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Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for InStyle Magazine

15 April 2018
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Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s acting portfolio boasts roles like a bonnet-wearing 18th-century aristocrat in Belle, a violet-haired pop star in Beyond the Lights, and a futuristic astronaut in The Cloverfield Paradox, to name a few. It’s impossible to predict whom the 35-year-old is going to play next—and that’s just how she likes it. “No one wants to be stuck in a box,” Mbatha-Raw says. “I have a short attention span and want to keep myself interested. Variety is the spice of life, and I never want to get bored.”

At our New York City shoot, she is in full-on storytelling mode, assigning personalities to the many hats she tries on. An oversize green Mulberry topper is “very My Fair Lady,” a straw-bow Delpozo style is appropriately dubbed Minnie Mouse, and a wide-brimmed Elie Saab design is so “Anne of Green Gables” that Mbatha-Raw jokes she should go get some honey from her bees as she poses.

There’s no doubt that Mbatha-Raw loves what she refers to as the dress-up element of getting into character, but when it comes to her hair and makeup, she prefers to keep things simple. “I feel most beautiful when I’m not being perceived as beautiful,” she says over coffee in Brooklyn a few days after our shoot. “If I’m not thinking about what I look like, then I’m just happy and free to be myself.” Growing up in rural Oxfordshire, “a million miles away from Hollywood or any big city,” she was raised by her English mom, a nurse, and her South African dad, a doctor, to “nurture the soul, spirit, and intelligence rather than the exterior.” That notion has stuck with Mbatha-Raw, so it’s been a process for her to accept the value placed on appearance in the entertainment industry. “I’ve had to come to terms with the concept of beauty without judging it as a vacuous thing,” she says. “My image is part of my job, but I’m getting more comfortable with knowing that it doesn’t define who I am or mean that I’m a superficial person. It’s about expressing yourself.” [More at Source]


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