Giving up turned out to be the most liberating thing Uzo Aduba ever did.
The actress skyrocketed to fame last year for playing fan favorite Crazy Eyes on "Orange Is The New Black," but the day she got the call that she was hired was one of the lowest she'd ever experienced. In fact, just hours before, she had decided to leave acting behind for good.
"I had quit the day I got this job [on 'Orange']. It was the first time in my entire time pursuing this, in my heart and in my mind, that I actually was like, 'We need to hang this up,'" Aduba told HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill on Wednesday.
Coming from an immigrant family, Aduba felt her failure to book roles in film and television meant she wasn't honoring her mother's journey to America, and she was beaten to submission by the rejection that came at her from all sides.
"It was so hard to hear all these nos -- no, no, no and no again," she said. "I just thought, 'This is not for me.'"
The final straw came when she got lost on her way to an audition and arrived 20 minutes late. She took that as a sign.
"I thought this is God, the universe, telling me, 'This is not for you.' I was telling myself, 'Okay, I received the message. I hear you. If you can find a way to direct me to what it is that I'm meant to do, I will go. I will go,'" she said. "I was at peace about it: Now I know I'm going to live my life on purpose."
When she got home, she received the phone call that changed her life forever -- she'd won a part in the cultural phenomenon that took her from just another actress to an award-winning star.
As Oprah Winfrey has said, sometimes success is all about surrendering to a power beyond your control.
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