Lovecraft Country star Aunjanue Ellis has publicly come out as bisexual.
The 53-year-old actor, who recently earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in King Richard, opened up about her sexuality in an exclusive interview with Variety.
In the in-depth conversation, Ellis revealed that she had been out to family, friends and industry colleagues for years.
“The way that I live my life, around the people that I live my life around, I am public about it. I am very clear about being bisexual,” she explained. “I have a sweatshirt that says ‘Girl Bi’ that I wear everywhere.”
When asked why she hadn’t discussed her sexuality sooner or during the press run for King Richard, Ellis stated: “Nobody asked.”
Ellis also said that mentioning her bisexuality while promoting the aforementioned movie would have been “artificial”.
“How do you work that into the conversation, in the middle of me talking about this movie?” she said.
“I’m not that chick. My job was to talk about King Richard, the Williams family, these wonderful young women I worked with, Will Smith’s incredible work in that movie.
“I wasn’t going to be like, ‘And by the way, in case you ain’t heard yet…’ Because that’s artificial.”
Even though her Variety interview is the first time that the Sleepy Hollow actor opened up about being bi, it’s far from the first time she’s referenced it in public.
Back in March, Ellis attended the 15th annual Essence Festival in a glorious red pantsuit with “queer” bedazzled on the arm.
With the LGBTQ+ inclusive word placed prominently on her outfit, Ellis admitted to Variety that she was surprised no one brought it up at the time.
“I was thinking, ‘Why didn’t more people pay attention to that?’ And I was like, they probably thought it said ‘Queen,'” she explained. “It wasn’t that I was expecting any sort of major reaction or anything like that. One of my family members noticed, but nobody else did.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ellis revealed that many of her industry peers have failed to grasp her queer identity – with some unknowingly displaying homophobic behaviour.
“There is an assumption made of me – a presumption made of me. Is it because I’m a Black woman from Mississippi? Is it because I’m older?” she theorized with the publication.
“I don’t know what the mechanics are that goes into them not processing, or them not just being able to believe that in the same way I am Black, I am queer. This is who I am.”
Towards the end of the interview, The Birth of a Nation star shared her hopes for Black queer representation in media.
“There are characters, but the full experience of a Black woman being gay or bisexual, it doesn’t exist, so we’ve got to write it into existence,” she said.