According to Thandie Newton, she wasn’t aware she was viewed differently because of her race until “fairly recently.”
The 47-year-old actress grew up in Penzance, Cornwall, with her English father and Zimbabwean mother, and was so used to only ever seeing white people, she didn’t think too much about appearances and how other families perceived them.
She told HELLO! magazine: “There were no dark-skinned people around for towns and towns and towns and towns. We were it, which was interesting because I grew up seeing only pale-skinned faces, so for me it all seemed completely normal.
“But when I later came to realize is that the people with pale-skinned faces would see me and I’d look different to them. I didn’t see skin color then because it was nowhere for me to see, which meant the way I’ve been perceived for all my life is something I’ve not actually been aware of until fairly recently.”
The “Westworld” actress admitted her understanding has lead to a “profound adjustment” of many of her childhood memories.
She added: “Understanding it now has also made me understand that the way in which I was viewed – which was not always positive – was not just because of me, as I’d assumed it had been, but because of the color of my skin.
“It’s been a profound adjustment and it’s something I take incredibly seriously because it affects my children as well as me.”
Thandie has kept her children “surrounded” by diversity but admitted they can take the subject for granted.
She said: “I’ve always surrounded them with diversity in terms of who they mix with and told them the world is a multifaceted spectrum which includes every hue.
“I tell them, ‘That’s something you have to learn’, and they’re like, ‘Oh we don’t have to learn it. That’s just how it is.’ I say, ‘You have no idea what I did to make that true for you.'”