Zawe Ashton

  • Words Hettie O’Brien
  • Photography Pelle Crépin
  • Styling Holly White

Through writing, actor Zawe Ashton is slowly shifting her role from object to subject.

  • Words Hettie O’Brien
  • Photography Pelle Crépin
  • Styling Holly White
  • Hair Bjorn Krischker
  • Makeup James O’Riley

The work of a convincing performer is to make a practice of disjunction, blurring fact and fiction until it’s no longer clear where the performance ends. Zawe Ashton, an actor and writer from East London, has been performing for so long that she sometimes feels as though she has “just woken up.” “There has been this eye, this gaze, that has followed me since birth,” she says. This is what it is to have grown up as a child actor, an experience that would be strange, were Ashton to have ever known anything different.

It’s only now, at the age of 37, that Ashton feels she has managed to “reshuffle the cards,” as she puts it. We’re speaking over Zoom: Ashton from the northwest London home she shares with her fiancé, the actor Tom Hiddleston, and me from an office room tha...

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