Okonedo at the U.K. premiere of Skin in July.(Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

The L.A. Jewish Journalgets a jump on the movie Skin, opening next week, with a profile of Sophie Okonedo, who stars with Sam Neill in the film about a biracial South African born to white parents in the 1950s. (The family had a black forbear of whom they were unaware.) The thorny questions of identity are ones Okonedo is familiar with—while her father is Nigerian, her Pilates-teaching, cartwheel-turning mother is Jewish, the daughter of Yiddish speakers whose own parents immigrated to London from Russia and Poland.

“Being raised in North London in the 1970s was much kinder than South Africa in the ’50s,” observes the actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Hotel Rwanda. “But it was helpful to understand what it is like to have a family that is a different color than you—and to question your heritage when people say, ‘That can’t possibly be your mum.’”

Jewish Actress Sophie Okonedo Explores Biracial Identity [Jewish Journal]