Thandie Newton was born in London to Nick Newton, a white British lab technician who later turned into an artist and Nyasha a healthcare worker from the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe. Thandie Newton developed a keen interest in performing arts at a very young age. She possessed an exceptional talent for dancing and obtained a scholarship to the Arts Educational School at the age of 11. However, by the time Newton was 16, several injuries barred her from continuing to dance for the entire summer. The prospect of not dancing for whole 3 months extremely depressed the young girl. That is when one of her instructors proposed that she audition for a film that was currently casting in London. Despite the fact that she had no prior acting experience, Newton won the role in Flirting (1992). She flew to Australia for the filming. Newton played the part of a Ugandan exchange student studying at an all girl’s boarding school who develops a liking for a boy at a neighboring boy’s school. Nicole Kidman also played alongside Newton in Flirting. Newton was highly praised for her sassy and fun performance.
Still young, Newton focused back to her education and majored in Anthropology at Downing College, Cambridge University. However, she was still acting between exams and studies. During this time, Newton appeared alongside Harvey Keitel in the crima drama, Young Americans and the horror blockbuster Interview with the Vampire in which she played Brad Pitt’s first victim, Creole, the sultry maid. However, Newton gained immense exposure after starring in Jefferson in Paris. She played the part of Sally Hemmings, the alleged mistress and slave of future president, Thomas Jefferson. She was noticed and recognized for her performance. Newton then returned to complete her degree after which she was seen performing again in The Journey of August King and then later seen in Loaded, a mystery thriller.
There was no turning back for Newton; her career blossomed day and night. Newton demonstrated her powerful acting skills in films such as The Leading Man and Gridlock. She played the leading part in Beloved which was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Toni Morrison. More memorable films from Thandie include Besieged and Mission Impossible 2 where she fully utilized the opportunity to display her beaming beauty and exceptional acting skills.
Despite shining in two very significant roles previously, Newton needed another big break because her acting skills were not being utilized to their full capacity of lately. This cold phase in her career ended in 2002 when she landed a major role in the romantic thriller, The Truth about Charlie. She was the leading lady opposite Mark Wahlberg. After the success of The Truth about Charlie, Newton appeared in a number of significant films during this time including, Shade, The Chronicles of Riddick and then Crash. Newton was highly praised for her performance in Crash by critics. It was also for this very role that she won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Thandie Newton later appeared in a small but significant role in The Pursuit of Happyness followed by more performances in films including Norbit, Run Fat Boy Run, Rocknrolla and W.