Naomie Harris: ‘My OBE is a Powerful Statement’


Naomie Harris views her OBE honour as a “powerful” message of inspiration to those from a deprived background.

The 40-year-old received the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to drama from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday (23Feb17), just days before the 2017 Academy Awards on Sunday (26Feb17) where she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Moonlight.

Having had a deprived childhood when raised in London by her Jamaican immigrant mother Lisselle, who split from Naomie’s father before she was born, the star hopes her award encourages others in a similar boat to pursue their dreams.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have my work recognised in this way,” she told the BBC.

“I know as a black actress in this industry from the kind of background I came from, growing up in a council flat in Finsbury Park and starting my life out on benefits with a single parent… To have achieved something like an OBE is a powerful statement which is inspiring to a lot of young people.”

Speaking at the royal household afterwards Naomie revealed to ITV that the monarch wished her the best for the future when giving her the prestigious medal, as well as wishing her success on Moonlight.

The coming-of-age drama, which sees her as the drug-addict mother of a young man coming to terms with his sexuality, is the latest success in Naomie’s career, following on her role as Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Miss Moneypenny in the last two James Bond films.

It’s still unknown whether 007 actor Daniel Craig will return to front the next flick, with Naomie insisting she’s clueless too.

“I genuinely know nothing,” she shrugged to the BBC. “The reality is everybody’s waiting on Daniel.

“He’s the only person who knows what’s going to happen. I think everyone’s just waiting for him to make a decision.”

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