Is there anything Michelle Williams can’t do? The beautiful and talented star has evolved many times in her life and she is nowhere near done. She’s added Broadway actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host, and inspirational speaker to her already robust resume, and as she enters the second act of her already prolific career, there is so much more to come.
Since her days of making hit after hit as a member of Destiny Child, one of the best-selling female groups of all time, and then as a solo artist with four critically acclaimed albums (Heart to Yours, Do Your Know, Unexpected, and Journey to Freedom), Williams has grown professionally and personally. Yes, the Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter has enjoyed the success that her singing career has brought, but she is now focusing on the projects and ventures that she feels she was really put on Earth to do.
One of those ventures is Believe at Home by Michelle Williams, a collection of home products, sold exclusively through the digital commerce company, Evine, consisting of exquisite and vibrant comforters, duvets, coverlets, sheets, and shams. It was her grandmother’s quilting that made Williams want to develop the beautiful and sophisticated line. “My grandmother made all of the bedding in her house, the comforters, the quilts — everything except for the sheets,” Williams remembers. “She would have a house full of grandkids running around, but she’d still be sitting on the sofa, quilting and at peace.”
Williams plans to expand Believe at Home into retail stores and eventually add curtains, bathroom accessories, and furniture to the burgeoning line. For her, the best part of running Believe at Home and being an entrepreneur is seeing her vision come to life. Several years ago, she jotted down the idea for the home line in her journal and now those words are a reality. “It’s not just a thought on the paper anymore,” Williams says. “From that thought to actually having the product in my hands took a lot of work, prayer, trusting people, and sitting with someone who actually believed in the concept and I thank them all.”
Another role that Williams has recently taken on is that of a motivational speaker. Public speaking has become a major part of her life and she is very passionate about it. She has spoken at events and forums across the country—captivating and rousing audiences, young and old. Last spring, she was a special guest speaker at a reception for Hillary Clinton, as well as the keynote speaker at the University of Notre Dame’s “Lunch and Learn.” Williams also moderated GRAMMY Pro’s “Up Close & Personal” panel featuring Lalah Hathaway and other music artists. Later this year, she will be a featured speaker at the Kennedy Forum in Chicago, an annual gathering where national and global thought leaders will discuss the stigma against mental health and substance use disorders.
In addition, Williams has signed on to be an ambassador for the Office on Women’s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to promote awareness about maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care, among women and young girls. She also plans to launch her own series of empowerment events, titled the Believe Tour. The seminars will feature panels, workshops, and other programs to inspire people to follow their dreams. “I want to encourage people to have patience and know that if they have an idea, do it. I did a small brunch in New Orleans of about 30 women and we were all in tears afterwards, because so many of those women had ideas that they had brushed aside,” says Williams. “I want to motivate people to keep believing. If they have an old business plan, I want them to dust it off and get to it again.”
Williams also wants to focus on mental health, an issue that has personally affected her and one in which many in the African American community do not like to talk about. But over the last few years, she has been very vocal and candid about her battle with depression, which she was able to overcome through her faith in God and therapy. “I had been dealing with depression since my teens, but back then, I chalked it up to growing pains or hormones. But when it lingered, I was able to put a name to it,” she says. “I had to learn not to entertain negative thoughts because they’re not real.”
In 2003, Williams fell in love with the Broadway stage, where she found solace and serenity, after making her debut in the title role of the hit musical “Aida,” succeeding Toni Braxton. Next, she appeared in a production of “The Color Purple,” playing blues singer Shug Avery in 2007, followed by “Chicago” on Broadway and London’s West End as chorus girl Roxie Hart in 2009, and then the stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know” in 2011 and national tour with the musical “Fela!” as Sandra Isadore in 2013. “I love the theater. It has been like therapy for me,” Williams says. “The characters that I play are strong women and they absolutely stay with me way after I’m done with the role. Parts of me are those characters,” she admits.
While Williams plans to continue working in theater, she also wants to land a regular stint on television. After starring in Oxygen network’s series “Fix My Choir” in 2014, as a mentor guiding choirs on their musical careers, and then serving as a guest host on “The View” and “Meredith,” Williams’ goal is to star on a talk show during the day, and then grace the Broadway stage at night. Her charming personality and her ability to command the stage and the small screen has her destined for even more success in both areas.
Williams has taken charge of her career, and her accomplishments have been plentiful, while her evolution has been exhilarating. “As I evolve, I am owing my mistakes, owning my failures, and embracing my sensitivity because that allows me to feel and own my feelings,” she says.
The secret to Michelle Williams’ success has not only been her strong faith, but it’s also the fact that she loves what she does and she follows her dreams and what’s in her heart. “If you are working hard, setting your goals, and you’re a good person, everything you set out to do can be done. Absolutely.”