Dennis Leupold

Naomie Harris, star of 007's "Spectre," opens up in the Decemeber cover story of ESSENCE.

Lauren Porter
Nov, 06, 2015

British actress Naomie Harris is taking Hollywood by storm. This month she reprises her role as Miss Moneypenny in 007's Spectre (out today). Here's what we learned about the Bond girl from our December cover story.

1. Naomie wants to be a better cook in the kitchen
"I'm trying to step it up. My mom and stepdad throw a massive feast, but they keep me away from the kitchen because they don't think I'm good enough."

2. She's portrayed Winnie Mandela on the big screen
"I did so much research to find her, and I obviously met her. I felt like she got under my skin in a way that no other character had, and that was great because I was able to channel her, and I'm really proud of my performance. But it also meant it was difficult to let go of her."

3. Naomie has come to terms with not having her dad around growing up
"I was able to reach a point of forgiveness for my father, which has been incredibly healing for me. I think the thing that I was asking of my dad--to be able to father me at 18 years old--he was not capable of doing. A big part of the healing experience was understanding where my dad came from. Now that I'm older, I'm able to understand the decision my father made not to be a part of my life when I was growing up. I have learned to put myself in his shoes and have empathy for his choice. There is no animosity between us."

4. She and her mom once lived on welfare while her mother attended college
"We would come home and do our homework together. I grew up reading her scripts."

5. She has a social and political science degree from the University of Cambridge
"I wanted to achieve that degree, and I'm really proud of it. It's important as a black woman to have that. It puts out a good message and inspires young people. Where I come from, people don't usually end up at Cambridge, I did that. To be able to say that, you have to walk that."

6. Her role in 2002 zombie horror film, 28 Days, changed everything for her career
"I had agents from the U.S. coming over to the U.K. to sign me, and I went off to do After the Sunset with Brett Ratner. Then my career just started from there."

Be sure to check out the December issue of ESSENCE Magazine on newsstands Nov. 6.