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My personal style is somewhat androgynous and simple. With my lifestyle, I’ve become more of a minimalist.
For film, I think because it’s more detailed, and especially with historical material, you really have to find the right projects. Speaking as a mixed-race woman, there aren’t many historical stories about people like me. When people think of ‘dual heritage,’ they think it’s a modern concept, but really it’s not.
Everyone says to you, ‘if you play Ophelia, you’ll end up crazy,’ but we’re all somewhere on the spectrum of mental health, and I think that if you approach it that way it’s not such an intimidating issue.
I am an only child, so I relate to the intensity of that single-parent, mother-daughter relationship.
I was born in the ’80s, so I don’t really remember it very strongly, but the music is so iconic. And so those artists – Madonna, Prince, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston – you still hear those songs all the time. And there’s such a distinctive style – the clothes, the shoulder pads, the big hair, the perm.
I definitely grew up to Nina Simone and a lot of Ella Fitzgerald. And I loved Amy Winehouse. I loved that sort of soulful singer.
I’ve always sung. I was really into musical theater when I was growing up. As a kid, I listened to Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, actually, on cassette tapes.
I feel like my work has been incredibly diverse.
I do a lot of yoga, and when I’m in L.A., I have an outdoorsy sort of lifestyle. It’s sort of comfortable, West Coast, yoga chic.
Speaking as a mixed-race woman, there aren’t many historical stories about people like me.
Watching and learning from the great Josette Bushell-Mingo, who was playing Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the time, and then to return to the same stage six months later playing a lead role, was incredible – I fell in love with the poetry and the breadth of the language so much that I didn’t want it to end.
In my own life, when I’m not working, I do wear a lot of black. I think I do feel very comfortable in black.
You have to be able to appreciate who you are.
I just love performing so much, and I threw myself into every musical theater production that was going in my home town and at school. And then, I went to the National Youth Music Theatre, which was really a galvanizing experience for me when I was 17.