In This Issue
As we prepare to close out Women's History Month, we want to continue to shine light on our commemorative HBCU STEM Queens issue. EBONY's special edition issue, in partnership with Olay, is currently on stands at Target and Barnes and Noble stores, and spotlights our current roster of brilliant Black STEM queens, who are leading the way at HBCUs. The issue also highlights diverse arenas where we see others who look like us in these fields.
In the Apple TV+ sci-fi series Foundation, Lou Llobell stars as a math prodigy poised to save the world. The London-based actress caught up with EBONY to share what it was like portraying a Black woman in the STEM field on the show. In the video below, she answers questions about the importance of representation of women on color in science, technology engineering and mathematics; her views on playing Gaal Dornick, a character who was portrayed as a white male in the original book series that her streaming saga is based on; as well as being a role model for young women.
Check out the full story by Ronda Racha Penrice below :
There’s a warmth to Lou Llobell that makes you root for her. It’s in her eyes and definitely in her spirit. Wanting to put good out in the world is just how she flows. And it’s infectious!
In that way, she isn’t much different from her breakout role as Gaal Dornick in Apple TV+’s epic sci-fi series! Foundation. Much like the mathematician who is plucked out of obscurity when she wins a galaxy-wide math competition, Llobell herself has also seemingly come out of nowhere. When the show debuted back in September, she had just two other credits on her IMDb page.
Starring in the long-awaited adaptation of science fiction icon Isaac Asimov’s popular 1950s book series is a major coup for any actor—let alone one just starting out. Though the show centers on the fallout of mathematician
Hari Seldon’s prediction of the Galactic Empire’s demise, Llobell’s Gaal is a key to the events that follow. And so
is actor Leah Harvey’s character Salvor Hardin, who protects a remote settlement threatened by invasion.
Sadly, not everyone has celebrated this milestone. “There’s a lot of racist people out there who aren’t particularly happy that two characters who are white males in the books are now women of color,” Llobell says.
Rising above it all, the actress leans into praises like “my 12-year-old daughter is seeing someone like herself
on-screen and thank you so much.” As the child of a Zimbabwean mother and a Spanish father and raised largely
in South Africa, Llobell, now based in London, knows what it’s like not to see yourself.!“I don’t think I grew up seeing
a lot of women like me, that looked like me, in these kinds of roles,” she says.
To make it even more interesting, she’s been very vested in Gaal’s hair choices, insisting they reflect her evolution throughout the first season and now in filming the second. “I use my hair as an accessory because my journey with my hair has been so tough,” she says. Because her mother has locs and a texture that differs from hers, Llobell found her own empowerment through YouTube. “As soon as a young Black woman or a young mixed-race woman learns how to do their hair, it’s like a coming of age. I feel like you become a woman when you feel confident that you’re able to style your hair and take your time and love your hair,” she adds.
Experimenting with her wardrobe is another form of self-expression Llobell gleefully embraces. "I'm so obsessed with fashion. Like I cry at every fitting," she confesses. Fortunately for us, she's also obsessed with Foundation and Gaal. "I love the stories. And I love this character. I literally got a tattoo of Gaal. Its just so exciting," she beams. "I really like her, and I'm excited to see what happens."