Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa has opened up about the effect that playing Eric had on his personal life, saying it "undid a lot of internalised hate".
Ahead of the fourth and final series of Sex Education, which premieres on September 21, Gatwa, who has starred as Eric Effiong on the hit Netflix show for five years, told Elle how the show impacted him and changed the way he views the world.
"It undid a lot of the internalised hate I had. I've experienced racism my whole life, and while I always believed in myself, always knew [racists] were stupid and uneducated," Gatwa explained in the interview which took place before the SAG-AFTRA strike began.
"I guess it did misinform my view of how the world works. It makes you think everyone has that opinion and you’ll constantly have to fight through life – then you learn that you don't: you can find a tribe, you can find your people," he added.
Since representing a queer Black teen on the show, Gatwa's character Eric has become a fan favourite, an accolade he thanks screenwriter Laurie Nunn for.
"Shout out to Laurie Nunn for giving nuance to this gay, Black character and gifting him to the world, " Gatwa told Elle.
"He's so fierce and unashamed. It was healing for me, and great for people to see themselves represented. It taught me the importance of representation: it's so powerful and necessary."
Elsewhere in the interview, Gatwa opened up about his role in Greta Gerwig's Barbie, saying: "I was so nervous I hardly spoke for the first month. There was a time when I was talking to Greta and I turned around and Ryan Gosling was looking at me, and his eyes were so blue that I just… fell over. I just drowned in his eyes."
Sex Education season 4 will arrive on Netflix on September 21. Seasons 1-3 are available to watch now.
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