Black Panther actress Letitia Wright is featured on one of four covers celebrating the 25th year of The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen issue. In her cover story, the Emmy-nominated star discussed how devoting herself to Christianity helped her through a severe bout of depression.
Wright, 25, began her professional acting career in 2011. She immediately secured roles in British television series including Holby City, a hospital drama on BBC, and Top Boy, a crime drama.
The roles kept coming in and the Guyana-born actress even appeared in episodes of critically acclaimed shows Doctor Who and Black Mirror. While many young stars hoping to get their footing into Hollywood would jump at a chance to star alongside Nicole Kidman, Wright turned down the chance in 2015 to deal with “crippling depression.”
“I was putting so much pressure on myself,” she told the publication. “You get comfortable with the idea of thinking, ‘Maybe it’s OK to leave.’”
Wright immersed herself in the Christian faith and found balance in her life and career, which helped her out of the “very dark place.”
Her focus wasn’t on her acting career. “Acting, she could take or leave,” journalist Alex Ritman wrote describing her attitude.
After rehabilitating her mental health, Wright thought she was done with acting.
“I wrapped it up and was done with it, happy to do anything that was more chilled,” Wright revealed. “But that’s not the way God had it with me.”
In 2016, she returned to acting and snagged small parts in movies including The Commuter and Ready Player One before landing her breakout role as Shuri in Marvel’s Black Panther.
“God is just like, ‘When I have something for you, it’s going to be dope,'” Wright said of knowing she secured the part during the audition.
The actress is taking her time with her career and making calculated choices. Although she has been linked to a few movies, according to THR, Wright has only two official projects on her slate, including The Convent, a West End play written by Black Panther co-star Danai Gurira, and John Legend’s remake of the French film Le Brio.
She will be returning to Wakanda in the Black Panther sequel.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.