Monday, 19 March 2018

Why Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a woman to watch in 2018

2018 is on track to be Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s career-defining year – Stylist meets the actor with plenty to shout about.
As the entertainment director of Stylist, it’s easy for me to say someone is an important name to know. Someone you should commit to memory and follow their career path because what they are doing is versatile, skilled and barrier-breaking. It’s not often the Queen agrees with me (to my chagrin). But this time the Queen does agree with me, recently awarding Gugu Mbatha-Raw – that aforementioned name to know – with an MBE for services to the arts, an honour she received a few weeks ago at Buckingham Palace: the royal seal of approval in its purest form.
Mbatha-Raw, 34, is an actor who has been working hard for years, gradually increasing her profile, proving and improving her talents. It’s interesting that 2018, a momentous year for women, is the year that she will be catapulted into the big time with her ability to command whichever screen she is on. I suspect it’s also of note that she’s an actor who has largely worked with female directors on her biggest roles (except 2016’s sublime Black Mirror series three episode San Junipero), including her breakout role in 2014’s Belle, directed by Amma Asante, and Beyond The Lights by Gina Prince-Bythewood the same year, which both centre on women who want – need – their voices to be heard in very different confines.Currently, Mbatha-Raw can be seen all over Netflix in the recently released science-fiction film The Cloverfield Paradox and Irreplaceable You, a love story about a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer. It pains me to say that while neither film quite manages to live up to its promise, she is nonetheless magnetic in both, providing empathy and poise and making each worth watching. More importantly there’s this month’s Disney fantasy adventure, A Wrinkle In Time, based on the eponymous 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle, that puts her into a whole new stratosphere alongside Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Culturally, the film is incredibly important: it’s directed by Ava DuVernay, the first African American woman to helm a $100 million (£72 million) film, and has at its centre a young woman of colour, played by 12 Years A Slave’s Storm Reid, who travels on a mission through space and time to find her father (Mbatha-Raw plays her scientist mother). The likes of BeyoncĂ© were at the film’s February premiere in Los Angeles.
Dress, £1,115, Sportmax
Coming up there are films that will cement her standing as she appears front and centre alongside Hollywood’s biggest stars in significant projects. In Motherless Brooklyn, due in 2019, she stars alongside heavyweights Edward Norton and Bruce Willis in the story of a lonely private detective in the Fifties. She’s also, excitingly, attached to the film adaptation of Roxane Gay’s debut novel Untamed State, in which she’ll again be directed by Prince-Bythewood.
With so many projects on the go, the actor now lives in Los Angeles but grew up in Witney, Oxfordshire with her English mother after she separated from her South African husband when Mbatha-Raw was a year old. At Stylist’s photoshoot, she is properly fun: loving the idea of graffiti-ing and getting the artist on set to show her how to do it properly. “Growing up in a not-remotely-urban environment, there wasn’t much opportunity for graffiti in Witney,” she laughs. Later at our interview, which takes place the day after meeting Prince Charles to receive her MBE, she’s equally buoyant, displaying a childlike excitement about the button you can press to get a waiter to bring you coffee in the Covent Garden Hotel. Drink ordered, we start talking about all the things that are on her mind right now…

On having Oprah in her corner 

“Oprah Winfrey was a champion of Belle and is an incredible thinker and leader. We didn’t have any scenes together in Wrinkle, unfortunately, but she did come and have a chat in my trailer one day; it was lovely to see her, she’s so wonderful and very, very grounded. She’s a brilliant orator and has a centre that is authentic, and that is why it touches people – you feel like it’s coming from the right place. Her spiritual centre is also something that inspires me. When Belle came out, she was very helpful in terms of being able to appreciate things. She was the first person to introduce me to the concept of a gratitude diary, and – without sounding super saccharine – it is a good way to keep perspective and not become too bratty. I write mine when I get on a plane. I take a moment before taking off to think, ‘OK, here we are and where am I going and where have I come from.’”
Dress, £160, Stine Goya; shoes, £625, Rupert Sanderson

