Mary J. Blige was stripped emotionally bare and makeup-free for her role as Florence Jackson in the critically-acclaimed Netflix film, Mudbound. But for the singer/actress it was all worth it.

“Playing Florence was a heavy experience for me. But I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to walk through this strong woman’s shoes,” Blige said in her acceptance speech for Breakthrough Performance Award at the 29th Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in California on Tuesday evening.

“It wasn’t easy at first to find this character because I didn’t realize how vain I was until I had to play a character like Florence,” she said at the event, which was sponsored by Cadillac. “Seriously I had to leave a lot of myself behind, a lot of Mary J. Blige behind. A lot of wigs, a lot of lashes, a lot of makeup, a lot of nails, you know the whole thing.”

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