This rough start to her life did not deter her from excelling in whatever she did. Halle attended a nearly all-white public school, and as a result, she was subjected to discrimination at an early age. Throughout high school, Halle participated in a variety of extracurricular activities, holding positions of newspaper editor, class president, member of the honor society, varsity cheerleader, and prom queen.
Halle easily won Miss Ohio, Miss Teen All-American, and in 1986, was first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant. She was the first African American to represent the U.S. in the Miss World competition in London. Halle attended Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College, where she studied broadcast journalism. Halle abandoned her idea of a career in news reporting however, choosing to wholeheartedly devote her time to a career in entertainment. She first moved to Chicago, then New York City, where she found work as a catalog model.
Halle's acting career began in television with a role on the short-lived sitcom "Living Dolls". This was followed by a year-long run on the CBS prime time drama "Knot’s Landing". Halle's first big screen break came later that year when she was cast as Samuel L. Jackson’s drug addicted girlfriend in Spike Lee’s "Jungle Fever". More substantial supporting roles followed, including that of a stripper in the action-thriller "The Last Boy Scout", starring Bruce Willis. This success lead to Halle as the woman who finally wins Eddie Murphy’s heart in the romantic comedy "Boomerang".
Halle, now with a few films under her belt, accepted more offbeat roles, making cameos in the rockumentary "CB4" which traced the rise and fall of the titled rap group. She then starred in the live action version of "The Flintstones", featuring Halle as a Stone Age seductress, a very sexy and successful performance. Halle's next role was a no-holds-barred performance as a rehabilitated crack addict seeking to regain custody of her son in "Losing Isaiah". The story was set in the midst of a bitter custody battle with adoptive parents, played by Jessica Lange and David Strathairn. Later that year, Halle overcame Hollywood's racial barriers when she was cast as the first African American to play the Queen of Sheeba in Showtime’s movie "Solomon & Sheeba".