Jodie Turner-Smith says having a biracial daughter healed her 'conversations around colorism': 'It's the universe teaching me'
In a recent interview with Elle, Jodie Turner-Smith opened up about colorism and raising a biracial child — and how she has no problem calling her a "nepo baby."
"The best thing that we can do is let them touch the earth and be grounded and real — as real as one can be when you have the level of privilege that obviously my child has," the British actress-model said in reference to her daughter Janie, 2, shared with husband Joshua Jackson. As far as her being a nepo baby — the recently buzzy way of referring to the offspring of a celebrity who follows in that parent's career footsteps — Turner-Smith is embracing the term.
"I'm not acting like she's not a nepo baby," she said. "But I worked damn hard to have a nepo baby!"
She admits her daughter's childhood will look vastly different than her own, which she still reflects on fondly.
"We were poor, but I never really had a sense of it. I certainly wasn't as poor as my mother when she was growing up, but when you come from not having anything, you want to grasp life with both arms," she said.
And as a dark-skinned woman raising a biracial child with fairer skin than her own, Turner says the differences will extend beyond the realm of financial privilege.
"She is going to have a completely different experience in the world than I did, because I have given birth to a mixed-race girl," she said, explaining that this was not something she initially planned.
"It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies," she said, explaining that she looked forward to building up their confidence in a way she didn't experience.
"I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," she said.
But when she met Joshua, things began to shift.
"I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. To decide not to have a child with somebody you love, just because they're white, was insane to me," she said.
But of course, this did not quell all of her worries, as she would now be parenting a child that resembled the ones who had made her feel inferior for her skin color.
"I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by,'" she revealed — though many would be shocked to hear that Turner ever felt less-than due to her skin color, as she often put on a facade of impenetrable self-confidence.
"Anyone who has known me throughout my life would say, 'Oh, Jodie has very high self-esteem.' But it affected me, I just faked it till I made it. It wasn't until adulthood that I began to come into myself," she said, sharing that she was also on the receiving end of many backhanded compliments regarding her skin tone.
"For a long time, people would even say to me, 'You're so pretty...for a dark-skinned girl,'" she said.
But rather than serve as an incessant reminder of her past, Turner says having her daughter has actually been a healing experience.
"Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it's the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism," she said.
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