People

Call the Midwife’s Leonie Elliott explains why she’ll never understand racism

Posted by
Emma Ledger
Published

Cuddle up with Call the Midwife’s first West Indian nurse as she answers our existential questions.      

What is the meaning of life? 

It’s a question I ask myself a lot. I think we are the answer, and being alive is the meaning.

What is the difference between right 
and wrong?

 Right is what maximises happiness and minimises suffering. You have to take responsibility for your ethical choices. In many cases, being wrong just boils down to selfishness.

Where is your happy place?

 On the beach in Jamaica, where my family are from. I go back every three years. But I’d like to get to a point where my happy place is right here, wherever I am.

Nature or nurture? 

I think they have equal influence. There are parts of my personality that are my mum and other parts are definitely nurture.

Is it more important to be liked or respected? 

What’s important is that you like and respect yourself, then it won’t matter what others think and it will free you up.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

“She was original, she did what she wanted and she made a difference in others’ lives.”

Who or what is your greatest love?

Love itself.

When did you last lie? 

I’m not really into lying, it complicates everything. You forget what you’ve said and then you get caught out. A sad truth is better than a happy lie.

Does the supernatural exist? 

Yes. I haven’t had any encounters, but enough people I love and respect have.

Are you fatalistic? 

Things happen to us and we make things happen. Ultimately, we have free will and create our own fate through our actions.

What is your greatest fear? 

To look back and regret not having done something because I was afraid. I’m sure there are some things I haven’t done, but now even if it scares me I try to do it and embrace life.

Animals or babies? 

Babies. I am an animal person, but working on Call The Midwife has made me love babies even more.

What talent do you yearn for?

Learning Spanish and to play the cello are always on the list but never quite happen.

Do you like to be complimented?

A bit of positive reinforcement feels good, but you don’t want to be defined by it.

Do you have a high pain threshold? 

I do as I get older, but I don’t ignore pain. I try to be in tune with my body and pay attention so that way I can make good choices to fix or nourish it.

What book do you recommend most to others? 

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. It’s a spiritual book about living in the now, similar to The Alchemist. I’ve given copies to friends for Christmas. 

Leonie loves The Celestine Prophecy so much that she buys copies for friends.     

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn? 

Letting go; that not everything matters. It’s an art I’m still trying to master, but if you’re conscious of that you’re halfway there. I’m very good at letting go
 of material things though.

What food sums up happiness?

 It’s not strictly a food, but fresh coconut water through a straw on the beach, ideally in the Caribbean.

What have you never understood? 

Racism. I understand the importance of culture and identity, but when they divide people or inflict pain, I find it very difficult to understand. Ultimately we are all the same.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die? 

If there’s an afterlife. But deep down I probably wouldn’t want to know.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

 I was as a child, but now I realise it’s about living my life to the fullest. I only think about it when my sister asks if I want life insurance.

Quinoa or Quavers?

 I’m conflicted but I’ll take quinoa because it’s nourishing.

Call The Midwife returns for
a Christmas special on Christmas Day at 7.45pm, BBC One and series eight will air in January 2019