Actress Uzo Aduba and Colgate Wants Gen-Z to Embrace Their Smile

We love Uzo Aduba!

Known for her dynamic and emotionally resonant performances, she first gained widespread acclaim for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Her portrayal earned her multiple Emmy Awards, showcasing her ability to navigate complex characters with depth and vulnerability.

Beyond her notable acting career, Aduba has become a vocal advocate for diversity and authenticity in the beauty industry. She emphasizes the importance of representation and the celebration of individuality. Her views on beauty challenge conventional standards, promoting a more inclusive vision where beauty encompasses a spectrum of experiences and identities.

Uzo Aduba’s career and advocacy work seamlessly together. She blends her artistic talents with her commitment to social issues, making her a prominent and inspiring figure in both entertainment and the broader cultural discussions around beauty and identity.

This year Aduba has become an ambassador with Colgate’s “My Smile is My Superpower” campaign, encouraging Gen-Z to look inward and love what they see in the mirror. There’s no such thing as a “perfect smile” as we always see room for improvement within ourselves, so you should embrace every flaw you were born with and love them.

EBONY caught up with Uzo while on the set of Shonda Rhimes’ new show, The Residence. There, the actress shared when she discovered her smile was her superpower, what values about beauty she’s instilling in her daughter and what being perfectly imperfect means to her.

EBONY: How did you feel when Colgate approached you about being an ambassador for the “My Smile is My Superpower” campaign? What message do you want to send to Gen Z?

Uzo Aduba: Oh my gosh, it felt amazing. It felt so exciting to be a part of this. My smile is nice to prepare, campaign, and be a part of uplifting, exciting, and encouraging young generations to realize that their perfect smile is the one they have right now. Yes, you know, that they don’t need to do anything to change themselves, but the spirit of the campaign to really embrace who they are completely. And so I love that. And as someone who, you know, I have a gap, obviously, and I have a daughter recently, I want that to be, you know, a sentiment that is encouraged. But I’m very excited.

When did you discover your smile was your superpower?

I discovered that my smile was my superpower during my senior year of high school when I was getting my senior portrait taken for that special yearbook. Interestingly, I wasn’t smiling in the picture used in the yearbook. During the shoot, I remember the photographer asked me why I kept my mouth closed, and I told him that I didn’t like my smile. He responded, saying he thought I had a beautiful smile. That didn’t change my perspective immediately, but from that school year on, I always started smiling. Now, I love to smile and show off my smile. After so many years of not smiling, I feel like I’m making up for lost time.


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What message do you want to send to Gen-Z?

I hope it will send them the message that they are enough just as they are, that they will celebrate the things that make them unique and beautiful individuals, and that those parts of themselves should be uplifted and not toned down. They should be celebrated fully.

What values about beauty will you instill in your daughter?

I would encourage her to celebrate all of herself, going back to the gap again. In my culture and heritage, from Nigeria, having a gap is considered a sign of beauty and intelligence throughout Africa. So I would say to her not to negate who she is naturally. Maybe in some places right now, people are telling her to close her gap or change something about herself, but instead to celebrate who she is. That special, unique feature and her characteristic aspects will make her stand out and feel the most beautiful in this world. Individuality, along with who she is on the inside, is what makes her beautiful.


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A post shared by Uzo Aduba (@uzoaduba)

What are three things that make you smile?

My family, my friends, my future.

What does being perfectly imperfect mean to you?

Being perfectly imperfect to me means the expression of accepting the things I cannot change and knowing the difference. That expression, however, it goes, I would say, is about recognizing pieces of myself that are different and lifting them up instead of, like I said before, stamping them down. I think the thing about being perfectly imperfect is adding joy and celebrating all of myself, not just parts of myself.

Updated: April 22, 2024 — 12:02 pm