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She looks like your girl next door, is only 27-year-old but already has under her belt no less than 12 films, no less than 10 television shows, and no less than eight prestigious nominations and awards for her acting career.
Letitia Michelle Wright was born in Guyana on October 31, 1993. At the age of seven she migrated with her parents to Britain where she was raised in Tottenham, North London. Though she says she “will always be a North London girl” she is equally proud of her Guyanese roots. In an interview with Ebony magazine, Letitia said she is proud to be Guyanese and put Guyana on the map in the movie industry.
She has been in theatre all her life acting since a child in school plays. But she was first drawn to the attention of many Guyanese for her co-starring role in the 2018 Marvel comic “Black Panther” as Shuri, the genius younger sister of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). That movie became a blockbuster, grossing more than US$1.3 billion worldwide. She was adjudged the highest earning box office actress in 2018.
Taking control of her destiny
Letitia does not accept no and is not hindered in her pursuit even if she is penniless. She tells a story to W Magazine of breaking into the industry without having the financial wherewithal to hire a photographer or an agent but was not deterred. She turned to emails, contacting receptionists, knocking on the doors and marketing herself until someone gave her a chance. Letitia said when she was asked to recite a line, which she was prepared for because she did the homework of familiarising herself, she succeeded in impressing her interviewer and was hired on the spot.
Her ambition has also pushed her to challenge stereotypes. She has also refused to accept she is not capable of playing a leading role. In a Vanity Fair article Letitia said if she is asked to play a supporting role, she would ask to read the script of the leading role even though she was not recruited for said role. Another thing she shies away from is buttonholing herself into any role, preferring to accept the multidimensional ones that do not play to stereotypes.
Dealing with mental health and COVID-19 controversy
Letitia has used her platform to address mental health (mental illness). In the Guyanese community, particularly in Guyana, many see mental illness as a stigma. The misperception leaves sufferers of this illness alone and afraid to reach out for support. This is out of fear that should they seek medical help they would be exposed, misunderstood, condemned and/or ostracised from their family, friends and communities.
In 2019, Letitia stood up and spoke out about her struggles. In her acceptance speech receiving the Rising Star BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award, she spoke about her battle with depression. These are her words: “A few years ago I saw myself in a deep state of depression and I literally wanted to quit acting. The only thing that pulled me out of it was God, my belief, my faith and my family, and an email from Bafta asking me to become part of the Bafta Breakthrough Brits.” Letitia admitted that she is “still a work in progress” coping with her illness.
Last December she attracted international attention but probably not for the reason she would have wanted. She had posted to her Twitter account a one-hour video questioning COVID-19 vaccine and raising conspiracy theories about the vaccine. After raising public eyebrows and attracting condemnation she responded by saying “my intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else” Since the backlash Letitia no longer has a presence on social media or has been “cancelled” according to her.
The star was born in Guyana
Whilst Letitia Michelle Wright is not on social media and her fans are denied more intimate interaction with her, she continues to be a shining star, a young woman with the frailty that comes with being human, but there is no denying she is loved and admired as an international star, and that star was born here in Guyana.