Thandiwe Newton reclaims the true spelling of her name: 'I'm taking back what's mine'

thandie newton
Thandiwe Newton. Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
  • Newton has been going by the first name "Thandie" her entire career. Not any more.

  • "That's my name," she told British Vogue. "It's always been my name. I'm taking back what's mine."

  • Thandiwe means "beloved" in the Bantu language of the Shona people in Zimbabwe.

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Emmy winner Thandiwe Newton has been going by the name "Thandie" ever since her first role. But no more.

In the May 2021 cover story of British Vogue, the 48-year-old "Westworld" star told writer Diana Evans the true spelling of her first name and announced that going forward, she will be credited with the correct spelling.

Newton said that the "W" in her first name was carelessly left out of her first acting credit.

"That's my name," she told British Vogue, which said Thandiwe means "beloved" in Shona. "It's always been my name. I'm taking back what's mine."

This is the latest chapter in the evolution of Newton. In 2016 she spoke out about being a victim of sexual abuse during an audition, a year before Hollywood was turned on its head due to the #MeToo movement.

She told British Vogue's Evans she had to fire her publicist at the time, who told her to stop speaking out about being sexually abused because it was "not good for your reputation."

Thandie Newton Maeve Westworld season three HBO
Thandiwe Newton as Maeve in "Westworld" season three. HBO

In 2018, she and her "Westworld" costar Evan Rachel Wood fought for pay equality. And in an explosive 2002 Vulture interview, Newton said that she turned down a role in 2000's "Charlie's Angels" because she felt "objectified" in casting meetings and accusing Sony executive Amy Pascal of pressuring her to turn the character she was to play into a Black stereotype.

Newton said because of all these moments in recent years she finally feels empowered in Hollywood. The change back to her real name is the latest push forward for equality.

"The thing I'm most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me," she said. "And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as 'others,' which is what happens when you're the only one."

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