It’s been a nonstop ride for Jodie Turner-Smith since the end of 2019, when she enjoyed widespread acclaim for her titular role in Lena Waithe’s on-the-run crime drama Queen & Slim, alongside Daniel Kaluuya.
But just as the industry called lift-off on her career, the pandemic put film and TV production on ice. The global shutdown was actually a blessing in disguise for Turner-Smith, as lockdown regulations coincided with her maternity leave following the birth of her daughter in April 2020.
“[Motherhood] has definitely changed me. I’m a different person now,” she tells me. I can see Joshua Jackson, Turner-Smith’s husband and her daughter’s father, scrolling through his phone in the background. “You have to transform in order to bring a baby into the world, so it’s impossible to be the same person. I love it, I love being [a mum].”
She emigrated to the US at the age of nine and was working as a banker in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when a friend introduced her to Pharrell Williams after a NERD concert. His advice to move to Los Angeles and become a model inspired her to make the leap. Since then, she’s worked her way up the ranks, starting out shooting for the likes of Gucci and appearing in the video for Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk”, eventually cutting her acting teeth with a role in the series True Blood before her career breakthrough with Queen & Slim.
This month, Turner-Smith will captivate audiences with her portrayal of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second, and most famous, wife. The three-part limited series for Channel 5 documents the final five months of Anne’s life, as the miscarriage of her son, a legitimate heir for Henry, ultimately leads to her demise.
Photographer Joshua Kissi
Writer Ryan Cahill
Stylist Andrew Mukamal at Streeters
Read the Entire interview at Hunger TV or here.