Embracing Otherness: Thandie Newton

08/04/2011 04:43 pm ET | Updated Oct 04, 2011

The first speaker featured in my session on EMBRACING OTHERNESS at TEDGlobal was Thandie Newton, well known actor (Crash, Mission Impossible, The Pursuit of Happyness). She talked about a profound internal journey through which she came to terms with her own otherness. Born to an English father and African mother, she grew up feeling isolated by her differentness. She had no sense of self or how to "fit in."

Acting and dance saved her life -- giving her an outlet for a unique and complex expression of who she was. As she shared her individual struggle to overcome the feeling of being the other, she gave us new understandings about what really divides us, makes us different, and drives our choices and interactions with each other. It was a moving and deeply personal portrait of otherness and, at the end, the audience stood to show their appreciation. (It was the first of five standing ovations during our fascinating session.)

Check it out for yourself:

This post originally appeared at the Paley Center for Media's Pat Connects blog.