Michaela Coel Wins BAFTA For Leading Actress and Thanks Intimacy Director "For Making the Space Safe"

Michaela Coel won the leading actress BAFTA Television Award for her role as Arabella Essiedu on I May Destroy You. In her speech, she acknowledged fellow category nominees Billie Piper (I Hate Suzie), Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), Hayley Squires (Adult Material), and Letitia Wright (Small Axe) and I May Destroy You's intimacy director, Ita O'Brien.

"Thank you, BAFTA, and thank you to the jury for selecting me as the winner today. A huge shout-out to Billie, Letitia, Daisy, Hayley because you guys are literally sick," Coel said in her acceptance speech. "Also, I shouldn't really say it but I wrote my words and I know that your talent to take words that a writer has written and to make it sound like your own is unbelievable, and I really hope that I get to work with each of you one day."

"I did write a speech," she continued. "I want to dedicate this award to the director of intimacy Ita O'Brien. Thank you for your existence in our industry. For making the space safe. For creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power, without being exploited or abused in the process. I know what it's like to shoot without an intimacy director; the messy, embarrassing feeling for the crew; the internal devastation for the actor. Your directing was essential to my show, and I believe for every production company that wants to make work exploring themes of consent. Thank you, BAFTA."

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