On thinking for herself

“I’ve never really been a follower. Perhaps being an only child or having parents from two very different cultures, you’re forced to see things from different perspectives and understand that there are many ways to view the world. I think that helps you think for yourself. It’s something you have to nurture as well; your choices are what you have in this job. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who directed Beyond The Lights, always used to say that when you’re making a film, the reason you’re doing it has to be bigger than you. You start off acting or doing plays at school because you love it, then you get the luxury of choice and then you think, ‘OK, what is the reason, why am I doing this?’
When choosing roles, I’m often thinking about how it’s going to help culture evolve. We’re all here to contribute in that little marathon. It is a responsibility if you’re asking people to pay money to look at your face for two hours on a screen – so you better have something interesting to say.”

On receiving an MBE

“I don’t know who nominated me for it or how I got it; maybe someone will let me know in the future! I’d never been to Buckingham Palace before. My parents came with me and were so excited – my mum was being a typical mum and didn’t want us to be late, and then our taxi driver dropped us in the wrong place. My dad had to limbo under some barriers on the way in. We were scrambling in like complete imposters, but it was amazing and there was so much energy. You’re separated from your guests, which I didn’t realise would happen, and taken to a room with all the other people being awarded, which for me included Pamela Butcher, the 88-year-old table-tennis world champion. When you go up to receive the MBE itself there’s this etiquette where you have to curtsey to Prince Charles, who was doing our ceremony, and address him as ‘Your Royal Highness’ first and ‘Sir’ thereafter. It’s a huge honour and wonderful surprise, but it won’t change how I live my life on a day-to-day basis.”
Coat, £4,930, Calvin Klein
“I’ve always been interested in art and how it represents our culture. I love taking life-drawing classes, but I don’t get to do as much of it as I’d like because I’m quite all or nothing. I was crazily into the Pre-Raphaelites when I was about 17 and loved the painting of Ophelia at Tate Britain – I would go and just stare at it. Then when I was doing my art A-level, it was when all the Young British Artists such as Jenny Saville – who had that very fleshy painting style, which I liked – were huge.
It was actually, at a certain stage in my life, a toss-up between pursuing fine art or acting. I spent the whole of my A-levels in the art block; I loved it, but it was very intense. As much as I loved painting and drawing, it made me very introspective. The thing I loved about theatre was that it made me engage with other people.
Growing up as an only child and then getting into theatre brought me out of myself. I still love going to galleries – I’ve been to The Broad, which is the newest one in LA, and I also love the LACMA. I was just in New York at the Met this weekend, which is amazing because it’s immense. But in America it’s so expensive [to visit art galleries]. “Being able to just wander into a gallery in London was hugely inspiring, and I think it should be [free] for everybody.”

On finding spiritual space

“I’d definitely describe myself as spiritual. I’ve done yoga for about 12 years and I find it physically engages me. I was first introduced to meditation a few years ago through an online series with Oprah and Deepak Chopra [through the Chopra Meditation Center]. To be able to know what the tools are and have access to them to ground yourself is so important. This week I was doing a camera test in New York, then on Monday I went to Buckingham Palace, I’m flying to LA this afternoon… if I didn’t have stability, I’d go crazy. It’s important to know there’s something just for you and [a way to] get back to neutral that’s not about achieving anything. The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’ in Sanskrit; the idea of union within yourself when you’re always playing different characters, and turning up different elements of your personality, is hugely important, especially for longevity.
This can be a bruising business, and a lot of people either give up or have a meltdown. For me it’s essential to have these tools.”
Coat, £4,930, Calvin Klein

On her cultural leanings

“I love tragedy – it’s one of my favourite genres, the dark, deep places – but I think you’ve also got to know at the end of it all why you went through it and feel that there is some potential for hope. I don’t like everything to be shiny and perfect with a happy ending; if you’re going to go on a journey with somebody, you want to at least feel.
I really loved Roxane Gay’s books Bad Feminist and Hunger – I found the latter an incredibly difficult but inspiring book. It was challenging and emotional and raw and honest. I read a lot of spiritual books; I’m totally not afraid of the self-help section. I’ve read all of BrenĂ© Brown’s books [The Gifts Of ImperfectionDaring GreatlyRising Strong, and Braving The Wilderness] – I love her, going back to when I saw her 2012 Ted Talk a couple of years ago. If you’re dealing a lot with things that are to do with emotions and storytelling, then unpicking things in a more analytical way is using a different part of my brain. It’s good to exercise it.”

