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Even if you don’t recognize the name, you know Thandiwe Newton. The actress, who has starred in blockbusters like Interview with the Vampire and The Pursuit of Happyness, once went by the name “Thandie” Newton. So, what prompted the change?

The Typo That Changed Newton’s Name

Newton’s full name is Melanie Thandiwe Newton. She decided to drop her first name once she began acting, but a typo in the credits of her first movie, 1991’s Flirting, changed her name even further. 

The “w” in Thandiwe was dropped, and the actress quickly became known all over the world as “Thandie.” Newton has now announced that she will be going back to “Thandiwe,” and will be credited with that name on all future projects. 

“That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” she told British Vogue. Newton, born to a British father and Zimbabwean mother, felt encouraged to return to her true name after seeing the progress made in the entertainment industry in regard to diversity. 

“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me. And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as ‘others’, which is what happens when you’re the only one,” she said.

Her Work To Promote Diversity in Hollywood

In addition to her acting work, Newton is also an outspoken champion for women and minorities in the entertainment industry. The Westworld star and her co-star Evan Rachel Wood were recently given raises so that their salaries matched those of their male co-stars. 

“Even though people know they can speak out now, there is still the fear of losing their job,” Newton explained. “I mean literally, people still say, ‘There’s someone else who could take this position, if you’re not happy’, that kind of sh–t. I do think studio heads need to take much more responsibility.”

The actress has also spoken out about her experiences with abuse at the hands of a director almost 20 years her senior, starting when she was just 16 years old. She now works to elevate the voices of victims and put an end to abuse in Hollywood. 

“I have a seventh sense for abuse and abusers,” she said, “which I believe is one of the reasons why I was rejected a lot in Hollywood. I’ll talk about it until the cows come home, because I know I’ll be helping someone.”

Newton has always been authentic and true to herself throughout her career. By taking back her real name, the actress is continuing to show the world that she will always be unapologetically herself. 

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