From Harriet Tubman to ... Serena Williams? Cynthia Erivo Dishes On Another Dream Role

Cynthia Erivo attends the premiere of 20th Century FOX’s ‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sept. 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Photo: Michael Tullberg (Getty Images)

Cynthia Erivo is on a roll. Currently, she’s starring in the highly touted thriller, Bad Times at the El Royale, and will soon move on to filming Kasi Lemmons’ biopic on Harriet Tubman, playing the abolitionist herself.

As a British actress, the Tony award-winning Erivo caught quite a bit of backlash for the Tubman casting, as many questioned the appropriateness of a foreigner playing such a seminal role in American history. This, despite the fact that Erivo rose to fame playing another iconic American black woman (albeit a fictional one) on Broadway, The Color Purple’s Celie.


Both Tubman and Celie are undeniably inspirations to many, and as Erivo tells Vogue, there’s another inspirational icon she’d love to play onscreen: her friend Serena Williams (Erivo attended Williams’ nuptials last year).

“There’s this fiery, determined champion,” she said of the tennis phenom and now mom. “[A]nd then there’s this really gorgeous, almost Marilyn Monroe–esque siren—something really quite ethereal.”


Frankly, we could see it—and after hearing that Erivo would also like to play “some sort of fictional superhero,” we wouldn’t mind seeing the sometimes silver-haired Erivo’s hat thrown in the ring for that Storm movie we’ve all been clamoring for. After all, her thoughts about playing a superhero sound remarkably like her seemingly seamless transition from stage to screen.

“I think I’d really enjoy being able to just go for it, to be honest,” she says.

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.