Ncuti Gatwa says he’s ‘fighting for his privacy’ when it comes to speculation around his sexuality

Ncuti Gatwa has spoken about his upcoming return to Sex Education, his turn as a Time Lord in Doctor Who and why he’s “fighting for privacy” when it comes to his sexuality.

An instantly legendary role in Netflix’s Sex Education, as Nigerian-Ghanaian fashionista Eric Effiong, and a return to the series’ fourth season is just the beginning of a golden period for the star.

Gatwa is also set to star as a Ken doll in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film, alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and will take up residence in the Tardis as showrunner Russell T Davies returns to the iconic BBC TV sci-fi series – once regenerated David Tennant vacates the role of Gallifrey’s most-famous son.

All that publicity is not without drawbacks, however, as Gatwa revealed in an interview with British Vogue as part of their July Pride issue.

Many Sex Education fans have assumed that the Rwandan-Scottish actor is gay, just like his colourful character. While Gatwa has never publically addressed the speculation, he’s now said that he’s “fighting for his privacy” against constant intrusion.

“It’s a safety and mental-health thing,” he said. “After Sex Education, we all became public property, to an extent. You have to fight for your right to privacy after that, but you also do feel like you owe people something.

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“In setting my boundaries, I knew I wanted to separate the private and public, and that I never wanted my personal life to overshadow my work.”

Gatwa went on to explain that although “everyone is on their own journey”, it was important that public figures should be free from the pressure to publically define their sexuality – Heartstopper star Kit Connor was recently forced to come out as bisexual after being accused of queerbaiting.

“It’s important that no one feels an obligation to others in relation to what’s happening to them internally. That’s what Sex Education is about – taking things at your own pace,” Gatwa said.

Elsewhere in the interview, he discussed his understanding of Pride – “[It] shouldn’t be a privilege. We shouldn’t have to fight for it. It should be our God-given right.”

Gatwa also spoke about the expected impact of Barbie, due out next month.

“It’s hilarious, self-aware and really f**king politically and socially accurate. It’s already a cultural phenomenon and it’s not even out yet,” he said.

Talking about finding out that he’d won the role in Doctor Who, the star said: “I felt numb and keeping it a secret was very difficult. Sometime I’d get tipsy, tell someone, then run off. Thankfully, it never got out.”

As for the look he’ll adopt for the show, he joked that his style was: “Elegant glamour with a hint of kink.”

Barbie is due to be released in the UK on 21 July. Barbie the Album will be available on the same day.

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