Thandiwe Newton defends her African origins and talks about her most traumatic experience

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By CAPosts 05 April, 2021 - 09:30am 38 views

After three decades participating in hundreds of films for film and television, the British actress Thandie Newton has decided to correct the entire public and make a fierce defense of her real name, spelled wrongly during all this time. Newton is called Thandiwe, which means "beloved" in Shona, a native language of Zimbabwe, where his mother was a princess. A failure in one of his first works made him change his nomenclature during these thirty years, until now. The interpreter who participated in Mission: Impossible 2 with Tom Cruise has hit the table at 48 years old and has decided to defend her origins. "That's my name. Always has been. I am going to recover what is mine, "he said in an interview with the British edition of Vogue , where he stars on the cover of the May issue. What for some may mean a minor aspect, for Newton acquires great importance and is still a reflection of the tireless fighting spirit that has always characterized the interpreter.

In the extensive interview, the Emmy winner for her performance in HBO's hit series Westworld also talks about how his feelings about acting have changed over the years. "I find that acting now takes a lot out of me, because I'm more connected to myself than ever, whereas before I was delighted to have an excuse to get into another personality," she admits. "Before I couldn't wait to get away from myself, really, I had very low self-esteem." A lack of self-esteem that led to having been the victim of sexual misconduct at the hands of a director when she was a teenage actress. "There is a moment when my spirit changed, and it was then, when I was 16 years old" says Newton in reference to an incident that he already revealed to W Magazine in 2016, when he explained that a director recorded it simulating a sex scene for an audition and later discovered that he had focused the camera on her skirt and had devoted himself to showing the video to his friends during his rounds of poker.

This was not the only exploitative relationship Newton had in show business as a teenager. At just 16 years old, she began a six-year relationship with director John Duigan while on the set of his film The First Experience (1991). He was 39 at the time. A Duigan who, among other demands, had asked her to appear "blacker" for the role from one day to the next, for which she, surprised, smeared herself in coconut oil and lay in the sun. A series of experiences that left her on the edge. “I drift out of my lane completely. I was traumatized. That must have been some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. She was so distraught and shocked that a director had abused a young actress, that this was happening elsewhere, that minors were being abused, and how screwed up she was ... Basically, she was waiting for someone to come and he said to me: 'Well, what should we do about it? ", he recalls now in the British edition of Vogue s about his feelings back then.

Experiences that, he says, have given him" a sixth sense to detect abuse already the abusers ”. “I think that's one of the reasons why I was so rejected in Hollywood. I will always talk about it, because I know that I will be helping someone, ”he says bluntly. For decades, Newton has been a staunch and persistent whistleblower on the issue of sexual violence and harassment, both in and outside of Hollywood. Before the emergence of movements like Me Too or Time's Up , she already defied the great wall of silence that surrounded many of the crimes that were committed by great producers or reputed personalities in the industry. He even fired one of his publicists after he asked him to stop talking about being abused because "it was not good for his reputation."

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For her, silence has never been an option. Neither in terms of inequalities . It already marked a milestone in 2000, when he ruled out participating in Charlie's Angels because he refused to encourage racial and sexual stereotypes after being asked that a black female character had to be very sexy and without any college education. She was replaced by Lucy Liu. Her battle went further when equal pay came into play and in 2018 she and her Westworld partner Evan Rachel Wood successfully fought for pay equity with their male counterparts. “It was not a celebration. I was upset, ”she now says of the victory, which set a long-awaited precedent in the industry. “Although people know that now you can talk about it, there is still the fear of losing your job. I mean they literally still tell you, 'If you're not happy there's someone else who could take this position' - that kind of shit. I believe that those in charge of the studies must assume much more responsibility ”, he assures the British magazine.

In addition to his commitments to television and cinema, Thandiwe Newton advocates for the African American Policy Forum, focused on gender and diversity issues where Campaigns such as #sayhername (Say Your Name), founded by her friend Kimberlé Crenshaw, stand out. She is also a board member of Eve Ensler's V-Day, through which she has supported women survivors of sexual violence in Congo with the City of Joy project, as well as participating in other campaigns that seek to end violence against women promoted by the UN. Married with three children , Newton feels satisfied to have contributed to a future in which race is no longer a handicap. “What I'm most grateful to in our business right now is being in the company of other people who really see me. And not being an accomplice in the objectification of blacks as 'others', which is what happens when you are the only one ”.

Source: Elpais

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