• Ncuti Gatwa has opened up about his life before 'Sex Education'. (Getty Images Europe)Source: Getty Images Europe
“I was looking at people, thinking, ’You are so lucky to be about to go home to your own bed.’"
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

22 Jan 2020 - 1:16 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2020 - 1:16 PM

Actor Ncuti Gatwa has opened up about how popular Netflix series Sex Education has changed his life.

Gatwa, who plays the role of Eric Effiong, told British magazine The Big Idea that despite "working constantly" he'd struggled with homelessness for a period of time.

"You have to feed yourself, you have to get to work, with rent, bills, travel, days off from temping to go to an audition, I couldn’t seem to handle it all financially," he said.

"I was supposed to move into a new place and it fell through," he continued. "So for five months before Sex Education, I was couch-surfing among all my friends. I didn’t have a home. I was homeless."

The 27-year-old Scottish-Rwandan actor added: "The only thing stopping me from being on the streets was the fact I had friends.

"But you can use up that goodwill. Or you feel scared to ask people for help. Your pride kicks in. So my life before Sex Education was SO different. To go to my audition, I had to get my friend to transfer me 10 quid so I could top up my Oyster card."

Gatwa, who is now an ambassador for youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, explained that while he was working at Harrods, a London department store, he would often spend “two hours on the phone to people trying to find where I could sleep that night”.

“I got a sense of how lucky I had been,” he told The Big Idea. “I was looking at people, thinking, ’You are so lucky to be about to go home to your own bed’… I couldn’t believe I was homeless and working in Harrods. How many people must be going through this in London?”

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