Part 3 Leah Daniels-Butler: Casting Her Own Role in Hollywood
Leah Daniels-Butler truly has it all. She has achieved great success in her career as a casting director, and now has her own casting company. In addition, she has enjoyed a long and loving marriage to the love of her life; she and husband Henry Butler, music executive and producer, have launched a production company, 1OneNinety5. And she has five children, all of whom have left the nest. In this last of three conversations with BeGeorgeous, Daniels-Butler talks about her parents, her husband, and what it’s like working with her big brother, the acclaimed director and producer Lee Daniels, the man behind “Empire,” one of television’s most popular shows.
BG: Is there advice or words of wisdom from your parents or grandparents that still guide your life today?
Daniels-Butler: I grew up with a strong female figure – my mother. She raised five children on her own. My father was a decorated police officer who died in the line of duty, and my mother had to raise us by herself. Watching her work two, sometimes three jobs, taught me about hard work and perseverance, and that sometimes if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself! She loves the lord and is very active in her church; she is at peace with the way she has lived her life. I can only hope to have that when I am her age. AND she looks amazing for her age! LOL
BG: Along with your outstanding career, you are married and have five children. How have you been able to “do it all” and find fulfillment?
Daniels-Butler: It has not been easy! LOL! I know I make it look easy, but it is hard work. Maintaining a family and a career can be a tight rope-balancing act, but I have always put God and my family first. Everything else is secondary. I think that is how I was able to not “go Hollywood." I work in Hollywood, but when you have five kids that need help with schoolwork, parent-teacher conferences, dance classes, little league sports on the weekends, along with being the parent responsible for bringing the snacks – it has a way of keeping you grounded. Now that they are all grown and out of the house, they just let me know when I do or work on something they think is whack. LOL Seeing my family happy honestly brings me joy and fulfillment. I know I've done my job and have been the best parent I know how to be.
BG: You write on your website, “My husband, my best friend and love of my life . . .” Tell us about your husband and how you two maintain such a loving relationship.
Daniels-Butler: My husband, Henry Butler Jr., and I have been married going on 23 years, and we started out as friends. Then our friendship grew. I feel that when you start off being friends, then there is a strong foundation and respect for each other. We have gone through, and still go through, our ups and downs like all other couples; but I know my husband worships the ground I walk on. He is my biggest fan and supporter. He wants to see me win in everything I do. He is a man of God, and he prays constantly for me and for our children. He has his ways, just like most men, LOL, but he is visionary, with so many ideas. I like to call him a serial entrepreneur. He is also a great cook!
BG: What kind of relationship do you have with your brother, producer director Lee Daniels?
Daniels-Butler: My brother and I have a great relationship. When we work on projects together, it is all business; but it’s fun because we are so close and understand each other. I get his sense of humor and I know without him telling me what he is looking for in actors.... most times. LOL! But it is great working with him. I learn so much watching him on set and how he deals with talent. It helps me when I am working with actors.
BG: When you are not working, what do you do to relax?
Daniels-Butler: Don't judge me, but I like to read romance novels. LOLOLOL. The really cheesy kind too! LOL. I do!!! Buuuut I also read dignified books. I just finished reading a really good book, Property, by Valerie Martin. I also LOVE to shop online; I get super excited when my surprise boxes come in the mail. I like relaxing on a beach. And I like listening to trap music!