British actress Thandie Newton has said the word “empire” should be removed from honours, describing the practice as “outdated”.
The award-winning star of acclaimed sci-fi drama Westworld received an OBE in 2018 for services to film and charity.
Her mother was born in Zimbabwe, formerly the British colony of Southern Rhodesia.
The Order of the British Empire recognises contributions to the UK across the military, charity, public service and arts and sciences.
Newton said the honour was a proud moment but she agreed with Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy that “empire” should be removed.
She told the PA news agency, “yes I agree” adding “it’s outdated”.
Hollywood star Newton, known for roles in films including Crash, The Pursuit Of Happyness and Solo: A Star Wars Story, said her mother was her first thought when the OBE offer arrived.
The 47-year-old Bafta and Emmy award-winner said: “It’s the best thing in her life, to have come from Zimbabwe, worked her ass off, and her pride in being British.
“Her pride in being accepted when she’d grown up in a colonial environment. So it was really honouring the incredible hard work of my family, who are British, and also the representation of British people as being this modern spectrum of rainbow ethnicities.”
Newton will reprise her role as sentient android Maeve Millay in season three of HBO’s Westworld, and confessed to being “flabbergasted” at being an “action hero” in her mid-40s.
She said: “Not in my twenties? OK, fine. Completely the reverse of what it should be. But at the same time, I do feel like I’m in my prime. I think 40s are great. I like being a woman in her 40s.”
Westworld, HBO’s expensively assembled sci-fi drama, spent its first two seasons inside a technologically advanced wild west-themed amusement park, populated by androids.
It caters to rich clients who are able to indulge in their wildest fantasies, free from the repercussions they would experience in the outside world.
Season three, set to premiere later this month, leaves the confines of the park and parts of it take place in a futuristic Los Angeles. Newton said it is a “very demanding show”, but “so worth it”.
She said: “I’m incredibly proud and what a privilege to have something you work hard on (be worth it). Some people feel it’s of genuine value to their lives, I’m on a cloud.”
Westworld season three premieres in the UK on Sky Atlantic on March 16.