Lolly Adefope

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Actor Lolly Adefope on Balmy Summer Nights in Budapest

When I was younger and went on holiday with my family, I'd be almost agoraphobic. I would just want to be on my Game Boy and not speak to anyone. I was a city girl, perhaps subconsciously aware that I was ‘traveling while Black,’ which made me anxious about exploring a new place. When I first started traveling for work, I was the same—and I would think, I'm in a great hotel: Why not just stay in and enjoy it? And I'd justify the decision to myself. Then, in the summer of 2017, I was in Budapest filming my first movie, The Spy Who Dumped Me, and it was like a reckoning. There were these little windy streets and bars everywhere, and it was balmy and vibrant, even at 3 a.m.—everyone was just out having a good time. I tweeted from my hotel, asking how to watch Love Island, and then strangely, two friends happened to be there at the same time and messaged me to come out. We met up for drinks at this bar called Mazel Tov, which has a garden with lots of fairy lights and plants. They were in Budapest because some actor friends had rented a mansion called the Writer's Villa, and they invited me to stop by. It was gorgeous, like made-up levels of luxury. I remember thinking, Even if I had millions and came to this place, I would be wowed. There was loads of Champagne and wine and so much food. And then everyone started jumping into the pool, and I thought, I'm not scared, and I jumped in as well. We stayed up all night. Now when I travel, I'm more adventurous. If I find myself creeping back into that ‘not going to leave the hotel’ vibe, I take baby steps, like having a nice dinner on my own or getting my nails done. I'm hyperaware that I'm traveling as a Black woman, but I try to remind myself that there's a lot to be gained by stepping out of my comfort zone. As told to Meredith Carey.
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Lolly Adefope: ‘I’m not here to be an activist. I’m here to make people laugh’

Lolly Adefope always knew that she wanted to work in comedy. She watched The Day Today and Peep Show and thought, “I want to do what they’re doing”. So she applied to Cambridge, thinking she’d join the university’s star-making drama club, Footlights, but she didn’t get in. Then, she applied to drama school, but she was rejected. Finally, she went to the Edinburgh Fringe and got a job handing out flyers. “I did it for one day, hated it, then quit.”
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Lolly Adefope meets Munroe Bergdorf: ‘Cancel culture has been around for ever, we just haven’t called it that’

When comedian Lolly Adefope was asked to suggest people she’d like to speak to for this issue, Munroe Bergdorf was the first and only name on her wishlist. “I’ve long been inspired by her,” she said. Meanwhile, the activist and model has had a busy year. In June, Bergdorf joined L’Oréal’s UK diversity and inclusion advisory board, having been dropped as the brand’s first transgender model in 2017, following comments about “the racial violence of white people”, which were deemed at odds with the company’s values. (In an Instagram post about her reinstatement this summer, she wrote that she believes in “accountability and progress, not cancellation and grudges”). The next month, she signed a six-figure deal for her first book Transitional, a “gender manifesto”, out next year. Covers with Teen Vogue and Time magazine followed (Bergdorf was chosen as one of the latter’s “Next Generation Leaders”).
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