Marvel's 2018 superhero movie Black Panther hit number one in US box offices upon its release. One of the film's breakout stars was the Black Panther's little sister, teenage scientist Shuri, played to tremendous charm and comedic effect by Letitia Wright.
The movie's success has put the Christian actress in the spotlight, where she talks openly about putting her commitment to God ahead of her Hollywood career.
Before this role, Letitia, a 24-year-old Guyanese-British actor, was relatively unknown. She found herself caught up in trying to find happiness and acceptance through her acting career. The pressure got too much for her and she spiralled into depression when she was just 18.
Letitia desperately wanted to make it big in Tinseltown but "the pursuit of fame left me empty and depressed," she confesses.
"I decided to take a break from acting, because I really idolized it," she explained on the UK talk show This Morning. "I wasn't sure if I'd ever return to it."
Depression dogged her on and off until her early 20s. At its worst, she stayed in her darkened room, stopped eating and refused to communicate with others.
"It was very, very bad and I didn't know a way out," Letitia says. "I had many days at my mum's where she didn't even know what to do. She was like, 'What is going on with you?' We don't know about that stuff in Guyana, so we don't take it seriously and it's like a taboo to feel like that."
But the misery forced Letitia to go on a journey to find what she needed for happiness and peace.
Letitia had some friends who were Christians. They told her about their faith, but she was resistant. "I thought it was nonsense," she recalls.
Then another one of her friends invited her to a Bible study class in east London, which proved to be life-changing. Letitia decided to give this "faith-thing" a shot. "I said, 'OK, Jesus, I'll try you,' and I haven't looked back since," she says happily.
Like so many before her, Letitia says that everything changed after she accepted Christ into her heart and asked Him to run her life.
"I'm not perfect," she explains, assuring her interview hosts that things weren't all crystal clear but affirmed that her faith is a process. "As a Christian, you are not perfect, but you're walking every day and trying to stay connected. I'm really grateful. I'm centred in who I am."
However, Letitia was not in a rush to get back into the limelight. Once she had made a commitment to God, she delved into her relationship with Him, putting Hollywood on the back burner. She even turned down roles acting beside Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. It was God first, and then her career.
Eventually she felt God calling her back into acting. The Black Panther role seemed to come at the right moment. But rather than worry about her Hollywood career, Letitia says she just follows God's plans for her, praying before every scene and openly sharing her faith.
"Where I go, where He takes me, that's where I need to spread the love of God," she shares. "People's souls are dying. My soul was dying. He saved me. So I can't keep this to myself. I fell in love with Jesus and I'm still in love."
Now that Black Panther has thrust her into the spotlight, Letitia is certain God wants her to use her success in Hollywood as a way to glorify His Name and lead other broken souls to Jesus.
"The reason why I share this story is because I know there are people out there who are silently going through what I went through," Letitia encourages. "I realised that acting is not my god. I don't need to be validated by anybody else. I don't need to be accepted or approved of for my happiness.
"Ever since then, everything's just been really, really positive in my life. Yes, I have difficult days, like everybody else, but I deal with those difficult days differently.
"I don't feel those depressive feelings any more. I just feel so free and happy. I won't hide my faith, because it's helped me so much. God has been my way out."
Letitia wears her Christianity proudly, regularly sharing religious quotes on social media and urging others to come to Jesus. Positivity has become her mantra, and she is intent on staying humble amid the hype surrounding Black Panther.
The British actress's star seems to be continuing to rise, as she is also in The Commuter with Liam Neeson, and in Steven Spielberg's recently-released virtual reality movie Ready Player One.•