Ncuti Gatwa opens up about having ‘imposter syndrome’: ‘I have so many insecurities’

Ncuti Gatwa has spoken candidly about experiencing insecurity and having to work on his confidence on a daily basis.

The Sex Education star, 30, has been named the Modern Pioneer in Elle’s 2023 Style Awards. Speaking after receiving the accolade, Gatwa admitted that he suffers from “imposter syndrome”.

Gatwa said that when he often hides his self-doubt by “cracking jokes all the time”, which can be misconstrued for confidence.

“I have so much imposter syndrome,” he said. “I have so many insecurities. I like to make other people feel happy so there’s less focus on me.

“I become this loud figure that’s cracking jokes all the time. It comes across as confidence, but at the heart of it, it’s not. Real confidence is something I have to work on daily.”

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which a person may feel unqualified or incompetent in their intellect, skills or accomplishments.

A number of celebrities have previously spoken about experiencing the feeling, including Queen & Slim star Jodie Turner-Smith, who was interviewed by Gatwa for the May 2023 issue of Elle UK.

Turner-Smith said she felt like she had “imposter syndrome” while walking the red carpet in a Gucci gown at the 2022 Met Gala with her husband Joshua Jackson.

She said: “When I was doing the Met Gala for the first time, I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I don’t ever want to do this’. I didn’t feel good. You’re waiting to get onto that carpet, my shoes were hurting. I was not feeling the vibe.”

Ncuti Gatwa poses for ELLE UK as he is named Modern Pioneer in the magazine’s 2023 Style Awards (ELLE UK)
Ncuti Gatwa poses for ELLE UK as he is named Modern Pioneer in the magazine’s 2023 Style Awards (ELLE UK)

But Jackson helped allay her worries, as Turner-Smith recalled: “I remember there was this moment where my husband just took me by the hand and said, ‘You deserve to be here’.”

Elsewhere in his recent interview, Gatwa spoke about the importance of representation and inclusivity on-screen.

“People need to be f***ing seen. What are you going to do, tell the same stories?” he said. “Have the same people fronting things for all of eternity? Representation and inclusivity and branching out… it enriches us all.”

Gatwa most recently appeared in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which has topped Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 as Warner Bros’ most successful worldwide release ever.

He is taking on the lead role in Doctor Who in the forthcoming series of the long-running science fiction show.

The show returns in November 2023, coinciding with its 60th anniversary. Gatwa will officially begin his run of episodes as the Doctor over the festive period.