British | Jamaican

Asha Reid.jpg

I would identify myself as mixed race. I was born in London but after my parents split I moved out of London with my mum’s family, I always knew there was something missing. I was always interested and always aware that there was a part of me that wasn’t read through my skin colour. I felt a certain sense of belonging and a force that drew me to find my belonging. I was brought up in a rural area with silky long hair. I couldn’t identify with anyone until I would go into London where I would be surrounded by my white family. I felt included. I moved to London as soon as I could. I see people I can relate to and this is something I have always looked for.

I went to Jamaica in 2010 and that was an experience, I felt like I would feel a sense of community but it was the opposite. I was not able to be involved in that which was tough but it made me ask more questions.

I can walk down the street here with my sister who is very dark skinned and then there’s me with very light skin. It’s always an interesting conversation that happens non- verbally, people trying to see who you are. I don’t know whether it’s because of growing up and knowing something was missing back home and then wanting to find it elsewhere. I wonder if that has followed me through my adulthood.

I’m an actress, when I see casting breakdowns for mixed race roles but I won’t be allowed in the room because of what is seen on the surface I find it really upsetting. What is missed is how I feel and what I relate to & what I know to be my history. I had support on both sides making sure I was whole, my family on both sides made sure those worlds were together... and then being told that I am not one or the other was brutal. I think if we keep having this conversation people will realise that this is a conversation that hasn’t been allowed to be had. In the future with this kind of stuff happening it will suddenly invoke people to be asking more questions for people that it doesn’t relate to. It will then have a knock-on affect for the people who see themselves as mixed heritage, they can also answer and relate to other people and see how else it is being dealt with.