On her daily ritual

“I have one cup of coffee a day, so I like it to be a good one – a white Americano. I got an espresso machine as a gift and thought, ‘I’m never going to use it – I like having coffee out’, but actually it’s brilliant. Although one thing I can’t do is frothing the milk. There’s a place in LA I sometimes go to called Intelligentsia – one of those ‘coffee snob’ places. I was talking to a guy who was training there and he was like, ‘Oh no, I’m not on to milk yet. Coffee is one thing, but milk – you have to be here for a few months before you get to know that.’ I was like, ‘Are you serious?’”

On keeping intersectionality front and centre

“[With A Wrinkle In Time] Ava [DuVernay] is the first woman of colour to be given a budget of more than a hundred million dollars to direct a film. I was so inspired to work with her. I think that is worth talking about, because it’s a first. While we’re still having these first moments, it’s a good reference point as to where we really are as opposed to where we think we are. Where is the representation? Constantly questioning that is so important. Thinking about who is not in the room is something that came up in the first Time’s Up meeting I went to in LA. It’s so crucial to ask, ‘What have we missed in this picture on every level?’ From who’s written the script and who’s directing, to who is in front of the camera. It’s up to all of us on every level?’ From who’s written the script and who’s directing, to who is in front of the camera. It’s up to all of us.
A Wrinkle in Time is in cinemas from 23 March. 

Photos: Vogue magazine

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Photos: 'Fast Color' Premiere - 2018 SXSW Conference And Festivals

 Mickey Liddell, Jordan Horowitz, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Julia Hart, SXSW Film Festival Director Janet Pierson, and Saniyya Sidney attends the "Fast Color" Premiere 2018 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Paramount Theatre on March 10, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

 Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Julia Hart, and Saniyya Sidney attend the "Fast Color" Premiere 2018 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Paramount Theatre on March 10, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Video: Getting To Know Gugu Mbatha-Raw | British Vogue

Getting To Know Gugu Mbatha-Raw | British Vogue

Published on 9 Mar 2018

Step into the world of actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, star of the April 2018 issue of British Vogue.Subscribe to British Vogue►►
Featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw Director Stella Scott Director of Photography Vanessa White Vogue Video Producer Minnie J Carver Production Manager Jade Almond Stylist Flo Arnold Make-up Artist Pablo Rodriguez @ CLM Hair Stylist Nao Kawakami @ Saint Luke Artists Gaffer Nathan Matthews Spark Angus Chinn 1st AC Ryan Parkins 2nd AC Cristian Cretu Sound Recordist Joel Carr DIT Dominic Beeput Editor Marnie Hollande Grade Jax Harney @ CHEAT Sound Mix and Compostion Samuel Evans Junior Editor Charmaine Cabancla Special thanks to… Connolly Falke Giambattista Valli Couture Gucci Jimmy Choo Margaret Howell Saucony Syon House CONNECT WITH BRITISH VOGUE Web: Twitter: Facebook: Google+: Instagram: Pinterest: Newsletter: ABOUT BRITISH VOGUE British Vogue is the world’s leading premium lifestyle and fashion entertainment channel. Weekly releases and brand new original programming including short films, series and in-depth documentaries, British Vogue’s channel is the ultimate destination for unprecedented access into the world of fashion, beauty and culture. Getting To Know Gugu Mbatha-Raw | British Vogue

Photos: Gugu in Bustle

Monday, 12 March 2018

Video: Fast Color SXSW World Premiere Q&A with Julia Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jordan Horowitz

Fast Color SXSW World Premiere Q&A with Julia Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Jordan Horowitz

