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Archive for Interview

Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Harper Bazaar!

21 April 2018
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Gugu Mbatha-Raw is high on life. I can hear the smile in her voice when she picks up the phone—her joy bubbles over the line, and it’s wholly warranted.

The last seven days marked a frenzy of career highs for the 34-year-old Brit: the surprise Netflix release of her latest film, The Cloverfield Paradox, was the talk of the Super Bowl; she joined the cast of the Edward Norton-directed Motherless Brooklyn alongside Willem Dafoe and Bruce Willis; and she premiered her other Netflix movie, a heartbreaker of a romantic dramedy titled Irreplaceable You, in New York.

Oh, and last Friday, she became a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace (MBE). Casual. “We’ve been joking that I’ve been working on my damehood since I was 12,” she tells BAZAAR.com, laughing. “I’ve had one rung, three rungs down from a dame, so I’ve still got some more to go.”

It’s not difficult to imagine Mbatha-Raw walking in the footsteps of famous thespian dames like Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, and Harriet Walter. She, too, got her start on the stage before establishing herself through starring roles in Amma Asante’s Belle, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights, last year’s Disney mega-hit Beauty and the Beast, and a critically-acclaimed, Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror.

But these triumphs merely set the stage for a year poised to shoot Mbatha-Raw to the highest rung of superstardom. Though critics panned the Julius Onah-directed Cloverfield Paradox, it’s worth a watch for Mbatha-Raw’s performance alone. She commands the screen, no easy feat alongside talents such as David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, and Elizabeth Debicki. And that’s merely the start of a string of highly-anticipated projects including the Ava DuVernay-directed A Wrinkle in Time, which is set to claim another box office victory for Mbatha-Raw when it hits theaters March 9.

Below, the actress opens up about her big week, venturing into STEM with her latest projects, and the fairytale Cloverfield moment that led to her casting in A Wrinkle in Time. [More at Source]

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]

Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for British Vogue!

09 March 2018
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Gugu is on the cover of the April issue of British Vogue! She looks amazing photographed by Mikael Jansson and styled by senior contributing fashion editor Kate Phelan, with hair by Eugene Souleiman and make-up by Hannah Murray, the portrait of Mbatha-Raw wearing Valentino, marks Gugu’s Vogue debate. Check out the photos and digital scans and maek sure to watch the video (under a read more cut because it autoplays).

   

Digital Scans > April 2018 – British Vogue
Photo Sessions > 2018 > Set 006<

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Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Bustle!

08 March 2018
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For most people, Friday, Feb. 16 was a relatively normal day, if a slightly busier one than usual. The night before, Black Panther hit theaters to much fanfare, and many of us were gearing up for a sunnier-than-normal winter weekend. But for Wrinkle in Time actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Feb. 16 had a special meaning. It was the day she decided that after years of standing back and watching everyone else speak up, she wouldn’t — she couldn’t — stay quiet any longer.

“With everything that’s going on in the world, I felt galvanized and inspired by Time’s Up, and I was starting to question whether I was using my voice as efficiently as I could,” she tells me, when we speak shortly after she joined Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in one fell swoop. “I think as an actress, I’ve always believed maybe an old-fashioned idea that mystique was valuable and all of that stuff in terms of your career and acting,” she continues. “But I just couldn’t deny that what was going on in the world, with the women’s movement especially… it’s better to contribute than shy away and stay silent.”

As one of Hollywood’s most prolific yet enigmatic actors, Mbatha-Raw has spent her career disappearing — into roles, into costumes, seemingly into thin air the moment she’s done promoting a project. Despite her near-constant presence on-screen (in the last five weeks alone, she’s starred in three new movies), fans know little about who she actually is. What she likes, what she believes, what she wants to share with the world have all been a mystery. As her lack of social media showed, there’s long been a thick, impenetrable veil between the actor’s performances and her personal life. [More at source]

Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for the NY Post!

08 March 2018
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On the dreariest, drizzliest of winter days, Gugu Mbatha-Raw — bundled in a cozy ochre sweater and practical wellies — ducks into a Cobble Hill cafe. As she sits down, the clouds momentarily part, revealing a fleeting patch of blue sky. It’s a fitting entrance for the ebullient actress, whose smart British lilt melts easily into laughter — often at her own expense.

“An Emmy fell on my foot,” she confides to Alexa, flashing back to this year’s ceremony, where her buzzy “San Junipero” episode of the Netflix hit “Black Mirror”won two awards, including Outstanding TV Movie. “My foot instantly turned blue. I put an ice pack on it and then took my shoes off and danced — you have to!”

She lets out a conspiratorial giggle, then clarifies that the statuette belonged to the show’s producers. “I don’t have an actual Emmy, but I now have an Emmy scar. I’ll have that forever.”

