Naomie Harris Born September 6, 1976. Starred as Selena~28 Days Later, Tia Dalma/Calypso~2nd+3rd Pirates of the Caribbean, Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and SPECTRE.Winnie Mandela in Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom.Southpaw, Our Kind of Traitor,Moonlight (Oscar Nominee) plus Collateral Beauty and Jungle Book (2018)
Bond girl Naomie Harris set to become one of British cinema's most bankable stars
Tough Naomie Harris has revealed how she defeated school bullies and university discrimination – proving that, with stunning looks and brains, she has all the qualities needed to be a brilliant Bond girl.
London-born Naomie has kept a low profile despite roles in 28 Days Later, Miami Vice and Pirates of the Caribbean.
But her new job portraying an MI6 agent called Eve alongside Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond film Skyfall, is expected to make her one of the world’s most sought-after actresses.
The spotlight marks a major turnaround for the 36-year-old, who admits she was a “bookwormish” teenager with few friends, who “cried every day” during her time at Cambridge University.
As the only child of a single-mother on benefits from Finsbury Park, North London, the actress felt alienated by the scores of public-schooled students around her as she studied social and political sciences at Pembroke College.
She said: “I hated Cambridge. I was very unhappy and cried every day.
“I come from a very working-class background, so Cambridge was a huge culture shock. When I went Mum said I wouldn’t fit in and she was right. The people there were so different to me and I couldn’t connect with them on any level.
“They talked about Eton and skiing and here was I, this black girl from North London.”
Naomie’s Jamaican mother Carmen was just 18 when she had her daughter.
She had no relationship with her estranged father, who is not named on her birth certificate.
She has only met him twice – once when he approached her in the street, aged seven, and the second time at the suggestion of her friend to re-establish contact with him in 2010.
“I’ve been to his house and spoken to him,” Naomie said simply, adding that she feels “no” connection to him. The recent meeting did little to build bridges.
“I feel it’s too late,” she added. “I don’t really need fathering any more. I’m still working out what I want from the relationship and whether, in fact, I do want anything at all.”
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With a child and on benefits, Carmen put herself through university, taking Naomie along to classes with her. The determined can-do attitude certainly rubbed off on the youngster. “I’d sit in the corner during her lectures and do colouring in,” she said. “We used to do our homework together.
“She was a brilliant mother and incredibly inspirational, but she was very busy.”
While Carmen’s studies eventually paid off with a successful career as a scriptwriter for projects including EastEnders, Naomie got the acting bug early on, joining a drama group aged seven.
By 10 she was a regular on BBC children’s television show Simon And The Witch – but far from making her popular, her success made her the focus for bullies’ taunts.
Naomie, who also starred in kids’ favourite The Tomorrow People, said: “I hated school. I didn’t want to go. I don’t know why I was bullied. I was quite shy and skinny. Very nerdy, very bookwormish. I think I was just a target.
“It was name-calling, people not wanting to be my friend, having no one to play with.
“I bunked off a lot. I would go across the road and sit in the park. When I was 16 I wanted to leave school and act, but my mum begged me to stay so that I’d have qualifications in case acting didn’t work out.”
Naomie has won big roles in movies, despite sticking to her principles, such as refusing to strip for 2006 blockbuster Miami Vice.
But unfortunately she has picked up a few Hollywood-style fads along the way – one of which even put her life at risk.
She said: “I am totally obsessed with health, which has been an interesting journey for me.
“I became a raw foodist and got really ill. It was hard, especially in England in winter, trying to survive on raw carrots. I became so ill I was anaemic, so I stopped and became a total vitamin junkie.”
Since then her appetites have changed and she sank her teeth into her role as Eve, adding: “I’ve been stunt driving and firing machine guns, which I’ve discovered I have a real taste for.”