Women’s Health

By Anna David

She’s warm, gracious, and more into yoga than pumping iron these days. But there’s something slighting intimidating about Jada Pinkett Smith. Even standing still, at all of 5 foot 2, she exudes a combination of inner and outer strength than commands respect. Who else could go eye to eye with Laurence Fishburne in the second and third Matrix flicks – and come across as the one less likely to crack? At 33, Jada’s got a lot of what she’s always wanted – a solid career, a supportive (superstar) husband (Will Smith), and three kids (Willow, 4, Jaden, 6, and Trey, 12, Will’s child from his first marriage). But “having it all,” as some would say, isn’t what she considers the point. What is? Constant change and challenge, which means branching out in new directions every chance she gets. Her latest projects include a recently released book, Girls Hold Up the World, a collection of poems and photographs that champions female empowerment; heading up a rock band called Wicked Wisdom, which toured Europe and opened for Britney Spears; and coproducing a UPN sitcom with Will.

No easy day at the beach. But having an easy life was never the point, either. As Jada was growing up, her mother and grandmother encouraged her to go after what she knew she wanted. Now she’s instilling that spirit and determination in her own kids. “We teach them that they’ve gotta work for what they want,” she says. “You have to allow that fire of motivation to burn.” Burn? Those kids are gonna have flames shooting out of their…

In the house I grew up in – a house with all women – we multitasked. My mother and grandmother always said I had to be a well-rounded child. There were piano classes, clay classes, French classes. It was one class after another. just so that I could find out what my loves and dislikes were. That gave me self-esteem. Growing up, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.

Absolutely. Will and I both make sacrifices. Him being famous and rich and handsome and monogamous – that’s a big old [challenge] for the both of us. Who said monogamy is easy? Will and I talk about it all the time. But we love each other enough. I think women make a big mistake in thinking that a man comes with this beautifully wrapped package, and what’s in it is pretty much the answer to all their dreams. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on somebody, and I think a lot of times we’re too afraid to put that responsibility on ourselves. Happiness is our responsibility; we can be as happy or as miserable as we choose to be.