Uzo Aduba: ‘the best thing that I could do for my daughter is try to be my best self’

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Uzo Aduba and her husband, filmmaker Robert Sweeting, welcomed their first child, daughter Adaiba Lee Nonyem, back on November 30. Uzo is also starring in an upcoming Shonda Rhimes series called The Residence, which is described as a “screwball whodunit” about a murder that takes place at the White House. (More on that in a minute!) Uzo recently chatted with Yahoo Entertainment about motherhood, working on a Shondaland series, and being a brand ambassador for Colgate toothpaste. During the interview, she talked about the confidence she’s found as a mother, the overall importance of embracing your true self, and celebrating the things that make you unique.

Shonda created her a ‘quirky’ character: “She sees everything. And I found that just wonderfully attractive that [Rhimes] had created this really fully rounded, quirky character that gets to step into this world and [is] trying to problem solve,” she says. Aduba says working with Rhimes, who is the creator of successful TV series like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, two primetime hits with Black female leads, attracted her to the project.

On working with Shonda and Besty: “Firstly, when you hear Shondaland, you hear Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers as executive producers on the show, you jump in,” she explains. “I’ve been a long fan of the work that comes out of [Shondaland] and I have deep, deep, massive respect for Shonda and her team: Betsy Beers, Merri Howard and Paul William Davies, who wrote our show. So I was really excited at the prospect of being on a show of that world.”

Motherhood has made her more confident: “The confidence that I’ve gained in being a mother is knowing that I am doing great … that my best is good enough,” she says. “I have confidence in knowing that the best thing that I could do for my daughter is really try to be my best self as an example for her.”

Playing Crazy Eyes also helped her embrace her true self: “[Crazy Eyes from Orange is the New Black] was so uniquely herself, she didn’t really try to be anything other than who she is. She didn’t try to mold herself into what other people wanted her to be,” she says. “That is something that I embrace … and I think that also helped me to find a path for my career.”

She celebrates her tooth gap as a ‘sign of beauty’: The actress’s smile, with her gap, is something she’s become known for. Growing up, though, she asked her mother for braces to correct it. Abuda’s mother pushed back. “My mom was really imparting on us that our gap, which was part of our heritage, [she said], ‘Don’t you know that in Nigeria, your gap is a sign of beauty?’”

Aduba, who grew up in Boston, disagreed at the time. “But now I celebrate it, and I want more young people to do the same,” she says.

On her “My Smile Is My Superpower” campaign with Colgate: In partnership with Colgate, she’s helping young adults smile “with confidence and on their own terms. I wanted to try to inspire young people, Gen Z-ers and younger, if possible, anybody in the reach of my voice to know that, hey, guess what, you know, your smile, it actually is a superpower.”

[From Yahoo News]

I love all of this, especially what she says about the confidence she’s gained from becoming a mother and realizing that the best thing she could do is be her “best self.” Uzo previously talked about this subject in a 2019 profile for The Cut, saying, “As long as you hold true to yourself, there’s always going to be someone who sees that… you have to keep going as you.” Her words resonated with me then just like they do now. I think sometimes we tend to forget that doing our best doesn’t mean being perfect! I’m the best mom I can be when I’m trying to be the best version of myself that I can be. At the end of the day, your kids will be happier and healthier when you’re happy and healthy.

But to get back to The Residence, I am all in on this one. Uzo’s character, Detective Cordelia Cupp, has to search through 132 rooms and investigate 157 suspects to solve the case. It sounds like a Shonda-fied version of Only Murders in the Building, no? Giancarlo Esposito, Al Franken, Jason Lee, and Kylie Minogue co-star. Whenever I hear “screwball whodunit” I immediately think of The Afterparty or Knives Out. There’s no premiere date yet, but it will be on Netflix. Sign me up!

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Photos of a table read for The Residence are credit Jessica Brooks/Netflix. Other photos credit Getty and via Instagram

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7 Responses to “Uzo Aduba: ‘the best thing that I could do for my daughter is try to be my best self’”

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  1. North of Boston says:

    She seems like she’s got such a great perspective! Love it!

  2. Lisa says:

    Kylie Minogue!?

  3. ABB says:

    Her husband has a tooth gap too?! That’s so cute stop it. I’m 38 is it too late to have them adopt me.

  4. lucy2 says:

    I love her! She’s a brilliant actress, I’m thrilled to learn she’s the lead in this show. Shondaland shows usually aren’t my favorite, but I’m happy to give this one a try.

  5. Nanea says:

    Murder in the White House?
    (sung to the tune of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s – Murder On The Dancefloor…*)

    Uzo as the lead, plus the above mentioned co-stars?

    Looking forward to it!

    Good to hear that Uzo’s mother insisted on Uzo not wiping out her heritage with the tooth gap.

    (* we do strange stuff in this house, e.g. Thin Lizzy’s “Waiting for an Alibi” became “Waiting for a Lullaby” when the twins were little)

  6. DaniM says:

    I adore this woman so much.