Gloria Reuben: "I've Learned to Let Go of Guilt"

The Raising the Bar star on singing with Tina Turner and playing Condoleezza Rice

By Brooke Hauser
Gloria Reuben (left) in "Raising the Bar"
Photograph: Photo by: TNT

As an HIV-positive physician’s assistant on ER, she proved she had heart. When she switched gears to be a backup singer for Tina Turner, she proved she had guts. Gloria Reuben now has nothing left to prove, but that doesn’t stop her from trying new things: This month, she returns to prime time as a tireless public defender on TNT’s Raising the Bar. "Every morning I think, what’s going to happen today?" Reuben says.
When I’m not acting, you’ll find me… playing the piano and singing.
Scariest moment… singing onstage with Tina Turner in front of 12,000 people on opening night.
How I got the job… I met her backstage in 1999. I remember I wore this fringed outfit, and she said, "You’ve got great legs — can you sing and dance?" Three months later, I auditioned in her hotel room and got the gig!
Right now I’m listening to… Seal’s newest record, System. There’s something about that man; whenever he comes out with a new CD, it’s all I listen to for months. But I love everything from Bruce Springsteen to Alicia Keys.
My heroes… The HIV-positive women I’ve met around the world. They’re so courageous.
On my bookshelf, you’ll find… Stephen King’s On Writing. I’m thinking about doing my autobiography.
I always keep my fridge stocked with… prosciutto, mozzarella, and roasted red peppers. I’m Italian at heart.
I used to hate, but now I love… my curls. When I was growing up, The Brady Bunch was on TV. I would beat my hair into submission.
I still want to learn how to… downhill ski.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall of… Condoleezza Rice. I played her in David Hare’s stage production Stuff Happens in New York. As much as I read about her, I still don’t know who that woman is.
My love life, in a word… possibility.
Guilty pleasure… I’ve learned how to let go of guilt, so all my pleasures are guilt-free.
Originally published in MORE magazine, September 2008.
View some footage from the second season of Raising the Bar here.

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