April 24 2024

CSI Files

An archive of CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds and crime drama news

Ward: My Journey Has Been A Journey Home

2 min read

Sela Ward (Jo Danville) left her small hometown to pursue her dreams, but the CSI: New York actress eventually grew to cherish the place she left behind.

Ward grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, a city with less than 40,000 residents. “When I was a child, I felt I was living in a small room and there was this big world out there just waiting for me,” Ward told Parade magazine. “I had such a thirst for life. I wanted that big world.” She paused before adding, “Sometimes you don’t know what you have until you leave it.”

Ward’s first exposure to acting came when she was 12 years old. She was cast in a community production of The King and I, but the experience didn’t make her want to become an actor. “I can’t sing a note,” Ward said with a laugh, “but the director thought I was cute enough to be a lady-in-waiting, and I got the part. In rehearsals the woman standing next to me said, ‘Someone is singing dreadfully off-key!’ and so I just mouthed the words. At that point, any idea of acting went out the window.”

The acting bug bit Ward for real when she moved to New York City after college. She modeled, worked in advertising and took acting classes. She moved to Los Angeles in 1983, and her career took off from there. After years of living in the big city, Ward realized how much she missed her hometown. When she got married to Howard Sherman in 1992, she and her husband looked for property in Meridian. Today, the pair have a 16-year-old son named Austin and a 12-year-old daughter named Anabella. “I wanted my children to have a life that is authentic, not one that’s about striving for material things,” Ward explained.

Ward’s family splits their time between the Bel Air section of Los Angeles and their 500-acre farm just outside Meridian. “I’m trying to teach my children the lessons I learned in Meridian—genuineness, belonging, caring about others,” she said. “Treat people as valuable in themselves, not for what they can do for you.” She added, “I’ve gone back to the place I once wanted to leave behind. I understand it now. My journey has been a journey home.”

The full interview is available on Parade.com.

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