Toyin Owoseje, CNN
Jodie Turner-Smith has opened up about her approach to raising a biracial daughter, revealing that motherhood has helped “heal” her experiences with colorism.
The Black British actress and model welcomed her first child with her actor husband Joshua Jackson in April 2020.
In a candid conversation with Elle UK, the “Murder Mystery 2” star shared that she was originally hesitant to become a mother because she knew her children would have a “completely different experience” from what she did growing up as a “dark-skinned girl.”
“It’s interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother,” she told the publication. “Throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world.”
However, the 36-year-old’s feelings shifted when she fell in love with Jackson, because she realized “to decide not to have a child with somebody you love, just because they’re White, was insane to me.”
Turner-Smith shared that, despite her own internal conflict, she embraced the fact that her daughter’s journey would be unique.
“But, at the same time, I did have this mini pause, where I was like, ‘She’s going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I’d always felt a little bit tormented by,” she acknowledged.
“Now that I’ve got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I’ve been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colourism.”
Turner-Smith is best known for her breakout role in 2019 crime drama “Queen & Slim,” and her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in the AMC miniseries about the former Queen of England.
Despite her global success, the fashion icon admitted that growing up with a lack of role models and seeing the discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone impacted her “psyche.”
“For a longtime in entertainment any sort of dark-skinned figures were held up as unattractive. That has a huge effect on the zeitgeist and it trickles down,” she said.
Reflecting on her growth, she added: “Anyone who has known me throughout my life would say, ‘Oh, Jodie has very high self-esteem.’ But it affected me, I just faked it till I made it. It wasn’t until adulthood that I began to come into myself. For a long time, people would even say to me, ‘You’re so pretty … for a dark-skinned girl.”
Turner-Smith was interviewed by Elle UK for its May issue, out March 30.
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