Mbatha-Raw, 34, also has a full plate of projects. Up next is the big-budget “A Wrinkle in Time,” headlined by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. In the Disney film, out Thursday, Mbatha-Raw plays Dr. Kate Murry, a physicist whose daughter embarks on a quest through space and time to save her father. [more at source]

 

The photoshoot video is under cut because it autoplays.

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Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Refinery29

01 March 2018
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In Hollywood, Black female actresses have been typecast since the beginning. There’s the sassy sidekick, the around-the-way girl, and of course, the mammie, usually found in a period drama set during slavery or the Civil Rights era. It’s a dynamic that’s only recently started to change, thanks to a renaissance in Black television (Shondaland shows, Insecure, Atlanta) and social media movements like #OscarsSoWhite calling out a lack of diversity in film.

But somehow, during a period when the entertainment industry failed to support both people of color and women, Gugu Mbatha-Raw has quietly been breaking barriers for years. She’s a Black woman who managed to escape the expected archetypes, a chameleon who has played everyone from the lead officer on a space mission to a bisexual beachtown party girl to an animated feather duster. A veteran of British television and theater, Mbatha-Raw broke into Hollywood in 2013 as the shy, mixed-race 18th century hero of the movie Belle, and became known for her poised and powerful performances.

Since then, she’s starred in nearly a dozen major movies. But it’s 2018 that is finally the year of Gugu: Before the end of March, she will have starred in four films — including Disney’s big-budget, Ava Duvernay-directed adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time.

“I guess you could call this my ‘moment,’ but that doesn’t seem fair, because I’ve worked really hard my entire career!” Mbatha-Raw says slowly. She has a habit of taking a few beats to thoughtfully consider her responses before answering. “As an actor, you have power over your performance, but no power over the distribution or timetable. So it just so happens this is all coming out at the same time. But I guess I should embrace the ride!” [More at source]

Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Essence Magazine

20 January 2018
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With a huge thanks to Aina for the tip, Gugu is featured in the February issue of Essence magazine. She looks gorgeous in the shoot inspired by her idols Prince, Billie Holliday, Angela Davis, and Cleopatra! Check out the full shoot included in the digital scans and the article.

   
   

Feature: Gugu Mbatha- Raw for The Telegraph

06 March 2017
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She’s one of Oprah’s favourite actresses, has the Streep seal of approval and is starring alongside Emma Watson and Ewan McGregor in Beauty and the Beast. Meet Gugu Mbatha-Raw, an Oxford girl done very, very good.

You don’t forget your first . At least Gugu Mbatha-Raw won’t. The woman she now calls her ‘fairy godmother’ – but had never met at the time – left her a voicemail four years ago, when Gugu was in a New York cab on her way to JFK.

‘When I listened to the message, it was the weirdest thing,’ she says, succumbing to a fit of giggles. ‘Because at that time I was doing Oprah’s meditation experience with Deepak Chopra, where they email you a short meditation each day. Then suddenly I get this lovely rich voice saying, “Hello, this is Oprah” – and it sounded just like the opening of the meditation app. I thought I’d pressed the wrong button by mistake.’

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Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for GQ!

14 February 2017
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She’s in New York a week before Christmas—a stopover to see friends, have lunch with a director, and check out Othello, the Off-Broadway show no one else can manage to get tickets to. She has a good in: The guy who plays Othello, David Oyelowo, stars opposite her in J. J. Abrams’s new Cloverfield movie, out this fall. Mbatha-Raw is also in one of the few reboots Abrams isn’t responsible for: Beauty and the Beast (March 17), in which she plays a French maid turned singing and dancing feather duster. Portraying a Swiffer is a nice break from the dark (and moving) roles she’s taken recently, including a victim of gun violence in Miss Sloane and a terminally ill bisexual woman who becomes trapped in a computer simulation on Black Mirror. “I love tragedy, but you can’t do it all the time—it’s way too draining,” she says. [Source]

Feature: Gugu on Black Mirror ‘I just needed to express some joy’

23 October 2016
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“We were in this residential area, it was almost like The Truman Show, some of the houses were so new,” remembers Gugu Mbatha-Raw, star of the black comedy’s most intriguing new episode. “At one point this ostrich walked through the housing estate and on to the beach. And he sat down in the sand and started having a sort of sand bath. We were trying to film but, y’know, what do you do if an ostrich wanders into frame? It was so surreal … sort of magical.”

By now the Oxfordshire-born Mbatha-Raw, 33, is au fait enough with TV and film sets to appreciate a little divergence from the norm. Moreover, her schedule has been so non-stop of late that she probably just appreciated the break. [Source]