Actress Naomie Harris has admitted to finding life after the coronavirus-enforced lockdown “incredibly hard”.
“I expected life to get back to normal and we have this new normal which I find incredibly challenging,” said the James Bond star and Moonlight star.
“Masks are there to protect us but they do seem like a way of isolating ourselves,” she continued.
In contrast Harris said she had had “a great time” during the lockdown itself, likening it to “early retirement”.
Cook-offs and baking
New laws on how many people can socialise indoors and outdoors are being introduced from Monday.
The “rule of six” will ban gatherings of more than six people indoors in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Lockdown for me was actually a really fine experience, because I live on the same street as my family so we were able to be our own bubble,” said Harris on Friday.
“We had a great time, cook-offs once a week and baking, and it was like the whole world stopped.
“I had so many awarenesses that were fundamental about my life which I wouldn’t have had the opportunity [to have] if I hadn’t stopped,” she continued.
“I think I was way too unbalanced in my life because it was so heavily focused on my career. I think I was working too much and not having enough down time.”
Harris, who plays Moneypenny in the James Bond film series, was speaking as part of Make For Tomorrow, an arts programme for people with mental health difficulties.
During a wide-ranging discussion she spoke about being bullied as a child, and said it was “traumatic and really rough”, adding: “Acting was a form of escapism.”
She said her favourite role was Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
“I would so love to play her again. “She’s a fantastical character so nobody could ever say ‘She would never do that’.
“I got to create her from scratch. She’s so playful and naughty and sexy and the best character to play.
“My favourite characters are always a million miles away from me, I feel straight-jacketed and uncomfortable when characters are too close to me.”
She also said that she benefits hugely from meditating twice a day, adding: “It is my lifeline. It’s my way of re-centering and shedding the day. I’d go doolally without it.”
Harris, who was Oscar nominated for Moonlight in 2017, said she was driven to “portray positive images of black women” in her work.
“I had strong, intelligent women around me when I was growing up who I didn’t see represented on television,” she said.
The actress, who was made an OBE in the same year as her Oscar nomination, said she often struggled with small talk in social situations.
Loss of anonymity
“I tend to delve deep,” she explained, revealing she received media training when she joined “the Bond family” to help her deal with probing interviews.
Harris said she “mourned” the “massive loss” of her anonymity but accepted it as “the price you pay for being successful”.
She also revealed she has started a writing project with broadcaster and writer Afua Hirsch that has already won them a development deal.
The actress, who turned 44 last week, will shortly be seen in The Third Day, a Sky drama about strangers drawn to a mysterious island off the British coast.
She will also been seen later this year reprising her Eve Moneypenny role in No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s last outing as secret agent James Bond.