‘The Universe Teaching Me Lessons’: Jodie Turner-Smith Recalls Childhood Memories of Being ‘Tormented’ for Her Skin Complexion, Says Her ‘Tiny, Light-Skinned Boss’ Daughter Is Helping Her ‘Heal’

Jodie Turner-Smith never imagined she would be the mother of a mixed-race child. But after welcoming her first child, a daughter named Janie, with husband, actor Joshua Jackson, in April 2020, something shifted deep within her psyche. 

“It’s interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother,” Turner-Smith told Elle in a candid conversation, where she spoke about the lasting childhood wounds she endured as a richly melanated girl.

“Throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world,” she said.

However, in 2018, she met the “Dawson’s Creek” actor and found herself in a “three-year-one-night stand.”

Jodie Turner-Smith. (Photo: @Jodiesmith/Instagram.)

The following year, the duo made their first red carpet appearance as a couple at the premiere of “Queen  & Slim.”

The screenplay, which was written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, served as mainstream audiences’ grand introduction to Turner-Jackson and her on-screen leading man, Daniel Kaluuya. Months later, she and Jackson tied the knot.

Their union was met with backlash from critics who disapproved of their interracial relationship. In past reports, she recounted online trolls calling her triggering racial epithets such as a bed wench.

The “Without Remorse” actress said the attacks did not impede upon her decision to start a family, but facing the reality of having a biracial child was something she deeply reflected on.

“To decide not to have a child with somebody you love, just because they’re white, was insane to me,” she said.

“But, at the same time, I did have this mini pause, where I was like, ‘She’s going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I’d always felt a little bit tormented by.” 

The British-born talent shared that motherhood has since helped her to bandage the past hurts of feeling inferior because of her skin color. Those feelings, for some, would come as a surprise, she said.

“Anyone who has known me throughout my life would say, ‘Oh, Jodie has very high self-esteem.’ But it affected me, I just faked it till I made it,” she revealed. “It wasn’t until adulthood that I began to come into myself. For a long time, people would even say to me, ‘You’re so pretty … for a dark-skinned girl.”

She continued to explain how Janie has played a significant role. “Now that I’ve got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons,” said Turner-Smith. “I’ve been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism.”

While she and Smith have been mum on any plans to add to their family, she is clear on the ascent her career is taking. This year she joined the “Star Wars” franchise in the show “The Acolyte.”

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