Tibrina Hobson—WireImage
February 6, 2017 1:57 PM EST

Naomie Harris’ role in Moonlight may have delivered her newfound fame and an Academy Award nomination, but the actress’ life hasn’t always been so glamourous.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Harris opened up about being raised by a single mother. Carmen Harris had Harris when she was 18, and raised her daughter alone in an apartment in London after Harris’ father left. Harris’ mother enrolled in university when her daughter was five, even taking her young daughter along with her to class when she couldn’t pay for a babysitter.

“I remember being so inspired by her work ethic, the vision she had for herself,” Harris told New York Magazine. “My mum used to collect these plates because she always said, ‘One day, we’re going to live in a really nice house and we’re going to be able to use these plates.’”

Harris shared that her mother finally saved enough to purchase a house when Harris was 15, and said, “My mum finally pulled out these plates.“

The star adopted her mother’s determination as she pursued a career in acting, appearing in television shows as young as age nine. Her hard work clearly paid off, as she’ll compete for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress alongside powerhouses like Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and Octavia Spencer later this month. But Harris is humble about her chances for the award.

“It’s not going to happen,” she said. “It’s Viola’s year.”

[New York Magazine]

 

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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