Published on 11 Mar 2018

Watch the SXSW 2018 World Premiere Q&A of Julia Hart's Fast Color moderated by Barry Jenkins. The Fast Color Q&A features Barry Jenkins, Julia Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jordan Horowitz, and Saniyya Sidney Check out for the latest entertainment news, reviews, interviews, and other exclusive content. Subscribe to our Youtube channel at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at Follow us on Instagram at http://www.instagram/welivenetwork Use #WeLiveNetwork or Tweet to @WeLiveNetwork



My daughter is a huge fan of Gugu, so she was super excited to listen to the Gugu Mbatha-Raw Interview A Wrinkle In Time On Her Role As Dr. Murry. Thank you, Disney, for allowing me to attend the A Wrinkle In Time press event in LA to bring this interview. All tesseracting opinions are my own. 
Guru Mbatha-Raw Interview -

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Interview A Wrinkle In Time | On Her Role As Dr. Murry

Since watching her in the film Belle, my daughter has been a huge fan of Gugu Mbatha-Raw. For her, it was the strong female character she portrayed. Seeing a female on the screen present herself as strong, elegant, and determined made an impact in my daughter’s eyes. Although I wish we would see more of Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dr. Murry in A Wrinkle In Time. I know my daughter is going to be thrilled watching her on the big screen.
A Wrinkle In Time Interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Photo Credit: Louise from
Gugu Mbatha-Raw always seems to be playing strong female roles as she did in A Wrinkle In Time. Where she plays Dr. Murry, a single mom after her husband’s disappearance. Raising her children on her own, while still mourning his loss. The film brings in such a huge diversity of topics such as multicultural families, intelligence in girls, single parenting, and the fight between good and evil. 
Interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw For A Wrinkle In Time

Gugu’s Eight-Year-Old Fan – My Daughter

For the fact that my daughter is such a huge fan of Gugu, I wanted to know what she was hoping that young girls would take away from the film?
“Some of the themes are actually very similar to me and what I’m drawn to. The idea of finding your voice. I think the idea that who you are is enough is something that I really respond to in this story especially in Storm’s character. Growing up being bullied at school, being uncomfortable in her own skin, not sure where she fits. Those are definitely themes that were in Belle, in Beyond the Lights, and in many stories that I’m attracted to.
I think that you have all the potential inside of you. That’s something I think I would love young people to feel and learn and understand”.
Guru Mbatha-Raw plays Dr. Murry In A Wrinkle In Time
Photo Credit: Louise from

Desire To Work With Ava DuVernay

Knowing your worth in the industry you are in is important to make impactful decisions. In this case, Gugu’s decision of becoming apart of A Wrinkle In Time just made sense. 
“It was a no-brainer to me. I really wanted to be a part of this game-changing moment really in the industry. I could feel that this, the way that she was going to cast this film, the fact that it’s historically significant that she’s even directing this film as a woman of color. I wanted to be a part of that girl gang. I wanted to be celebrating what this means culturally”.
A WRINKLE IN TIME Gugu Mbatha-Raw Interview

Favorite Quote In The Film

While interviewing the cast we learned that the message behind the film was important. What lessons did Gugu learn while playing Dr. Murry in the film? 
“I think Oprah has the line, know all you have to do is find the right frequency and be who you are. I was like, that’s the key to life, isn’t it? Just find the right frequency. Find your tribe. Find your purpose. Find the thing that sets you alight and know your frequency, your vibe and then just do that, do you, be authentic”.
Interview with Gugu MBatha-Raw
Photo Credit: Louise from

Preparing To Become Dr. Murry

To prepare for her role as Dr. Murry who plays a smart scientist, alongside Cris Pine they had real-life scientists such as Stephon Alexander who wrote the book, the jazz of physics and others to help along with the linguistic parts of the characters. 
You will also notice if you are a fan of the A Wrinkle In Time book, that in the movie she is referred as Dr. Murry and not Mrs. Murry. The reason behind this was to show that as a single mom and a woman, she was still a scientist as well. 
A Wrinkle IN Time Poster
There’s your inside look into Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s interview and how she became apart of Disney’s newest live-action film A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time In Theaters Tomorrow Friday, March 9th!

About A Wrinkle In Time

Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself.
Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force.
To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw Interview A Wrinkle In Time | On Her Role As Dr. Murry