Thandiwe Newton corrects spelling of name: ‘I’m taking back what’s mine’

The acclaimed actress says Thandiwe means 'beloved' in Shona, which is one of the main languages in Zimbabwe, her mother's home nation.

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Actress Thandiwe Newton has revealed that she plans to be known professionally by her full given name.

In an interview with British Vogue, she revealed that the last two letters were left off her name in her first film, and she allowed herself to be known as “Thandi.” However, Newton says of her full Zimbabwean name, “that’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.” 

Actress Thandiwe Newton now plans to be known professionally by her full given name. The last two letters were left off her name in her first film. However, Newton says, of her full Zimbabwean name, “I’m taking back what’s mine.” (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Thandiwe means “beloved” in Shona, which is one of the main languages in Zimbabwe, the nation her mother is from. 

The 48-year-old star of HBO’s Westworld also talked at length about the trauma she experienced at the hands of Hollywood executives and directors, including Australian director John Duigan. 

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She said the experience left her with “a kind of PTSD for sure” and added she has a “seventh sense for abuse and abusers, which I believe is one of the reasons why I was rejected a lot in Hollywood.”

Newton has long been a supporter of the MeToo and Time’s Up movements in Hollywood and, along with castmate Evan Rachel Wood, fought for the same pay as her male counterparts on Westworld, a fact that she said was no cause for celebration. She maintains that “studio heads need to take much more responsibility.”

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On the subject of her name, Newton’s May 2021 cover story for British Vogue notes that she is of royal blood and maintains that she and daughters Ripley and Nico are “also princesses, like their grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as Thandiwe herself.” 

The star of the big and small screen says all her future films will include her full first name, which she notes is a form of control. 

“Wherever I position myself now, I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution,” Newton told the magazine. “I’m not for hire anymore. I’m not going to speak your story or say your words if I don’t feel they could’ve come from me.”

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