Sheila Atim Covers AMAZING MAGAZINE | The Inaugural Issue

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Sheila Atim wears Louis Vuitton for issue 1 of AMAZING magazine. Photographed by Bartek Szmigulski, the actor, singer, composer and playwright talks to Juliet Herd about her upcoming roles in Bruised and The Woman King, as well as building links with her birth country, Uganda, and using her MBE to help improve access to the arts for young people. 

Sheila Atim is in demand. From her starring role in Halle Berry’s directorial debut, Bruised, to her upcoming turn in The Woman King alongside Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu, the Olivier Award-winning Londoner is taking Hollywood by storm – and with good reason. 
 
That we happen to speak to Uganda-born, Essex-raised Sheila while she’s in LA, juggling an as-yet unrevealed project with her training schedule for The Woman King before heading to South Africa to begin filming, only serves to underline her unstoppable rise. This multi-hyphenate actor, singer, composer and playwright doesn’t quite see it that way, of course, so focused has she been on the actual work for the past eight years. 
 
“It’s been this steady trajectory, but because of the steadiness, there haven’t been many moments to pause and take stock, so [global success] does feel very sudden still; oh, here we are, doing these kinds of projects,” she laughs, leaning conspiratorially into her computer screen. “I do always feel really, really lucky and I always say it, and I always really mean it, when I think about the people I’ve worked with and the projects I’ve worked on. I couldn’t ask for a better list of collaborators.”
 
Most recently, they have included Barry Jenkins, director of the acclaimed TV adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad for Amazon, and Oscar winner Halle Berry, director and star of the upcoming Bruised, a Netflix drama set in the world of mixed martial arts. Halle, making her directorial debut, plays a disgraced MMA fighter who finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as a baby re-enters her life. 
 
Sheila takes the part of Halle’s trainer, Bobbi “Buddhakan” Berroa, who reluctantly agrees to work with the middle-aged Jackie Justice in her quest for one last chance. Filming followed hot on the heels of The Underground Railroad, in which she played runaway slave Mabel, even making her audition tape for Bruised while on the set of that series in Georgia. “It was quite surreal,” she says. “I was cast quite late in the day as well; it was all down to the wire with visas and flying [to New Jersey to begin filming]. It was super tight.”
 
For Sheila, the chance to work with one of her idols, star of such films as Catwoman, Monster’s Ball and X-Men, was irresistible. “Do you know what, I am so honoured that I got to work with her the first time she was being a director and actor,” she says. “I am so thankful because I learned a lot and was very inspired by it – also, she’s great at wearing both hats simultaneously.”
 
Bruised is released in cinemas on 17th November and on Netflix on 24th November. For Sheila’s full interview and shoot, plus other AMAZING women, fashion and lifestyle features, order your copy of AMAZING’s debut issue now.

Sheila Atim wears Louis Vuitton

Photographed by Bartek Szmigulski
Fashion Director Damian Foxe
Stylist Elad Bitton
Interview by Juliet Herd
Hair by James Molloy represented by The Wall Group
Makeup by Marcia Lee represented by One Represents
Cover Design by Olivia Woodgate
Editorial Director Huw Gwyther
Fashion Assistant Raphaëlle Helmore

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