No, you’re not looking at Thandie Newton on the cover of British Vogue, you’re actually looking at THANDIWE Newton whose name has been misspelled for years.
Thandiwe is covering the magazine’s May 2021 issue and detailing her journey to reclaim her properly spelled name.
“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” said Thandiwe whose future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton, after the W was carelessly missed out from her first credit.
After being first interviewed by Diana Evans 20 years ago, the actor spoke to the writer again, this time about motherhood, being a persistent whistleblower on the subject of sexual violence and harassment.
One of the most successful Black British actresses of her time, who was the first woman of color to play a prominent character in a Star Wars film has somehow never quite received the glory she deserves as a British national treasure and screen icon. With that in mind, British Vogue is giving Thandiwe her much-deserved flowers and pairing her with photographer Mikael Jansson for artsy shots.
See highlights from Thandiwe Newton x British Vogue below.
On her series Westworld
“I can tell when people haven’t watched Westworld because they just think I’m being naked and sexy in it,” Newton says. “But I love how subversive it is. Wherever I position myself now, I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution.
I’m not for hire anymore. I’m not going to speak your story or say your words if I don’t feel they could’ve come from me.”
“I find that acting takes more and more away from me,” she says with candour, “because I’m more connected to myself than I’ve ever been, whereas before I was delighted to get an excuse to go off to another personality. I couldn’t wait to get away from myself,
truly, I had such low self-esteem. Acting was where I felt whole.”
On speaking out about her experiences of abuse
“There’s a moment where the ghost of me changed, you know,” she says thoughtfully, zoning back in time, eyes hardened, “and it was then, it was 16. He derailed me from myself utterly. I was traumatised. It was a kind of PTSD for sure. I was so distraught and appalled
that a director had abused a young actress, and that it was happening elsewhere, minors getting abused and how f**ked up it was. I was basically waiting for someone to come along and say, ‘Well, what shall we do
She refused to pander in silence
“I have a seventh sense for abuse and abusers,” she says, “which I believe is one of the reasons why I was rejected a lot in Hollywood. I’ll talk about it until the cows come home, because I know I’ll be helping someone.”
On her youngest daughter, Nico, who is already four years into her own acting career, with lead parts in Dumbo and The Third Day
“I went to every photoshoot with her,” Newton says with a fire in her eyes. “If there was an issue with the photographer, if there was any appropriate language I was on it, I didn’t give a f**k what anyone thought. When it was time for her to get an agent, I spent
a month auditioning for one, even though I knew half of them.”
See the full feature in the May issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 9th April.