Bermudian Andira in top Netflix series
A Bermudian actress living in Britain made headlines around the world after being cast in a Netflix show around the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
Andira Crichlow scored the role of Arsinoe IV, the younger half-sister of the last queen of Egypt, in the miniseries Queen Cleopatra.
Since airing in full on Wednesday, Ms Crichlow’s family have been inundated with praise from her peers – and their own pride.
April Simmons, Ms Crichlow’s mother, said: “We really do appreciate the support of family and friends. I’m so happy, I’ve been telling everyone I know.”
Queen Cleopatra is the second season of African Queens, a docuseries created by Jada Pinkett Smith that dramatises the rule of female African monarchs throughout the centuries.
The four-episode season chronicles Cleopatra, played by English actress Adele James, throughout her rise to power, her reign and relationship with Rome, and her eventual death.
Ms Simmons said that she was full of “pure excitement” when she learnt of her daughter’s big break.
She said there was not much her daughter could share with her because of confidentiality clauses, so she did not know much about the production.
But she added that it was surreal to see the finished product, particularly after hearing all the buzz around the show.
Ms Simmons said: “It took a year to be filmed so there was a bit of anticipation to watch it.
“In some ways it was overwhelming at first, but a bit of a relief to see it released and finally see her on the screen.”
Queen Cleopatra generated international criticism over the casting of Adele James, a dark-skinned woman of mixed ancestry, in the titular role.
Historians agree that the monarch, being from the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt, was from a predominantly Greek background, though her full ancestry remains debated.
The Government of Egypt referred to the casting as a “falsification of Egyptian history” and went on to describe Cleopatra as “light-skinned and had Hellenistic [Greek] features”.
The country also announced the creation of a documentary in response to the Netflix series.
Producers of the series, including Jada Pinkett Smith, defended the casting, arguing that Cleopatra’s depiction was made to reflect the multicultural nature of Ancient Egypt.
Ms Williams accused much of the backlash as coming from a place of “self-loathing” and racism.
Ms Simmons said that it was “beautiful” to see both her daughter and the support her performance received.
She said: “People were really happy to see a Bermudian on an international stage. It reminds us that these types of thing are opportunities for all of us.”
Anthony Crichlow, Ms Crichlow’s father, said that he was “very proud and overjoyed” – but couldn’t help but feel a sense of fatherly protectiveness over his daughter.
He explained: “When I saw her on screen I thought ‘I don’t want people to judge her’. I’m always going to think she’s doing a good job, but I also wonder how others feel.”
Luckily, Mr Crichlow said that he heard nothing but praise over his daughter’s performance, with many friends and relatives reaching out to say how well they thought Ms Crichlow did.
He added: “My daughter is a very good actor and she’s very dedicated.
“She can be sassy and very strong-willed, so when that side of her character comes out in the show I think ‘oh yes, that role suits her personality’.
“I’m just so proud of her and her ability to act and perform as well as she does.”
Aaron Crichlow, Ms Crichlow’s brother, said that it was “impressive” to see how far his younger sister had come.
He said: “I know she’s worked very, very hard to make her dreams come true. I’ve seen her for all of her life and the actress has always been inside her.”
Mr Crichlow said he had always been proud of his sister ever since she chose to follow her dreams and attend acting school.
He added: “She’s the definition of perseverance. Acting school is difficult, and with all of the difficulties that she faced she met them head-on and did as much as she could to prove herself.
“She’s now, obviously, reaping the rewards of her hard work, and hopefully it will continue for years and years to come.”
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