Much like the big bang that started everything or the invention of Instagram, it's hard to imagine life before #Westworlds's #ThandieNewton. In celebration of television's current reigning badass, let's take a look at ten insane things you never knew about Thandie Newton.
1. Her First-Ever Character Shared Her Name
Thandie was 18 when she took her first ever film role, the Australian drama Flirting, a coming-of-age story about a boy at male boarding school who falls for a girl, Thandiwe, at the girls' school across the lake. The film also starred Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, which is not bad for a big-screen debut.
Thandie's full name is Melanie Thandiwe Newton (she took Thandie for her stage name) and Thandiwe means "beloved" in Zulu and Ndebele. Clearly, the role was meant to be, and it proved a deserved breakthrough for Thandie.
2. She Steals Herbs From Vogue UK Editor Alexandra Shulman's Garden
During a fairly incredible interview with the UK's Guardian newspaper, Thandie confessed that she sometimes invades the garden of her neighbor in north-west London, the Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman.
"I like her a lot. We hang out. She uses my gardener. I nick rosemary from her garden."
Proving that even the rich and famous can be thrifty sometimes.
3. She's An Athiest, But Went To A White Catholic School Run By Nuns
During her TED Talk in 2011, Thandie spoke eloquently about identity and her youthful struggle to come to terms with who she was and where she came from.
"From about the age of 5, I was aware that I didn't fit. I was the black, atheist kid in the all-white Catholic school run by nuns ... My skin color wasn't right. My hair wasn't right. My history wasn't right. In that social world, I didn't really exist."
Check out Thandie's TED Talk in full below. It's worth 14 minutes of your time.
4. She Was Named 2014's Sexiest Vegan
The animal rights charity PETA named Thandie the UK's sexiest vegan in 2014. I didn't actually realize "sexiest vegan" awards were a thing (oxymoron much?), but I guess PETA have to persuade carnivores to join their cause somehow.
5. She Wakes Up Angry Every Day
Speaking to The Guardian, Thandie boldly claimed that her endometriosis (chronic pelvic pain) was caused by fury:
"I really do think it was [down to] fury. I'm always angry. I wake up angry. There is a lot to be angry about. Anger is a positive energy."
To be fair, Thandie has channeled that anger into philanthropy work across Africa including with rape victims in Congo. Sounds pretty positive to me.
6. Lucy Liu Stole Her Role In 'Charlie's Angels'
From TV to indies to blockbusters, Thandie's career has been pretty great, but it might've looked a whole lot different if she'd accepted the role of Alex in Charlie's Angels. In the end, though, "scheduling complications" got in the way, and the role went to Lucy Liu instead. And she was epic.
7. She Wanted To Campaign For More Black Women To Cover Vogue... But Then Couldn't Be Bothered
Sometimes, there are only so many causes you can fight for before you think "you know what? Fuck this noise!" It's a feeling Thandie is familiar with. Speaking to The Guardian, she explained why she stopped campaigning to get more black women on the cover of Vogue:
"I was a little girl a long time ago, and that little girl knew Vogue was everything. [But] then I was like, wow, that’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of fucking work. And then I realised, I don’t care any more. I don't care."
This woman is so relatable. It's OK to give up sometimes.
8. A Creepy Director Took Advantage Of Her As A Teenager
Like a huge number of women in Hollywood, Thandie has suffered the indignity of being objectified by a man in a position of power, in this case a director who recorded a "sexy" audition and then shared the video among his friends. Speaking to W magazine this year, she recalled:
"A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my tits and think about the guy making love to me in the scene. I thought, ‘Ok, this is a little weird,' but there was a female casting director in the room and I’d done weird stuff before so I did it."
"It turns out that the director was showing that audition tape to his friends after poker games at his house. And they would all get off on it."
The lesson? Hollywood is gross.
9. She Named Her Daughter Ripley. You Know, Like THE Ripley
As if Thandie wasn't already enough of a badass, the revelation that she named her first-born daughter after sci-fi's most iconic heroine totally seals the deal.
"I really celebrate pop culture. It's the synthesis of everything. I was pregnant when I watched Aliens. Sigourney Weaver's character was feminine but empowered. She was kicking alien arse with a baby under her arm."
10. She's Cooler Than You
Sorry, but this is one truth bomb you're gonna have to deal with.
What do you love best about Westworld's reigning queen?