Jodie Turner-Smith has every reason to be tired: The actor gave birth to a baby girl in April in the midst of a global pandemic, has two films slated for next year and, like many of us, is trying to navigate one of the most politically and culturally fraught moments in modern history. But when we connected over the summer to talk about her being invited by Gucci’s leading creative, Alessandro Michele, to star as one of the faces of the much anticipated Gucci Bloom Profumo di Fiori fragrance, she was improbably composed. In fact, her regal poise and measured way of constructing her thoughts made it immediately clear why she was snapped up by director Melina Matsoukas to star as one of the titular characters in the sweeping 2019 film Queen & Slim.
“Now I have a new boss, though, and she’s unpredictable,” she jokes about the young daughter she dotes on with her husband, Canadian-born actor Joshua Jackson. But Turner-Smith is comfortable with a certain amount of volatility. After growing up with her siblings in rural England, Turner-Smith, the only one not born in Jamaica, moved to the United States with her mom. She never felt like she fit in and struggled to accept herself. “But you can’t be creative if you’re coming from a place of lacking,” she says now, a decade after moving to Los Angeles. “Confidence is something that is born.”