Thandie Newton said she would recover the original Shona spelling of her name for use in her professional career, stating: I’m taking back what’s mine.
For over 30 years, the actor, née Melanie Thandiwe Newton Parker, has been known by an anglicized version of her name since the wa was carelessly dropped from her first acting credit.
Thandiwe means beloved in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, where Newtons mother originated. She said she was setting the record straight and that in all future projects she would be credited with her correctly spelled name.
In one interview with British Vogue, Newton, 48, said: It’s my name. It’s always been my name. I take back what is mine.
The Westworld actor, who will appear on the cover of the May issue hailing the rebirth of an icon, spoke to writer Diana Evans for the magazine about his three-decade career and what had and didn’t changed in the industry.
The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of other people who really see me. And not to be complicit in the objectification of blacks as others, which happens when you are the only one, she said.
Evans says Newtons’ awareness that she was a role model for little brunette girls who aspired to be dancers, actresses or activists was one of the reasons she considered it essential that her clothes in the Vogue’s photoshoot reflect its dual heritage.
As she got older, she had been inspired to use her personal experiences to express herself more candidly, Newton said. I have changed a lot. Many lives have been lived since.
Last week, the actor expressed outrage at the government’s racial disparity report and suggested it must be an April Fool’s joke. There is no way it could be real it would be unethical folly, she tweeted of the report, which claimed institutional racism did not exist in the UK.
The Emmy-winning actor was born in London to a white British father, Nick, and a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, a princess of the Shona tribe, and the family settled in Penzance, Cornwall, when she was three years old. We might as well have been the first black people anyone ever saw. We didn’t have a conditioner. We had nothing, she told Vogue.
She and her younger brother attended a Catholic elementary school run by nuns, where she was once excluded from a class photo for wearing her hair in cornrows, and was repeatedly overlooked for dance trophies.
Newton said she qualified as Londoner as opposed to British, reflecting on her Bafta victory in 2006 when a British newspaper pointed out that she was not truly British because one of her parents was black .
I remember thinking, but it’s a British victory! Why don’t you want to take this? Why wouldn’t you dig that in, accept it, and feel really good?
The actor also explained why she recently spoke publicly about the abuse she suffered at the hands of a director at the age of 16 and when she realized she needed to seek help with an eating disorder. There was a time when my ghost changed, you know, and that was then, he was 16. He completely derailed me from myself. I was traumatized. It was kind of PTSD for sure.
I was so distraught and dismayed that a director had abused a young actress, and that was happening elsewhere, minors being abused and how f ** ked up it was. I was basically waiting for someone to come and say, “What do we do about this?
She told Vogue she refuses to be silenced: I have a seventh sense of abuse and aggressors, which I believe is one of the reasons I’ve been rejected a lot in Hollywood. . I’ll talk about it until the cows come home, because I know I’ll help someone.
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