‘I Had To Un-Brainwash Myself’ Zoe Kravitz Talks Racial Identity in NYLON Mag

July 11, 2015  |  

We’ve seen Zoe Kravitz’s self-expression change in many ways throughout her childhood. Her style has gone from hobo hippie to “Twilight” vampire-chic. There have been many times where she’s looked like she hasn’t seen a bathtub or a comb in weeks. But we knew we were bound to get something edgy from the love child of rocker Lenny Kravitz and the black-girl-next-door-gone-bad, Lisa Bonet.

The LOLAWOLF lead singer and Mad Max actress recently opened to NYLON magazine about how she hasn’t always been comfortable in her own skin during her style evolution and reveals that she once identified more with white culture. NYLON reports:

“As one of few black kids in her predominately white school, she remembers saying things like, ‘I’m just as white as y’all,’ to her classmates. ‘I identified with white culture, and I wanted to fit in,’ she says. ‘I didn’t identify with black culture, like, I didn’t like Tyler Perry movies, and I wasn’t into hip-hop music. I liked Neil Young.’ But as time went on, her views shifted. ‘Black culture is so much deeper than that,’ she says, ‘but unfortunately that is what’s fed through the media. That’s what people see. That’s what I saw. But then I got older and listed to A Tribe Called Quest and watched films with Sidney Poitier, and heard Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I had to un-brainwash myself. It’s my mission, especially as an actress.’”

Both of Kravitz’s parents are bi-racial, so it’s not completely unheard of that there are some parts of white culture that appeal to Kravitz, especially given the nature of friends she may have had growing up attending Miami Country Day School and Rudolf Steiner School in her childhood. But we’re glad to see she has learned that black culture isn’t defined by “Madea” and Biggie Smalls.

Kravitz also reveals the challenges of taking on the role of a character with an eating disorder in 2014’s “The Road Within”, especially after struggling with bulimia and anorexia as a teen:

“’It scared the s**t out of me.”

“I was worried about my health. There was, 100 per cent, a voice in my head that said, ‘You get to be really thin, and it’s OK.’ I felt that I could be like, ‘I’m not eating anything, and it’s for a job.’”

Kravitz dropped down to 90 lbs. at the time and as a result suffered from shingles and lost her voice:

“It wasn’t as simple as that before, during, or after, but it made me confront the fact that I still had a problem.”

She reveals that her struggles with body image in her teens rooted from pressures of the world she was growing up in including being the “chubby brown girl” in a word filled with her father’s supermodel friends  and her mother being “the most beautiful woman in the world”.

She also claims she was denied a role in the Dark Knight trilogy, “Dark Knight Rises” due to her race:

“In the last ’Batman’ movie, they told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ’going urban’.”

“It was like, ’What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ’Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?’”

Kravitz says she doesn’t want to limit herself to playing the “best friend” or girl struggling in the ghetto, and that her recent role in “Dope” hits all points she believes in.

Check out NYLON mag’s August 2015 issue for the complete profile.

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