Michaela Coel’s career is climbing from height to towering heights and her journey is celebrated in a cover feature for the October issue of ELLE UK.
From ‘Chewing Gum’ to ‘I May Destroy You’ to her newly announced role on Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ there is no stopping the Emmy nominee.
Still, while she accelerates at full speed, she pensively reflects on notable hurdles she’s had to navigate on her way.
Head below for pics and quotes…
On The Duality of Racism & Opportunity In The Mediascape:
‘Just all of the experiences in TV, the racism. All the things that seem, when you don’t put them together, you can almost avoid. And then when you piece them together, it presents itself as a worrying and unjust picture within the context of obviously having incredible opportunities. And should it be like that? Does it have to be like that for everybody else?’
On Her Experience As A Black Woman:
‘I am a Black woman and that will always be true,’ she says. ‘And, for me, there is nothing like going to a different country where nobody knows me and experiencing the way security guards follow me around the pharmacy or the grocery shop. The dirty looks I receive, the fact that cars don’t want to stop on a zebra crossing. All these things reinstall that I am a Black woman. As long as these issues are still happening, I am happy to speak, because I could be deluded and forget that that’s a part of me. I’m really lucky that there are places where I’m not known and so it allows me to still experience it.’
Excerpt on Chewing Gum Set Issue:
She explained how, on the Chewing Gum set, she found all the Black actors in one trailer, while the white actor had their own. She described it as looking like ‘a fackin’ slave ship’, to which a producer declared: ‘I’m not racist!’ ‘I know you ain’t racist, that’s what makes this all so fackin’ bizarre,’ Coel countered. Needless to say, more trailers were quickly procured.
This is Coel all over. Correction from a place of forgiveness rather than a place of fury. It is how she makes change happen. Nuance again. Trying to see all sides of the story, then beavering away to make things work.
On The Aftermath Of Being Assaulted:
‘It’s really horrible and f*cked up, and to automatically feel angry, sad, revengeful, those are good things. And then your final destination is empathy. But then there’s also things like the law and we need both of those things.’ She pauses. ‘I think the cycle of grief has to be ridden all the way around. It’s easy to remain in a place of anger, sadness or shock.’