-Wagner, Makeup by Ricardo Ferrise