Image by David Fenton
When it comes to art and life, Rebecca Walker pulls no punches, living large and joyously on a world stage that seems barely big enough to contain her energy and enthusiasm. Rebecca is a best-selling author (Black, White, and Jewish and Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence), gifted speaker--she has criss-crossed the country speaking on gender, race, feminism, and culture at institutions from Harvard University to Morehouse and Oberlin—and a teacher. With a dedication to making “the world better one conversation at a time,” Rebecca has developed her own master class, The Art of Memoir, where she mentors and teaches creatives of all walks of life how to tap into their dreams, use their voices, and let their stories touch the world. Rebecca’s first fiction novel is Adé, a powerful story that charts the expansiveness of love as well as the boundaries of the human heart.
If you could describe yourself in one hashtag, what would it be?
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My sister Jessica is amaze. She fell in love with my new book, Adé, decided we should make it into a movie, and now we're having meetings with Madonna. Jess is kind, brilliant, and, as we say in text, #unjadeable. Her belief in the good never wavers. No matter the news, she finds the silver lining. I feel so lucky to have her in my life.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
To raise a beautiful human being who leaves the planet better than he found it. To continue to be inspired and draw strength from the the lives and stories of others. To keep partnering with brilliant people on projects that are creative, relevant, and emotionally alive. To see my new book adapted to the big screen. To write and produce television that changes the way people see the world--a la the inimitable Shonda Rhimes, who inspires me no end. To love and be loved in perpetuity.
What are you most proud of?
My stamina as a mother, and devotion to my son's wellbeing. My new novel. My ability to make even the most challenging space beautiful. Founding Third Wave Foundation right out of college and giving micro grants to hundreds of young women doing social justice work. My relationship with my father. My first book, Black, White and Jewish.
What piece of advice changed your life?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Kicking ass in LA. Making amazing culture while drinking green juice twice a day. Laughing. Going to SoulCycle and Pilates twice a week. Having lots of great sex.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
To die without a bucket list.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
Gosh, one? Impossible. My mother, obviously. She taught me how to be artist---to spin real life into gold. She also showed me the importance of humility, and fed me with physical beauty when I was growing up, from tomatoes in the garden to amazing art in our living room. We traveled everywhere together, which allowed me to become a citizen of the world.
And then I've been influenced by so many others! From Miuccia Prada to Angela Davis; from performance artist Marina Abramovic to the 11th century Tibetan Tantric Buddhist practitioner and teacher Machig Labdron. So. Many. Powerful. Women.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
To have a child and allow him to change every aspect of my life--from how I think about myself to how intensely I scrutinize the nutritional value of food. I learned what a tremendous amount of love and energy and determination go into keeping just one person safe and whole---which makes me admire our species, and helps me keep hope alive. I also learned that each day provides another opportunity to be a better person and cultivate more compassion for others--and myself.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
Because if a friend is in need, I'm the girl who shows up.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor
Featured Image courtesy David Fenton