Mixed Up: ‘Don’t Call Me “Privileged” Because I Have Lighter Skin’
Mixed Up is a weekly series that explores mixed-race identity. Each week we focus on a different person and hear their unique, lived experience of being mixed in the current climate.
Mixed-race is the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK – a trend which shows no signs of slowing down.
This series aims to go beyond the stereotypes and stigma to examine the joys, conflicts and contradictions that come with straddling two or more ethnicities.
Laura Adebisi is an actress and playwright. Both her parents are mixed-race and she spent the majority of her childhood in Nigeria before moving to the UK as a teenager.
‘I am Nigerian, English and Portuguese,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk. ‘My dad is half Nigerian, half Portuguese and my mum is half Nigerian, half English, but they are both so much more than half of anything. ‘I grew up in Nigeria until I was 13, my parents have always been back and forth between England and Nigeria. ‘I feel a stronger connection to my English and Nigerian roots.
My parents have always mixed both cultures very freely, especially because my dad grew up in England and my mum in Nigeria, so it has always been a nice blend. ‘I do feel my Latin blood come out once in a while, but my Portuguese side is definitely the side I am least connected with.
‘I visited Portugal for the first time when I was 18, and that feeling of belonging came when I was in Lisbon, it was undeniable. ‘My dad used to be fluent in Portuguese and now can’t speak a word. That loss of a language is really sad and interesting.’
As an actress, Laura feels certain pressures as a mixed-race woman. The way she looks directly correlates with the type of work she can get – and that can be hard at times . . .