Daphne Maxwell Reid

Get up when you fail. Learn the lesson and move on.


Born in Manhattan, Daphne Maxwell Reid attended Chicago’s Northwestern University and became the prestigious school’s first African-American homecoming queen. As one of the first African-American women to make the cover of Glamour magazine and one of television history’s most beloved sitcom moms, Reid now balances her acting gigs with her work as a photographic artist, clothing designer, and education activist, demonstrating that’s it’s never too late to pursue new passions and find new opportunities. Daphne first worked as a model, parlaying her success in that field into an acting career that found her on dozens of television series in the 1980s. With guest starring roles in shows like “WKRP in Cincinnati” (where she first worked with her husband, Tim Reid, to whom she has been married since 1982), “Hill Street Blues,” and “Simon and Simon,” she first took a lead role on the acclaimed series “Frank’s Place,” opposite Tim. But it was in the role of Vivian Banks in the last three seasons of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” with Will Smith that endeared Reid to a new generation of fans. Now residing with her husband in Virginia, Reid has turned in recent years to her lifelong passion for fashion and photography. Of particular pride are her designs for Chinese-inspired jackets that are bold, colorful, and versatile, and easily adaptable to different body sizes and types. Her line (Daphne Style) wowed audiences at New York’s fashion week in 2017, and is featured on her website daphnemaxwellreid.com. Perhaps even more notable is Reid’s photographic work (featured in the “Fresh Prints” portion of her website); in particular, Reid’s specialty is taking picture of interesting doors all around the world. In the form of postcards, printed collections, and gallery exhibitions, Reid’s vibrant, compelling prints catalog some of her journeys through Europe and Cuba. Daphne has published four photography books and calendars; and a cookbook, “Grace, Soul & Motherwit.” Ultimately, Reid’s life is a testament to the power of learning – whether it was learning passion from her father, or attending university, or teaching herself new careers. It’s no wonder that she extends that experience to others in the form of working with Virginia State University, one of the nation’s leading HBCUs (historically black college/universities). Throughout her many activities and endeavors, Reid continues to be supported by her husband, himself a television pioneer as an actor, writer, director, and producer. That partnership and her lifelong passion for hard work and achievement have summed up what Reid hopes her work conveys to her audience.

Where did the idea for Daphne Maxwell Reid’s Fresh Prints come from?

Using the sound of the most recognized show that I starred in, and having it apply to the photography that I was taking.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There is no typical day. Each day brings its’ own challenges and rewards. I wake up ready to make the most of each opportunity that I meet.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I usually grasp an idea in my sleep and wake up ready to see how to manifest it, and find where it will lead me.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I prefer classics to trends. Classics recycle with freshness every few years. They remain timeless and trendless.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

The habit of believing that I can do anything I put my mind and efforts toward.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Do you. Believe.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Get up when you fail. Learn the lesson and move on.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Sharing what I am doing with affinity groups, and getting people to believe they need to be a part of it.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not investing in myself sooner. Once I accepted that I could prosper, I invested in getting the best results from what I was creating.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Sorry, I have none.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A facial and a massage. I needed them both.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I use Adobe creative software to do everything on my computer, Photoshop, LightRoom, and InDesign, as well as Mac’s Rapidweaver to create my webpage.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Alchemist“, so you will believe that your life has a purpose.

What is your favorite quote?

My husband told me a long time ago, “Don’t let the successes go to your head, nor the failures go to your heart.”