Gugu Mbatha-Raw Recalls a Near Death Experience and Explains How it Gave Her the Courage to Live Life
Jason Laveris

Gugu Mbatha-Raw is unstoppable. Not only did our ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Breakthrough Award honoree make two blockbusters last year, but she also found the courage to run away from an armed attacker.

During her acceptance speech at this year’s ceremony, the 31-year-old actress recalled how she was mugged at gunpoint while filming Beyond the Lights.

“I thought, ‘This is it. This is the ultimate fear,'” she recalled. “The end of life, right there in front of you. I ran away as fast as I could. It was all okay, but what it gave me was a sense of letting go of the fears that stop us from doing the things that we want to do.”

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In fact, she credits that mugging with giving her the strength to pursue lifelong dreams. She said that after her near-death experience, she decided to travel to South Africa, and she later took took the time to explore both her Black and White ancestry.

“It really was a gift,” she said. “I guess all that is to say that our fears can sometimes be great if we stand up and face them.”