March 14, 2007 07:30 AM

Halle Berry has avoided plastic surgery – though she’s not saying she won’t have it someday.

“No, I haven’t,” the 40-year-old Oscar winner (for 2001’s Monster’s Ball) tells Reader’s Digest for its April issue, when asked if she’s gone under the knife. “But that’s one thing I’ll never say never about, because I don’t know.”

Still, she says, there are other priorities: “I hope I will evolve as a person who realizes it’s really not about my physical appearance and not be drawn to that seductive knife.”

This is not the first time Berry has discussed the issue of appearance. At a London press conference in 2004, she said: “Being thought of as a beautiful woman has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless and it is always transitory.”

Indeed, the actress tells Reader’s Digest that she lived in a shelter when she first moved to New York City at the age of 21 and learned to make her own way. “A girl had to do what a girl had to do,” she says. “You can do that when you’re 21 and ambitious.”

But it wasn’t easy, says Berry, who reveals that she once didn’t speak to her mother for a year-and-a-halt after her mom refused to send money when Berry was nearly broke. “It was devastating because she had never said no to me for anything,” says Berry. “I became totally self-sufficient. I vowed never to ask my mother or anybody for anything, ever. And I didn’t.”

Today, she says it was one of the most valuable lessons her mother taught her. “I’m actually grateful she did that, because it taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation, even if it meant going to a shelter for a small stint, or living within my means, which were meager,” says Berry. “I became a person who knows that I will always make my own way.”

But there is one thing Berry hasn’t yet attained that she still hopes for – a child. “I hope that happens,” she says. “It’s late; I’ve waited a little too long. But I want to have children. Absolutely.”

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