Veteran actress Daphne Maxwell Reid is excited to show her Pittsburgh fans some love this holiday season.
The “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star will be in town along with some of her other former co-stars for Steel City Comic Con at the Monroeville Convention Center, Dec. 7-9.
“It’s a signature signing event and we get to see the fans who like us, share our photos with them and chat with them,” explained Reid, who famously portrayed Aunt Vivian on the beloved sitcom opposite Will Smith.
Since then, Reid, who decades ago became the first Black homecoming queen at Northwestern University and one of the first African Americans to appear on the cover of Glamour magazine, hasn’t slowed.
Not only is acting and modeling a part of her dossier with five books and five calendars published, she became known as a noted artist, designer, education activist and fine art photographer.
“I like capturing a moment and sharing that with people and seeing that moment because as you go through life, getting from one place to the next, you sometimes miss the details,” explained Reid. “With photography you get the details. I’ve always taken pictures of landscapes, flowers and architecture. I have a great time capturing what my eyes see and capturing the details of what my eyes see. Doors are fascinating to me and I’ve spent the past 10 years showing doors as a metaphor for life. Doors mean opportunity, passages, adventures or curiosity. I want people to incorporate the idea of focusing on the details to make their life very rich.”
Reid’s photographic endeavors have taken her to such exotic locales as China, France, Venice and Cuba.
The host of the PBS Show, “Virginia Currents,” Reid recently expanded her publishing credits with her first cookbook, “Grace + Soul & Motherwit,” which offers many of her favorite recipes sprinkled with memories and reflections from her life and travels.
“It’s a mini memoir. I grew up in a house with a mom and a dad and two brothers and we lived in the projects but we weren’t poor in spirit or love,” Reid said. “It was a great example to see my mother give her love to us through all the things she did and all the things she taught us and how she loved to share her food with us.
“She did it so joyfully and that’s what food means to me,” Reid added.
The beginning of the book gives readers a glimpse into Reid’s childhood with photos that her father took, pictures of her throughout her career, the people that influenced her throughout her life. It is a collection of recipes of people that she has intersected with while on her life journey.
Before each recipe is a story sharing what the food means to her, where it came from and when she used the recipe. At the end of each one, she teaches readers what utensils will be needed to prepare that specific dish. She also teaches novices how to set up a kitchen.
“I’m trying to encourage people to get back into the idea of creating meals, sharing your love through food and sharing your life at the table,” said Reid, who has had roles in “Frank’s Place,” opposite her husband, actor and director Tim Reid, as well as in “Hill Street Blues” and “Simon and Simon.”
As a young actress and model in the 1980s, Reid often made her own outfits and wardrobe. Soon friends began to take notice and asked her to craft unique wares for them.
Now she weaves limited design Chinese silk brocade jackets for her custom clothing line, Daphne Style. The line wowed audiences at New York Fashion Week in 2017.
“I have to do it in limited design because I consider it wearable art,” explained Reid, who has been sewing since she was 9 years old. “The price is high, there is limited access so I don’t get overwhelmed and I want these to be personal projects, not mass manufactured.”
Reid will be bringing copies of her cookbook and samples of her jackets to Steel City Comic Con at the Monroeville Convention Center. It is one of the largest Comic Cons in the United States with over 750 vendor tables. Attendees get to meet TV and film celebrities, experience celebrity question-and answer panels, celebrity photo opportunities, trivia contests, and costume contests. Tickets start at $23.
When she isn’t snapping pictures, stitching a jacket, or acting, Reid enjoys spending quality time with her husband, whom she married in 1982.
“It’s exciting to be married to someone who dreams as big as he does,” she says of Tim. “I’m proud to be his spouse and proud of the energy he gives me to follow my dreams.”
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