Turner-Smith explained to Sex Education‘s Ncuti Gatwa for Elle UK that she felt “a lot of resistance to becoming a mother” before settling down with her husband Joshua Jackson.
However, when considering taking on the role, she envisioned mothering “Black babies.” She understood the love they needed and what the world would deny them, and she desired to provide them with that appreciation and confidence.
But then she fell in love, and as she and Jackson discussed expanding their family, she had a “mini pause.” Raising a child with a completely different experience in the world was daunting for her.
“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,'” Turner-Smith told Gatwa.
Turner-Smith could not be prouder of now 2-year-old Janie, who she said is hilarious.
“I love this little girl so much,” she told Gatwa. “She’s so funny. It’s a big job to prepare children for the world. 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. I’m not acting like she’s not a nepo baby. But I worked damn hard to have a nepo baby!”
Though Turner-Smith was concerned about how she’d mother Janie, doing so has shifted her perspective and inspired her healing.
“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 shared.
Turner-Smith and Gatwa, who made history as Doctor Who‘s first Black lead, also reflected on the 36-year-old’s “monumental” role in Queen & Slim and how it may have led to Hollywood typecasting her. Gatwa suggested that casting directors may only see her as an intense, dramatic actor, but Turner-Smith has comedic aspirations.
“I want to do everything. I feel like, why limit myself? Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler: when the two of them do their thing together, it’s so f**king hysterical. I’m so proud of myself because I was cracking Adam and Jen up. I had so much fun, and let me just say, Jennifer Aniston is so cool,” she said.